Recently a former colleague contacted me through LinkedIn and I started to reflect on the time we worked together. These memories inspired me to draw some parallels from that time in the history of technology to the way things are in 2013.
Today there is a rush that is similar to the heady days of the eProcurement/eCommerce and other phenomena. Back then, many solutions came bounding forward to claim that, if new frontiers were to be conquered, using their solution was the only way to do it! Many solid solutions that were around at that time are still in use today, whilst a lot of the newcomers failed. Some in spectacular style! Of course there were some more mature solutions that did go by the way side. But, with a bit of forethought and the sensible use of new technology at the appropriate time, investments were maximized and businesses moved forward.
I am reminded of this today when I look at the desire, and in some sense the need, to move to the Cloud and generally provide IT as a Service (ITaaS). The robustness of existing applications and the knowledge within the business of those applications are strategic and valuable assets to any IT team. But it is easy to come to the conclusion that everything must change when you read articles and company briefs, and then you really are in danger of throwing the baby out with the bath water.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe there is good reason to renew or replace certain solutions. A true ITaaS will, by its nature, need to have many solutions in its ecosystem and so it will be incredibly risky to try and change that all at once, no matter what size the organization is. An enterprise overhaul is also very expensive and time consuming. And, let’s face it, most organizations do not have much of either resource! With a bit of forethought, it is possible to achieve these new Cloud-based frontiers with out risking the farm on the bet!
Take the issue of Multi Tenancy, just what does this mean to people? The move to a self-service, automated environment and placing existing applications in a Multi-Tenant infrastructure layer is less risky to the business. When reviewing your requirements for ITaaS, ask yourself if you require Multi Tenancy at an application layer or will at an infrastructure layer be more applicable with existing investments?
Of course the business model needs to match and support that, so vendors need to assist here too, but if they do not then perhaps a look back in time will tell them some great products failed not because of the technology, but due to lack of change on the commercial model!
By sensibly leveraging solutions that provide the best with the old and the new then we can follow where the previous “pioneers” led! Maybe there is something the story of the Tortoise and the Hare?