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Cloud Computing Will Drive Innovation

Flip the 80/20 Rule on Its Head

Flip 80/20 and Go.

What does that mean?

Flip 80/20 means to stand the conventional wisdom that IT spends 80 percent of its resources on management and 20 percent on innovation. Actually, while researching an article last year on this topic, I located some academic work done in Europe that operations and maintenance taking up 90 percent of budget. A Gartner report on the topic put the ratio at 91/9.

Industry CEOs such as Mark Hurd and Michael Dell have put the maintenance percentage at 70.

So we all know the ratio tilts very unfavorably toward pesky operations and maintenance.

By sending all this stuff to the cloud--ie, a service provider's cloud--and saving money in the process, the modern-day hepcat CIO should now, in theory, be able to focus the IT department's energies on innovation.

If there is even a 10-percent savings, for example, one would think enlightened companies would plow all or most of that back into innovation. (The company has also removed a lot of capital expenditures over to operational expenditures, but I won't write much about that until I've talked to a few expert beancounters.)

Innovation is not a precise word. Rather than debate incremental vs. quantum, updates vs. breakthroughs, etc., let's look at innovation the way Bobby Kennedy looked at the world, ie "...I dream things that never were, and say 'Why not?'"

Think of what you would like your organization to be able to deliver. Break through The Innovator's Dillemma by dreaming of things your customers aren't (yet) demanding. Understand that once you have outlined your dream, you can order up the IT power you need to fulfill it. Similar to adding a new building, then ordering up the water and electricity. Yes?

This could lead to a modern-day CEO with a background in philosophy, history, literature. Yes, I know many high-level execs (including CIOs) are already broadly educated and do need to see the forest for the trees.

But, once you have outsourced the task of providing the gas to power the car, you can just step on the accelerator and go. No year-long, 18-month, or longer lag between conception and deployment.

Of course, it's not that simple. But we can always dream, can't we?

Follow the author at www.twitter.com/strukhoff

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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