I have spent most of the last year researching emerging trends for The Next Wave of Technologies. While it’s a very big book covering quite a few technologies, for now suffice it say that we have entered an exciting time with regard to IT. It’s obvious to me that, technology-wise, organizations can do pretty much whatever they want. SOA, mobility, open source, agile software development methods, clouds, SaaS, and other concepts allow for so much more flexibility than “Enterprise 1.0” did.
Against this backdrop, I recently read a few posts that emphasize the continued importance of people in this very dynamic environment.
In Fixing IT in the cloud computing era, Dion Hinchcliffe writes extensively about the game-changing nature of cloud computing. Ultimately,
…enterprise architects truly become business architects and business people become their own IT experts. Some of this is already here though much of it is not and there are certainly many issues to be worked out. But the writing is increasingly on the wall that this is the future of IT in the cloud computing era.
Translation: We are overcoming the traditional limitations of enterprise software. This has enormous implications for everyone, especially folks with “less than progressive” views on the normative roles of business end users and IT.
In a related post, 2010 Watchlist: People-Oriented Architecture, Phil Wainewright writes:
I’ve used the term people-oriented architecture to make a deliberate contrast with our experience of service-oriented architecture in the past decade. Unlike SOA — which too often sought to remake the way that computers talk to one another without any reference to or consideration of user needs and business results — people-oriented architectures have to be developed collaboratively and iteratively with users and business owners, giving them as much freedom and autonomy as possible to control and manage information and processes to achieve the results they want. It’s an acknowledgment that people are both the commanding providers and the ultimate end consumers of any of the services in a computing architecture.
Put another way, just because we can doesn’t mean that we should, to paraphrase a quote from Jurassic Park. Enterprise 2.0 tools such as SOA, OS, and SaaS are very flexible. Because of this, the role of intelligent business decisions regarding design, architecture, UI, and the like are more important than before, not less.
In Enterprise 2.0, end users will drive how new apps and technologies ultimately work. I truly believe that we’re entering a period in which just about anything is possible on a technology front. The shackles of desktops and laptops, traditional networks, and client-server architecture are being removed. People matter, big time.
What do you think?