Since early 2008, IDC has predicted and analyzed a remarkable IT shift to the 3rd Platform. Last year I wrote a similar article in this topic. How much is changed in a year and how fast are we moving to that direction? Key components in this 3rd Platform are Cloud, Big Data Analytics, Social businesses and Mobility or apps! Does this mean we all shift to a Platform 3 business? No definitely not (yet). Platform 2 is still a booming business. At least for a couple of years from now, and some will stick to it 'forever'. I think it's save to say hardware becomes less important since we all drive to a more software driven IT business model. But nevertheless there are still needs for hardware. It is this hardware that comes with robustness, reliability and redundancy as we expect. Are we then caught between two worlds?
IDC believes that 3rd Platform solutions will be the primary growth driver of the ICT industry over the next decade. The 3rd Platform is transforming IT much faster than the first (mainframe) or second (client/server) Platform ever did. This has tremendous implications for the IT industry, but also for anyone doing business today. Compared to Platform 2 which is still good for about 70% grow, the 3rd platform is growing 700%. This is 10 times harder than the 2nd Platform. Let's assume these figures are correct, it means on one hand we need hardware and on the other side we are desperately searching a way to exploit that 3rd Platform. Most organizations want to run business as fast as they can. This is simply mathematics. They want to be faster than the competition, They need to be faster! No car is build for ten years anymore. They want to strive for that one business model, be revolutionary or whatever copy what is already there. But this require flexibility.
If you're an IT user, your strategic issue is how quickly you can reorient your spend. Legacy systems are the biggest issue enterprise IT faces, since they're such a budget sinkhole. If 80 percent of your IT budget is spoken for before the year starts, how can you aggressively pursue 3rd Platform initiatives? You need to be flexible on many fronts, processes need to be change, people need to change and IT need to change. This takes time, lots of time. (I will talk about a possible solution for that later) We all want the same flexibility that we find in the cloud. The Cloud serves and consumes "IT as a Service" model. It is simply the new way of doing business to keep ahead of the competition. But what data, proces or information goes into the cloud? We are still hampered by IT, no money, no resources. Main focus of IT is to keep the lights on. They make sure the most critical applications won't go down. All assets and components are build that way. So, we have a Director that wants to consume IT as a Service at lightspeed and IT is at least 80 percent of it's time maintaining hardware and software. That leaves us with 20 percent of innovations. Is there enough knowledge to fill that 20 percent gap? In the meanwhile your Director is swiping his creditcard for Cloud services because his own IT can't deliver. That means there is no added value for the IT manager and Business Partners as parts of IT moving to the Cloud. Barriers as we know them, they fade and it becomes easier to use services from the Cloud. Parts of IT 'disappear'.
How business partners can help organizations with their local IT to be as agile as Cloud, ensuring that it remains relevant looks like the million dollar question!
Our generation (around 40ish) grew up in Platform 2 or so called Traditional IT. It's not strange we talk about hardware, because this is what we used to do, is our comfort zone, is what we know! For many people this isn't going to change. Do we need to let those people go?
Traditional IT means careful planning, testing, and deploying with the intent of doing it right the first time with no downtime to the business. According to Gartner Bimodal IT is the practice of managing two separate, coherent modes of IT delivery, one focused on stability and the other on agility. Mode 1 is traditional and sequential, emphasizing safety and accuracy. Mode 2 is exploratory and nonlinear, emphasizing agility and speed. By 2017, 75 percent of IT organizations will have a bimodal capability.
- Mode 1 = traditional
- Mode 2 = exploratory
Bimodal IT is the concept where two IT methodologies exist in the same company, Often in two separate teams. The Agile IT team handles the growing needs of the business while Traditional IT continues doing the day-to-day work of ensuring the business technology functions appropriately and securely. You might not change your existing IT department, because it's intense, complex and people do not want change. It's too much effort and time consuming.
At this point you can add value. What if you could change time consuming innovation from 20 percent up to 30 percent or even more. Imagine how many projects you could do more for the business. It may be clear that in this area you don't talk about, for example Storage technical refreshes. Hardware is becoming less relevant, eventually you selling your 'iron' per kilogram with competitors. You're not distinctiveness if this is your only plan.
While businesses are desperately looking for ways to survive and as the 3rd Platform evolves, IDC is seeing the emergence of a first wave of innovation accelerators that depend on the 3rd Platform, and radically expand its capabilities and applications. They are Robotics - Internet of Things (IoT) -Natural Interfaces- Cognitive Systems - 3D Printing and Next Generation Security. The 4rd Platform is born.