A colleague had written a piece about disaster recovery and business continuity – motivated not by the horrors that exploded over the television last night after an 8.9 earthquake off the coast of Japan triggered a tsunami, but by unexpectedly heavy rain and snow in the northeast. Should he hold off publishing it, he asked, so as not to be seen as exploiting the disaster?
The sun is shining and the birds are singing here in the Bay Area; in other climes, they aren’t. In recent years, I’m pleased to report, I’ve been spared having to deal with weather challenges in getting to the office. That’s in part because snow, sleet and hail aren’t a normal part of our weather here, but also in part because our physical office is a less important part of our operations than has ever been the case, so I can more often do my work from home.
A friend of ours, Doug Henschen, showed up in my inbox last week in a new guise. Doug for years edited the TechWeb (and before that CMP) publication Intelligent Enterprise, and in my opinion did a great job of distilling all that was important in BI and the enterprise use of information for competitive advantage.
If you’ve walked past a playing TV recently, there’s a good chance you’ve noticed that Microsoft thinks it can profit from “The Cloud.” The folks in Redmond would have you store your pictures there so the family can access them, use it to collaborate over the weekend in a small business – you name it, Cloud Power can do it.
The cloud is much discussed in the business arena these days as well, but that conversation is being driven, I suspect, by an interest not in power but in cost. Enterprise system deployments – of ERP systems, CRM, supply chain and logistics management, HR management systems – are time-consuming, and costly, and fraught with hassles and missteps and wrong turns. Wouldn’t it be nice, the thinking goes, to hand that all off to someone else and rather than buying a bunch of hardware and software and installing it in a data center (or data closet), simply rent the device that that system delivers from someone else, taking delivery via the Internet.
You don’t have to think about that very long, do you? “You betcha!” is the answer. As technology, the cloud is hardly a radical advance – it’s the client-server model of 20 years ago brought forward into the 21st century. But it’s now a cost-effective option; if you’re a business executive, you’ll be hearing about it soon if you haven’t already.
But there is one upside to the local data center: The data in it is secure. When your sensitive data is flying through the clouds ad is stored who knows where, how secure is it? I can’t answer that right now, but it’s a question we’re pondering here at Ventana Research, and one we may pursue. What’s your thought?
Alan Kay – VP Research Management
A colleague recently asked of an online professional group of which we’re members, “Is your personal computer faster than the one the boss gave you?” While answers are still trickling in, it looks pretty clear that the answer is, “Yes, of course.”
Now, we do tend a bit toward the geeky, so there’s a bit of built-in bias. But it also stands to reason that business- and corporate-issued technology tools will lag in performance a bit behind what we choose to have in our dens or studies or family rooms. At home our criteria will be cost, of course, but also the ability to play games, or download entertainment files of various kinds, or shop easily and quickly, or, increasingly, keep up with friends and family on social networking sites.
Business infrastructure marches to an entirely different drummer. It needs to be cost-effective. It needs to be compatible with the systems on which the company operates. It needs to be efficiently supportable by the IT department, whatever form that takes. And it needs to be used for as long as it efficiently delivers value to the company. (Let’s not even talk about smartphones and the like – talk about IT headaches!)
That latter criterion is an interesting one. How does the IT department determine that it is doing what it is charged with as effectively as possible? As it happens, we should have an answer for you pretty soon now. Ventana Research is finishing up benchmark research on IT’s uses of analytics, metrics and KPIs as part of a much larger research look at business analytics. Stay tuned.
Alan Kay – VP Research Management