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Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Future of Enterprise IT

Geoffrey Moore, Managing Director of TCG Advisors LLC and highly acclaimed author of Crossing the Chasm, The Gorilla Game, Inside the Tornado, and, most recently, Living on the Fault Line yesterday made a powerful presentation,titled Orchestrating the Stack Next Generation Developments In Enteprise Computing in the Vortex IT executive forum. The presentaion is almost identical to The Future Of Software that this blog covered a few days back. After 10 years of boom and bust, the IT industry is on the verge of immense change - and a new wave of growth. As companies strive to realize the promise of Web- and services-enabled computing, everything is up for grabs. Mooore's classic presentation outlines ( Via Jeff Nolan of SAP ) :
- the stack consists of business layers (services and applications), compute process layer (app platforms), and compute engines (hardware)- each layer in the stack has gorillas and chimps. Gorillas are dominant vendors with high switching costs, chimps are significant vendors who are powerful but are not dominant vendors- of the 13 categories, 7 have gorillas while the remainder do not.
- "openings and instabilities" are abundant, meaning that investment opportunities are prolific
Service oriented architecture, the next big thing
- current stack represents internet-enabled client/server dependent on large monolithic structures
- current leading technologies push the internet itself into the position of being the application bus
- with the internet as the bus, all of the stack elements become modularized as a shared service
- new stack will not happen overnight and it will privilege specific layers

Strategies for exploiting the new enterprise stack
- disrupter: exploit architectural advantage to exploit niches. Target gorilla status in emerging layers. Leverage Innovator's Dilemma
- chimp strategy: neutralize gorillas using niche strategy and dominate specific markets. Exploit opening and instabilities to secure a gorilla position in an emerging layer, creating a defensible position
- gorilla strategy: marginalize chimps and monkeys. Transform layer into platform for services. Marginalize layers not entered.

Moore's take on:
IBM- gorilla in a number of areas, but ultimately their model thrives on complexity, the more complexity there is the better it is for them.
- want to control many layers in the stack and glue them together with their services business
SAP- gorilla in business applications, wants to be platform for services
- won't support multiple application server strategies, countering with Netweaver. Vendor specific architectures.
- volume operations model starting from the edge and working inward. Ubiquity and then consolidate complex systems that involve multiple nodes
- keep competitors out by expanding footpring of proprietary technology
Oracle- looks like part of IBM in that it wants to vertically integrate layers above the database. Compete against IBM using the same weapons.
- Commoditize everything below the database
EMC- dark horse in the game.
- leverage data center experience to enter systems management software and non-relational content management
- position information rather than applications as focus of systems management
Cisco- integrate the network to transform it into a platform for web services
- enter systems management beginning with security
- annex enterprise storage
- use visionary consulting to influence the emerging architecture
Sun- be the SOA disruption accelerator
- evangelize next gen technologies like Java, SunTone and N1 that facilitate SOA
- architecture-focused consulting
- absorb lower cost infrastructures including x86 and Linux
HP- target systems management layer as the critical platform
- minimize, not maximize, the footprint to leave room for partners
- reinforce the platform through other major initiatives like adaptive computing and outsourcing services
- the anti-IBM strategy, not seeking to control as many layers in the stack as possible
Summary- Enterprise stack is strongly entrenched, if we don't do anything nothing will happen for a decade
- the future state is that SOA is disruptive and characterized by a new set of platforms
- questions that form the theme of Vortex are around what layers are strategic, what platforms make the most sense, and which vendors are most credible.
I agree with most of what Moore says and since I may have some business interests with a few of the players mentioned here, I am not adding my comments here.
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