October 28, 2014 Leave a comment
Random thoughts today as I drove in to work. As we approach 2020 I sense we’re on another technological transition.
The 60’s brought into being the 360 Architecture and the start of “Big” iron. This was a major change from how calculating was done, mostly using mechanical devices like card sorters and tabulation machines. From then on calculations could be written, stored and executed repeatedly. In the 70’s and 80’s the microprocessor and personal computer came into being. Another transition occurred. Computing verses calculation became available to the masses in the Western world. The vision of having a PC on every desk didn’t seem so far fetched. Move a little forward a decade and networking became the next transition. Individual computers where connected in clusters making partitioning computing tasks into specialized roles possible (e.g., Client Server, DBMS, etc.). A little more forward in time and networking capability and the Internet came into popular usage. Again a transition; people started using Browsers which placed most of the computing power back in a central server or server farm. Now enter the smartphone, “apps” which enhance the Browser paradigm as well as provide some local computing and storage are changing how people not only process information but interact with each other. The fusion of telecommunications with computing has created another transition. This was brought about by another hardware architecture change such as ARM. But no sooner has ARM become the current and growing thing, others are looking at how software is evolving as the next transition. Virtual Machines are nothing new. In fact many people today use them without knowing such, Office applications people are using are virtualized. This suggests that hardware is becoming an invisible layer, able to be changed out on demand will little impact to the basic operation of a business.
With that I see yet another interesting trend emerging. Today its impossible to go into any company without hearing the words “Business Model”. Even my wife has brought up the term more than once. However, today’s business models representations just drawings, visualizations of concepts. Much the same as drawings and diagrams in the engineering fields were the same. It took several generations of “digitization” before engineering models could be used as simulations of the real object in digital space. Now I see the same evolution going forward with business models. When I visualized businesses having a digital nervous system years ago I only approach the decomposition needed to anthropomorphize an enterprise: Components such workflow had not yet entered the vernacular of business other than in a shop floor instance. Soon businesses will be able to design a business model, test it and execute it similar to an engineer designing a physical product, having tools to design and document, test for operational performance and flaws, then build and execution like a vehicle factory I had based my vision years ago on.