Earlier this month, we listed the 5 areas of technology that former Fortescue Metals CIO, Vito Forte, believes will soon disappear.
Forte also discussed the 5 areas of IT that are on the rise – growth areas that technology chiefs need to think about – at last month’s CIO Summit in Perth.
1. The rise of the service broker
Use your knowledge and experience to bring the right things to the right people, said Forte.
“You are fundamentally becoming a broker of capability – you don’t need to build and run [systems] anymore,” he told attendees.
“You need to deliver and service. So that means what you are doing is relying on others to do that sort of thing and making sure that they actually create and add the value that you and your organisation really needs,” he said.
Forte said a CIO’s value proposition is his or her understanding of what the business is about and mapping their knowledge and experience to the capability.
“Is it going to be perfect? Does it need to be perfect? No, because it’s going to change again. So what you need to be is adaptable and flexible – this is where your value is because aren’t you in this industry to be a change agent?” he asked.
2. The rise of software-as-a-service (SaaS)
Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) is a means to an end, it’s not where the future is and is a way for people to understand the ‘as-a-service’ mentality,” claimed Forte.
The SaaS market – which will be worth $142 billion globally by 2020 – is where it’s at, he said. This compares to a $5 billion IaaS market and $4 billion platform-as-a-service market, according to research by Forrester.
“Are you taking advantage of this? Why maintain legacy [systems]?” he asked.
Forte believes organisations are still focusing on the 98 per cent and forgetting the 2 per cent where value is added. Moving to SaaS infrastructure enables IT teams to focus on high value tasks, he said.
“We believe all organisations are different – that they fundamentally process things differently because that’s where their value lies. No it doesn’t,” he said.
3. The rise of identity-as-a-service (IdaaS)
Forte pointed to new service offerings that allow companies in industries that deal with very confidential information to encrypt all data right down to end point devices.
“These are services that are now appearing for different types of industries. So the rate of change in this space is going to grow exponentially as we see the embedding of security in applications and capability rather than it being this thing that sits on the side that we then have to try and integrate,” said Forte.
“Normally, if this doesn’t work out, we then build a walled garden and throw everything in the middle and set all the troops up around the outside with bows and arrows hoping to keep the bad guys out.”
Identities are no longer the domain of a single organisation, said Forte. There’s a lack of a perimeter for organisations that are dealing with a large distribution of customers, employees and partners.
“The key thing here is around identity. Do we put all these people in our directories?” he asked. “How do you validate identities? Do you ask people to give you a 100 point check before you give them an email account? Why would we do that?”
Forte said that most consumers are now logging into many services with their Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn IDs.
“Why don’t we take advantage of that?” he asked. “This will reduce the reliance on a whole bunch of internal infrastructure to work out ‘who is who in the zoo’,” he said.
He said organisations ‘sort of get this wrong anyway’ so there’s an opportunity to learn from consumer-oriented capabilities.
4. The rise of ArcOps
Although DevOps – a concept aimed at improving interaction between app developers and IT operations staff – provides agility and helps to speed up application deployment, IT teams need to start earlier at the architecture level, said Forte.
“Architecture is about strategy execution and that’s it. So if you are not executing on those particular elements, and following it through to see if you have architected something that actually delivers value, why are you doing it in the first place?
“To deliver with velocity, we need to architect for operations, not just develop. Architecture is not an island of perfection,” he said.
He questioned how a chart with 75 million lines that is only understood by one person creates value.
“Who takes ownership of delivering that? The conversations I have heard in the past have been: ‘Well the reason that failed is because you, being operations, didn’t understand what I designed.’
“Well whose fault is that? Aren’t we on the same team?” he said.
“So making that end-to-end capability responsible from the architecture piece right through [to completion] is really important and can drive a lot more value.
“It does upset the architects though but that’s OK – that’s the whole point of disruption,” he said.
5. The rise of the ‘sharing’ economy
Forte believes we have barely scratched the surface of the potential of the sharing economy currently driven by innovators like Uber, Airbnb and Airtasker.
The disintermediation that has occurred with companies like Uber means we are “basically excising infrastructure”, he said.
“Australia Post’s biggest challenge is trying to work out who is going to ‘do an Uber’ on them. That’s what they are petrified about. They haven’t worked it out yet.”
He questioned why Australia Post has its own delivery trucks or why it can’t join forces with supermarket giants to deliver to customers.
He cited a partnership between Audi, DHL and Amazon as an example of an innovation in this sharing economy. Amazon is testing a postal service that will see DHL staff deliver parcels to customers’ cars.
“Audi will give Amazon access to your boot of your car for a short period of time for them to deliver your parcel,” Forte said. “This costs Amazon nothing.”
Google is just about to start its autonomous car trials in California, said Forte.
“That’s about vehicle-to-vehicle communications, cars are talking to each other now,” he said. “What people don’t realise is that they are talking to each other in terms of positioning, velocity and other aspects of the driving experience.
“But if those networks are in place and you’ve got a connected mesh of things with CPU and processing power, what else can they do? Can they carry other data? Can they take data off sensors in the road and transmit it to a Department of Transport? Can they take data off trains and allow it to be transmitted somewhere else?
“It’s that sort of stuff that starts to come out when these sorts of things start to happen,” he said.