IT Management: IBM vs. Oracle, Mobility, Cloud: What IT Pros Need to Know for 2011
IBM vs. Oracle, Mobility, Cloud: What IT Pros Need to Know for 2011
by Eric Lundquist
Big Blue vs. Big Red
That would be IBM versus Oracle. The successful strategy of IBM built on services versus Oracles strategy of buying up the enterprise software universe is a major act for business-to-business in 2011. CIOs know the value of buying a fully integrated software offering in terms of compatibility but are wary of getting tied to one vendor. The rest of the B2B tech vendor community has to find a way to outmaneuver IBM and Oracle. This will be fun to watch on the outside, less fun on the inside if you make the wrong choice.
Technology advances used to happen first in business, as that was where the money was. Now, consumer technology leads the way in smartphones, social networks and SAAS (software as a service). Next year will be the key year for businesses to move off the sideline and actively begin using and promoting those consumer technologies in the business universe. You can already see this happening with smartphones (getting a secure area to conduct business), social networks for B2B communities, and services (financial, CRM, project management), built on the backbone of companies such as Google but aimed at the business community.
The Mobile Enterprise
All the major players have finally gotten their new (or new again) devices in the marketplace. Enterprises recognize mobility is the key driver to productivity. Next year is when the apps will forcefully arrive to enable the secure, private, and robust mobile enterprise.
They are still around and, in fact, are growing in units and revenues. PCs are now lightweight (think Apples MacBook Air), robust (solid-state memory), and very cool-looking, which all help keep the PC market strong. However, big changes are in store as Apple re-enters the enterprise for real, Google tries to replicate its Android phone success in the tablet and laptop space, and a business refresh continues to push Microsoft Windows 7 sales. The PC goes from being the center of the IT universe to a good team player.
The app store concept, where users can try out any number of applications as a service to find the right CRM, contact manager, and financial reporting tool for their device, is changing application development. IT managers need to find a way to allow that user-based application decision process while maintaining the compliance controls a company requires.
The iPad and other upcoming tablets are changing the media consumption model. The rise of the tablets will revive a financially viable model to deliver specific editions to a user.
In 2011, video will become one, if not the major, way that media is consumed. Video creation has reached a point where the YouTube goofy videos are becoming more professional, the integration of social networks into video production provides a differentiation that the big networks cannot deliver, and smart mobile devices will make video the major activity for consumers. Businesses will increasingly use video to provide new product details, showcase executives, and create how-to explanations for their products and services.
One of the biggest secrets of Apples success is the Apple Store. When you buy a new product, you can get unlimited training in person for a year for $99. The ability to go back to a store and have access to experts, as well as like-minded newbies, creates a user community that a digital setting cannot match. Major tech vendors need to think how to create an Apple Store-like environment for their customers. Smaller, face-to-face events based on regions and similar interests could see a revival here.
The CIO as Services Maestro
The CIO has traditionally been the person trying to translate technology developments into business strategies. Increasingly, that translation means quickly finding and evaluating new software service offerings. The discovery, education, and deployment of a service offering in a company will be the hallmark of the 2011 CIO.
Virtualization, Cloud Computing, and All That Stuff
Virtualization has proved to have real benefits. The next step is to tie those islands of virtualization together under one management umbrella. That is a big task and a major agenda item for CIOs and technology managers. Taking what they have learned about virtualization and spinning those capabilities up to a private cloud and then tying the whole thing into that big public cloud will move from a wish list item to a must do next year.