I also found similar opinions and statements being made at a lecture by Irving Wladawsky-Berger “Vice President of Technical Strategy and Innovation” at IBM
The Irving Wladawsky-Berger Lecture :-“Enabling a Business Process Revolution”
His blog can be found here..
Irving Wladawsky-Berger’s Blog
In his lecture and in the presentation found on the link above IWB likened the technology evolution of the web to previous more catastrophic revolutions that mankind has experienced. He gave examples of the Industrial Revolution, Steam & Railways and Oil & Automation; each led to a collapse or crash followed by a sustained period of adjustment. The most recent being the “dot.com” crash, and though Michael may see the current disruption relating to Web 2.0 etc, I think it is still part of the current period of adjustment stemming from the “dot.com” crash. This is because you can see it breaking in/seeping through at work, at home, in what we read about, what we hear about… its sphere of influence is growing and growing, but without a violent disruption or revolution.
What is clear that these disruptions may start with technology but they far reaching effects in society and business.
IWB went on further to say to remain successful and viable businesses needed to remain innovative especially during this period of adjustment; else tried and tested technological and business processes will quickly become superseded and out of date. One of the most interesting points made by IWB during the lecture was the adjustment to business process and technology leadership. Previously business models reflected a strong lead via a rigid management hierarchy, strategy and direction choices were made at the top and subsequently pushed down. However, with the community based networking available through web technologies – we now have “informed consumers, proactive citizens and self-organising communities”, challenging the way business can be conducted. For example the linux development project: Linux, where enthusiasts organised themselves to create what is now a widely used and high developed operating system and platform. Not only has this community produced something use, it has financial value too! All from a community with a very different organisational model to traditional businesses.
So we have two leviathans of Information Technology aware of the current adjustment/disruption and how are they responding? Well, I’m sure they can answer that better than myself, and there probably articles about just that out there. One thing is clear to me, they see the need to keep up and stay agile and innovative; so for starters they are acquiring assets or technologies more rapidly … see Graham’s post, recent press releases on WinInternals, Filenet etc. However, there remains are plenty of fresh new competition out there, more flexible, more targetted to challenge the establishment. Here is an interesting article on this by CNN Money The Next 25 I also liked what Steve Richards said in his article: Newsgator and the future of Microsoft, a good description of a new comer on the scene with a whole environment approach to their product.
Perhaps we’re not seeing a big step change in the technologies at our fingertips just yet, and I hope that technology has evolved sufficiently to metamorphose with less end user disruption, but certainly the face, pace and way business is being conducted is changing.