The Future As Seen By Me In 2010

Well looky here, things one has scanned in eh. (ignore the photo, that's some guy that made some accounting software, not sure what became of him ;) MIKE RIVERSDALE is fuming. The expensive headphones he bought in Sydney three weeks ago have just died. His first reaction is not to randomly spill expletives into his coffee, but to use his iPhone to vent his frustration to his Twitter con- tacts, under the moniker Miramar Mike. "I will also put, 'What should I do?' It's a conversation. I'm reaching out to the people following me." The council predicts hand-held digital devices such as smartphones will rule the world in 2040. They already rule the life of Mr Riversdale, whose company WaveAdept helps businesses adapt - their computing sys- tems to allow staff to work from anywhere - and with anyone. In order of fre- equency, he uses his iPhone to tweet (1136 followers; 8363 tweets since joining), e-mail, make phone calls and use online services, such as checki

The future of IT Departments

Again, working my way through my Google starred items I have four articles that talk about 'the future' of a lot of IT related things. The four articles cover the whole range of "IT" starting at the top with an overview of where we're at and where we are potentially going descending all the way down to the future of software development.

I see the articles linked together in a happy wee circle, with the large strategic future being driven by the way consumers/organisations want to use the apps which are created by developers which are driven by the large strategic future ... and around we go again.

And so, let's start at the the big picture with a look at the evolution of where we were as well as where we might get to...

Web 2.0 Explorer: A simple picture of Web evolution
This article and the diagram it talks about highlight quite succinctly the challenge for IT Departments have. The move away from 'user' interacting with 'installed application' with the move to 'community' interacting with 'web based applications' through to the free flow of 'information' ("relationships", "context" and even "functionality") in the usually labeled semantic web ("Web 3.0"?).
Click for bigger version of 'Web 2.0 Explorer: A simple picture of Web evolution'

The challenge is one of 'control' - the letting go of control to the 'user' and to the 'application'. Once the IT Department meets this challenge the relinquishes control the ability and freedom businesses have to drive their day-to-day operations anytime/anywhere will be one of a challenge for the management and the underlying culture of the organisation.

Web 2.0 Explorer: The state of Enterprise 2.0
We now move on to the future of your work place - yes, YOURS!

This article by Dion Hinchcliffe is an excellent article of how your organisation can start planning for the future state of being an Enterprise 2.0 driven company. And if you don't think you need to then take a long look around your work place and learn from his lesson #1 (out of 7):
Enterprise 2.0 is going to happen in your organization with you or without you.
I’ve heard a growing chorus from organizations about blogs, wikis, and other types of Enterprise 2.0 applications being brought in the back door via use of department budgets and corporate credit cards by virtue of on-the-ground worker initiative. Grassroots adoption of Enterprise 2.0 in this respect is highly reminiscent of the original personal computer days when employee craved better tools so badly they brought in their own PCs and purchased their own software. I’ve both heard tale and witnessed personally the widespread use of hosted wikis in particular but even unauthorized internal installations of MediaWiki, such as at AOL, where their rogue installation of MediaWiki has become enormously popular and has pages for every product, technology, and department and I can cite a dozen other similar stories. Enterprise 2.0 is now happening on its own in many organizations and it’s up to the business and IT to not so much take control but to enable it with things such as effective enterprise search and which helps prevent silos and duplicate, yet unsynchronized data from forming.

The other lessons outlined are:
  • Effective Enterprise 2.0 seems to involve more than just blogs and wikis.
  • Enterprise 2.0 is more a state of mind than a product you can purchase.
  • Most businesses still need to educate their workers on the techniques and best practices of Enterprise 2.0 and social media.
  • The benefits of Enterprise 2.0 can be dramatic, but only builds steadily over time. One major benefit of the open, globally visible information in Enterprise 2.0 platforms is that organizational retention of knowledge actually begins to accrue on a wide scale.
  • Enterprise 2.0 doesn’t seem to put older IT systems out of business. In fact, this seems to never have happened.
  • Your organization will begin to change in new ways because of Enterprise 2.0. Be ready.
For those that remember the SLATES acronym defining what Web 2.0 was all about then Dion's redefinition is both interesting in it's increased complexity and in how it now applies more and more to the workplace
Web 2.0 Explorer: The state of Enterprise 2.0

Read/Write Web: The State of Office 2.0 and its Future
After all that high level stuff here's an article that talks about the actual applications that you and I use the most - the emailing, word processing, the number crunching and the showing off of presentations.

The article is aimed at describing and reviewing of online applications that purport to provide the functionality of the standard Microsoft Office package (Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint).

Read/Write Web: The State of Office 2.0 and its Future

The applications talked about are:

Of course I am firmly in the Google camp and can't praise highly enough Google Docs, GMail and all the other subsidiary bits of Google Apps. I particularly the ability for the applications ("services"?) to grow beneath my feet without me having to do a single thing about it and they've certainly moved on since my write up of enabling Vista Coaching as a totally online company.

Read/Write Web: The Future of Software Development
And finally we've come the final part of the happy future wheel - how are we going to create the applications people want to use online?

I contend, as does the article, that it will be done using Agile development methods. It will be feature driven, focus on the actual features and rapid deployment in a 'constant beta' world. I also totally agree with Alex Iskold (author of the article) re:
The secret is that as with any good endeavor it only takes a few good men (and/or women!). With a bit of discipline and a ton of passion, high quality engineers are able to put together systems of great complexity on their own.

Equipped with a modern programming language, great libraries, and agile methods, a couple of smart guys in the garage can get things done much better and faster than an army of mediocre developers.

And there we are, back again - creating applications that drive the future of the Web 2.0 ...

If you'd like to know more about Agile Development then I suggest you check out the upcoming Agile Barcamp being held here in Wellington on Friday 7th December - it's free, it'll be illuminating and it'll also be a chance for you to ask as many questions as you like!

All the details at the Agile Barcamp wiki:


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