The cloud, virtualization, and the consumerization of computing and of people’s expectations are driving an inflection point at least as great as the PC Revolution of the 1980s, when computing power first got into the hands of end-users, says Mike Montalto, partner in the Technology Consulting Practice at Accenture. Speaking on a live SiliconAngle.TV Webcast to Wikibon.com Co-Founder David Vellante and SiliconAngle Founder John Furrier, he said that one of the major changes it is driving is a change in focus and expectation. Whereas previously the focus was on infrastructure, now it is on higher level functionality.
“With consumerization, as we drive the level of interactivity to the next step where people expect to create an app on the iPhone that will interact with company data.” Users are no longer willing to wait for IT to get around to create the application they need. IT needs to respond much faster and be much more flexible to keep up. “If I’m a developer and I want to get an instance up and running, and I want to play with Hadoop I don’t have to wait or IT. I get out my credit card out and get on the Internet and a half hour later I have a system.”
Similarly, when IT needs to respond to a user request, it doesn’t have to buy and provision a system. In a virtualized, hybrid cloud environment, it can provision a virtual system and have the new application up and running in a day.
The danger to that, however, is “the holes. In the old days we would search for servers in closets and under desks, but at least they were there. We could touch them. Today I’m virtualized; I can’t even see the servers. How do I know they are there?” So control becomes much harder. No one really knows where an application or data set is in a physical sense, and things shift from one location to another to meet changing demands.
The laggards in the move to the cloud are the huge enterprise applications such as ERP systems, he says. The latest trend there is to have the cloud envelop those huge systems with the goal of “taking what we have today and adding the speed and agility we need.”
He is also seeing changes in the consulting business, at least at Accenture. His clients are less concerned with the infrastructure and instead want to give him a business problem and have it solved. “We no longer think about the traditional IT stovepipes. We focus on services that can deliver value.” He says Accenture is moving toward establishing a set of packaged services to meet specific problems, mainly because this is what clients want.
Overall the inflection point is driving the focus higher. Today’s data admins, network gurus, etc., need to start looking at the larger picture. The new emphasis is making an entire system work. “You have to focus on business value. There will always be an engineering aspect, where the human mind can solve the problems that can’t be automated.”