09 Feb The Enterprise and the Individual
As the countdown to DEMO 2004 reaches its final week, I promised I’d share a little bit about what to expect in enterprise computing not just at DEMO, but in the week ahead.
What strikes me about the enterprise market today is that it feels a lot like the enterprise market some 20 years ago. The formal IT organization (not unlike the MIS departments in the early 80s) is acutely focused on the challenges of maintaining and optimizing the infrastructure of corporate computing.
Having made magnificent investments in technology five years ago, today’s IT organization continues to absorb the impact of those initiatives. The business-critical applications are in place. Now the challenge is to keep the trains running, preferably on time.
With this mindset, IT isn’t looking to take on massive projects. Don’t even talk to them about paradigm shifts. They have enough on their plates debating platform migration, digesting briefings on next-generation operating, and keeping legions of end users happy. They’re guarding the network, swatting at SPAM, plastering over security holes. These efforts alone eat up much of the IT budget and all of the IT staff’s time.
So what will drive the shift to next-generation computing in the enterprise? Individuals.
Individuals who will solve their productivity hurdles on their own, with their own time and their own budgets. They’ll adopt a better mobile phone, computing device, productivity software application. Their desktop PC or email account or Web browser will be the conduit to the network – assuming they will need or want access to the network at all.
Sounds a lot like the early 80s when a few business managers began to sneak personal computers into their offices, and in so doing ushered in an new and dynamic computing age.
The conditions are ripe for this grass roots paradigm shift again. IT has put its arms tightly around the networked PC computing environment, managing and controlling these corporate assets, as they should. The next generation of computing – whether it’s the Liberated Desktop that we’ll talk about at DEMO 2004 or service-based computing championed by telcos and other providers – will transform the enterprise IT organization one individual at a time.
Without question, there is plenty to be done in the enterprise without end users mucking with the system. In fact, an entire session of DEMO is focused exactly on those products that optimize systems and reduce the cost of managing enterprise IT infrastructure. But this next wave is coming, 12 or 24 or more months away, but on its way nonetheless. And this next wave will drive the economic cycles for the next 20 years, just as the PC revolution drove the IT market in the past.
Call it the end of an era. Verizon announced last week it was selling off BBN Technologies. GTE had brought BBN to the table when it merged with Bell Atlantic back in 2000. Now BBN, which will be headed up by its president, Tad Elmer, will be working with Accel Partners and General Catalyst. No details were available about the new venture’s projects, according to IDG News Service . . . Microsoft has a new partner in its crusade for digital rights management: The House of Mouse. The software giant joined with Walt Disney “to improve the quality and security of digital media and the ability to access digital media from different types of devices.” As part of the partnership, Disney will license Microsoft’s Windows Media Digital Rights Management offering . . . Juniper snapped up NetScreen Technologies, a hot commodity on the security and access front. NetScreen is known for its VPN products – aimed at both the high-end and mid-level markets. According to Network World, Juniper’s acquisition of
NetScreen for $4 billion in stock signals an interest in capturing more of the enterprise market. Currently, Juniper is known for its service provider gear. For more on this, visit
Chris Shipley is the executive producer of NetworkWorld’s DEMO Conferences, Editor of DEMOletter and a technology industry analyst for nearly 20 years. She can be reached at email@example.com. Shipley, has covered the personal technology business since 1984 and is regarded as one of the top analysts covering the technology industry today. Shipley has worked as a writer and editor for variety of technology consumer magazines, including PC Week, PC Magazine, PC/Computing, and InfoWorld, US Magazine and Working Woman. She has written two books on communications and Internet technology, has won numerous awards for journalistic excellence, and was named the #1 newsletter editor by Marketing Computers for two years in a row. To subscribe to DEMOletter please visit: http://www.idgexecforums.com/demoletter/index.html.
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