Friday, June 22, 2007

2.0: the beginning of the end of corporate computing

The 2.0 phenomenon demonstrates the speed and agility of the Internet. The volume and quality of services now freely available on the Internet is staggering. Many of these services are (or should be) competitive to corporate services. Should corporations consider Gmail vs their internal mail systems. Gmail provides a better service than the corporate e-mail systems that I've had the displeasure working with. Gmail wins out because of higher availability, more storage space, easier to find mail (search), lower maintenance, better access (available on my mobile phone - not a Blackberry), ubiquitous access (any browser, any computer), and lower costs (free) ... with all of these advantages why aren't more organisations using Gmail (or other comparable free e-mail services) for their corporate communications?

This is just one example of "information infrastructure" services that are now freely available. Calendar, data storage, information management, blogging, wikis, etc are all free. Open Source software also provides free local or network based applications like content management, CRM, ERP, office automation, operating systems, etc. Just about every kind of application or service that you can think of today is either available as a free online service or open source application.

So why aren't more organisations adopting this new paradigm? I believe that corporate IT departments are feeding the FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) factors to protect their turf. This is done without consideration of the real owners of businesses - the shareholders. Internal IT departments (and many large technology vendors) have a lot to lose if they embrace 2.0 principles.

Rather than resist the obvious, these organisations should be the promoters of change and evolve their roles to adapt to the new 2.0 world. Go agile, lightweight, free and open and give up the heavy weight, proprietary, slow, costly models that are already obsolete. The 2.0 movement is showing us that good technology can be delivered quickly, cheaply, with small teams and to high quality standards. The environment has changed. Nicholas Carr is basically right. It's time for IT departments, vendors and systems integrators to evolve or face extinction.

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