Get Ready for the New Old Face of IT: Mobile and In the Cloud

Get Ready for the New Old Face of IT: Mobile and In the Cloud

Apple and IBM announced a big mobile partnership. As the New York Times reported, the deal could “deepen Apple’s sales to corporations and strengthen IBM’s position in business software.”

[IBM CEO Virginia] Rometty said the companies planned to combine data analysis, cloud and mobile technology with Apple’s smartphones and tablets, turning the devices into decision-making tools rather than ones used mainly for email, text-messaging and contacts. The long-term goal, Ms. Rometty said, is to use the technology to “reimagine how work is done” and to “unlock value, remake professions and transform companies.”

Not enough for you? Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella sees his company’s future as a combination of mobile and cloud.

Put only a little differently, IBM, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and many others see the writing on the wall. Companies, even the biggest, have and will continue to increasingly move to computing platforms based on cloud delivery and mobile devices. It’s a trend that will have major implications for those studying information systems management over the coming years. But while the future may seem strange and confusing, in a way it’s the same thing it’s always been. The key to adapting and keeping your career in top gear is to remember the principles and find new ways of applying them.

Look at cloud computing. The idea is really ingenious. Companies place major resources into a giant pool and then make efficient use of it through virtualization. Need additional resources? Use automation to provision them. Don’t want to deal with the hassle of running the software yourself? Contract full services for users.

But this is reminiscent of mainframes. That shouldn’t be a surprise, as mainframes are popular in many cloud computing implementations. Even when run with banks of Intel-based servers and virtualization software, the idea of central control and delivery of services remains the same. A cloud can be run internally, externally, or between the two in a hybrid manner, just as companies would once have their own mainframe or contract for timesharing.

Mobile is definitely different from desktops and laptops. You have less visual screen real estate, work with touch or voice input, and often have to manage a data connection to the Internet and cloud services that is restricted in available total monthly bandwidth, putting a premium on interface design. But that is no different from having to consider the capacity of networks (particularly for remote offices that often have restricted Internet connectivity) and a collection of different client devices that varied in power and screen size and resolution.

In other words, you’ve been to this party many times before. Learn the specifics you need to do the job, but don’t get thrown because the most important basics remain the same.

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