Technology Issues

Technology is NOT the primary issue- it is the way we build software!

This post is in response to the Reuters article called Walmart goes to the cloud to close gap with Amazon

In short – Walmart has it right!!  Cloud computing may be contributing to technology, change and management thinking, but it is important to realize, we have been there before - we called it "time sharing".

We all have three choices when we procure anything (including computing cycles) - (1) rent, (2), lease, (3) buy.  There are many contributing factors to these decisions - yes cost is one, flexibility is another, security, etc.  These decisions ebb and flow.  Wal-Mart is one of the first to realize that the “rent” model is too expensive, and removes significant flexibility (the new word is “agility”, of course).  And of course the same is true for applications – rent (monthly payments), lease, buy.

To us, over the past 40 years of IT practice, it is not the technology as the primary issue - it is the way we build software.  We are stuck in "maturity level 1" - hand crafting - of the common build/manufacturing maturity cycle.  Containers are, at best, "maturity level 2", depending on how they are built.  If containers are built by "handcrafting" - whether "agile" or not, the hackers will still win.  We need to get to maturity level 3 - "assemble to order", and the real information revolution will begin.  We hope the momentum will change, but it is slow.

The entrenched application vendors and their staff augmentation/consultant partners are the incumbents.  Resistance to change, threatening the incumbents, is typical throughout history.  It took a different leader at Microsoft - Satya Nadella - to change their previous business model from “packaged purchase software” to the monthly payment model.  But they retained the lease and purchase model also – smart!!  It will take one enlightened firm to break into the true Information Age, as we exit the Internet Age, and get to Maturity Level 3 – assemble to order, and dominate the application world, and dominate they will.

I believe Oracle's (and others) bet on the cloud will be short lived, as we saw in the timesharing days.

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