As I write, a headline in the Manchester Evening News shouts Live: Eyes of the football world on Manchester as City take on United in league title shoot-out derby clash.\nSome 650 million people across 211 countries are expected to watch the game.\nFootball is not my passion, but the same ICT capabilities that enable this small miracle of globalisation have now developed sufficiently to enable audiences from London to Sydney to enjoy opera broadcast in high definition from the Met in New York. That's more to my taste.\nHere are the capabilities of ICT being commercially exploited by football clubs and opera houses. Not, please note, by ICT vendors who in this case simply operate as underlying service providers.\nTo anyone familiar with Moore\u2019s Law, this is a totally forecastable development. Reach back two decades and the cost of processing a byte was such that code creators had to be tight-fisted.\nA decade later we had sorted the consequence, the Millennium Bug. And were already in the era of increasingly economic layers of metadata feeding the virtualisation revolution.\nToday we have massive room for manoeuvre that will continue to increase exponentially for the next two decades at the very least.\nAgainst this background, the time is now ripe, I propose, for a determined drive to disenfranchise the IT industry from its conviction that its role is to drive change, and in its place, enfranchise the wider user community to creatively take the wheel and influence the IT industry to address real user priorities.\nThe issue I raise here is in line with the latest thinking from the Leading Edge Forum, which sets about analysing what it means for a business to be really driven by marketplace signals, needs and dynamics.\nThe report\u2019s author, Dave Moschella, has developed his thinking in the context of the client enterprise, but his insights are equally applicable to the contemporary ICT vendor.\nWe certainly look to the ICT industry to innovate new capabilities.\nThe danger is that the marketing imperative then takes hold and we have the Next Big Thing. What is the question?\nIn 2011 the answer was The Cloud; in 2012 it is now Big Data. I exaggerate, but only to a point.\nI propose a new patron saint of the ICT industry\u2019s marketing fraternity, the late artist Lucien Freud, who is currently the subject of a major retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery.\nAsked what the purpose of his art was, Freud replied: \u201cFirst to astonish, then to disturb, then to seduce and then to convince\u201d.\nA better charter for today\u2019s marketers of the cloud and of big data I cannot find.\nThere are more constructive alternatives now in play. I recently attended the launch of the Big Data Insight Group\u2019s first report.\nThis was no marketing drive, but an initiative of Emma Taylor and her business vehicle Nimbus Ninety, whose initial creation, Obis Omni, is devoted to the concept of enabling \u2018a free, independent and dedicated business intelligence and corporate performance management community.\nTwo more such Communities have followed, The Cloud Circle and now the Big Data Insight Group.\nAll three are growing fast, and I can vouch that they are delivering quality work. The emergence of such communities is a key development.\nThey work to enfranchise the business user by creating an environment in which the informed user can explore the potential of new capabilities in IT, and guide their development through feedback that alert vendors would be wise to take notice of.\nBut vendor attitude is vital. I advised a client whose compute operations had hit a serious performance snag.\nOne key issue was to elucidate the contribution to the performance failures of the vendor whose kit was at the heart of the client\u2019s operations.\nThis vendor offers its clients a costly premium service, in essence a club, that promises access to the vendor\u2019s current thinking and innovation.\nThe alternative is to buy the kit as kit on an arm\u2019s-length basis. Here is vendor technology push at work in the raw.\nAn alternative model?\nA discounted pricing structure where the vendor is given full access to clients\u2019 compute operations so it can learn in real time how its kit performs at the sharp end and what innovation will positively impact clients\u2019 operations, as well as a significant pricing premium for clients who deny the vendor access to such vital front-line experiential learning.\nBecause technology does not drive, it enables. It is the users exploiting the technology that really do the driving.