These are the days of miracle and wonder. I’ve been leading a small, global research team at the Tau Institute for the past few years to examine the dynamics of IT adoption in more than 100 countries throughout the world. We’ve developed several indices that show how well these nations are doing on a relative basis. We ranked the nations on an overall basis, and also by region and income level. It’s fascinating stuff.
Along the way, I’ve continued to write and edit articles about contemporary enterprise computing. I, for better or worse, can date myself back to the early days of the PC, the Internet, and enterprise environments from IBM, HP, DEC, and the rest.
But these are the days of miracle and wonder. It was not that long ago that Sun CEO Scott McNealy spoke of “webtone” and a “ubiquitous Internet.” It was not that long ago that I heard people like Greg Papadopoulos from Sun, Paul Saffo from The Institute of the Future, and many others speak of sprawling, sensor-driven systems. Even noted anti-progressive Larry Ellison was trying to get Oracle to grok “grid computing” a decade ago.
Today, things have come to fruition. Virtualization and cloud computing caught everyone’s eye a few years ago, and now Amazon sells perhaps $15 million of public cloud every day. Once Steve Jobs decided that a phone really could be a computer, the amount of Internet traffic from the edge produced by mobile devices has risen to fully half of all traffic. And the Internet of Things is upon us.
Newish terms are being thrown around, particularly SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud) and the Third Platform (same thing). PaaS, said to be subsumed within IaaS last year, is now being touted as the centerpiece of the modern enterprise IT infrastructure. Do you want to distribute your information and processing in a multi-cloud environment? Are you incorporating a NoSQL database? Are you looking at containers and microservices as the way to create and deploy apps and services? All this can be done with a PaaS as the catalyst and referee.
All of these terms, concepts, and technologies are leading us down the path to Digital Transformation. That’s the big picture.
The keys to this transformation are:
- a widely distributed IT infrastructure with much data generated at the edges
- data capture, collection, and processing from all imaginable sources
- creation of local data mines and enterprise data lakes
- near-ubiquitous data monitoring and analysis control panels and real-time reports for all organizational levels
- ongoing, continuous software development, aka DevOps culture
- an innovation culture that drives new products, services, and efficiencies in operations, customer experience and service, and competitiveness
Digital transformation is occurring at the national level as well as within enterprises. Our view is that those nations who are most enthusiastic about the concept will be those who make the most socioeconomic progress over the next few decades. Places as diverse as Estonia, Kenya, and Singapore are already on this path, each in their own way.
We are now, in these times of miracle and wonder, working to measure the dynamics of national digital transformation into our research, and as part of our overall IoT2040 project. Join us!
By Roger Strukhoff