Enterprises Want It All and Want It Now

Opinion: Patience is no virtue at either end of the tech supply chain.

When I heard last week that Oracle is "losing patience" with key providers of virtualization technology, I confess that my first reaction was something like, "Whats to lose?"

Ive never thought of patience as Oracles defining characteristic, and I say that more as compliment than as critique. The company has always struck me as having a pretty clear picture of what it wanted, and as having the resources and the will to build it or buy—on an aggressive timetable—whatever it couldnt find.

Seeing that phrase made me wonder, though, if "The Year of Losing Patience" might be a well-chosen label for all of 2006 in the IT realm.

  • Systems builders like Dell are losing patience with Intels leisurely pace of improving performance per watt and are adopting alternative CPUs from AMD.
  • Application developers are losing patience with Microsofts glacial progress toward shipping a delayed and defeatured Vista operating system—with continuing concern and controversy about the security improvements that are almost Vistas only remaining selling proposition.
  • In-house federal government watchdogs are losing patience with executive branch agencies and their continuing failure to protect key data, and are telling them to have improved technology and practices in place by—ummm—today.

IBM has responded to this climate, making its clocks run faster to match its buyers demands for more rapid response to new opportunities and requirements. Packaged offerings like IBMs "Grid and Grow" bundles let IT buyers think of themselves as buyers of business solutions, rather than experimenters and integrators of bleeding-edge technology.

Apple is doing much the same thing in the consumer space, positioning Macs as ready to come out of the box and do stuff—while PCs, Apple would have buyers believe, require far more tedious setup and constant maintenance. IBM is executing well, it seems to me, on its similar strategy in the enterprise space—making better speed along a path that Sun has long sought to define as its own.

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