Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: TJ Randall, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, AppDynamics Blog

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

Does i-Technology Matter?

"i-Technology" Does Matter. It Matters in Ways that "IT" Could Only Ever Dream Of...

When Nicholas Carr posed the question "Does IT Matter?" in his now-famous Harvard Business Review essay, he clearly knew that it would provoke discussion. He probably didn't know, on the other hand, that it would eventually cause the world's richest man - whose wealth is derived 100% from IT - to call the essay, during a dinner party at his home, "the dumbest thing I've ever read."

 When extended by Nick Carr and published in book form, the essay was subtitled: "Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage." Carr's thesis, simply put, was that since business profits are based on your ability to differentiate yourself, you can only gain an advantage over your competitors by having or doing something that they can't have or do; thus, as IT becomes more and more a commodity, its ability to help your business differentiate itself will decrease

As Leo Lim has expressed it: "IT is merely a cost of doing business, cut in the same cloth as other innovations that once held a lot of promise like electricity and the railway system. Though no company can ever hope to operate much less compete without the above, its homogeneity and prevalence has somehow blunted its value."

So why would anyone, as I am doing here, go out of their way to ask the same exact question of Internet technologies (i-Technology for short)? Won't i-Technology just follow the same trajectory as its pre-Web predecessor, and end up "not mattering"?

My contention is that it won't.

To back this up, I want to point to the game-changing nature of the Internet as opposed to (merely) the silicon chip. No matter how much Carr might like to suggest that in some way the window of innovation for IT has closed, my counter-argument would be that with the advent of the myriad technologies that the Internet has spawned, the window has blown wide open again. It was blustered ajar by the existence of Web 1.0, and now it's in the process of being blown wide open by the arrival of Web 2.0.

Be in no doubt: i-Technology Does Matter. It matters in ways that IT could only ever dream of. It touches us hourly, daily, weekly. And it touched us in our home lives, at school or in hospitals, as well as in our business lives. In the western industrialized world, at least, i-Technology has altered our entire way of being…and, unlike IT, it is only just getting started.

One tried and true metric of the importance that society attaches to any activity has, throughout the centuries, been vocabulary growth. Just as farming terms multiplied rapidly through the 19th century, the 21st century has so far been characterized by hugely innovative additions to the dictionary, reflecting very real innovations in the real world, including both "blogging" (with its variants like "vlogging" and sub-words like "blogroll" and "blogdropping," and "podcasting" - not to mention the family of words that podcasting too has spawned, such as "podvertising," "nanocasting," "podsafe" and - doubtless soon, alas - "podspamming"). That is before you even begin on acronyms, from the early acronyms like HTML, HTTP, and TCP/IP to more recent ones like DHTML, DOM, and AJAX.

But terminology, even an abundance of it, is what economists would call, at best, a "soft indicator." So next month in this space I will turn from words to numbers and make my argument in terms of solid economic metrics. i-Technology professionals everywhere, stay tuned!

 When extended by Nick Carr and published in book form, the essay was subtitled: "Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage." Carr's thesis, simply put, was that since business profits are based on your ability to differentiate yourself, you can only gain an advantage over your competitors by having or doing something that they can't have or do; thus, as IT becomes more and more a commodity, its ability to help your business differentiate itself will decrease

As Leo Lim has expressed it: "IT is merely a cost of doing business, cut in the same cloth as other innovations that once held a lot of promise like electricity and the railway system. Though no company can ever hope to operate much less compete without the above, its homogeneity and prevalence has somehow blunted its value."

So why would anyone, as I am doing here, go out of their way to ask the same exact question of Internet technologies (i-Technology for short)? Won't i-Technology just follow the same trajectory as its pre-Web predecessor, and end up "not mattering"?

My contention is that it won't.

To back this up, I want to point to the game-changing nature of the Internet as opposed to (merely) the silicon chip. No matter how much Carr might like to suggest that in some way the window of innovation for IT has closed, my counter-argument would be that with the advent of the myriad technologies that the Internet has spawned, the window has blown wide open again. It was blustered ajar by the existence of Web 1.0, and now it's in the process of being blown wide open by the arrival of Web 2.0.

Be in no doubt: i-Technology Does Matter. It matters in ways that IT could only ever dream of. It touches us hourly, daily, weekly. And it touched us in our home lives, at school or in hospitals, as well as in our business lives. In the western industrialized world, at least, i-Technology has altered our entire way of being…and, unlike IT, it is only just getting started.

One tried and true metric of the importance that society attaches to any activity has, throughout the centuries, been vocabulary growth. Just as farming terms multiplied rapidly through the 19th century, the 21st century has so far been characterized by hugely innovative additions to the dictionary, reflecting very real innovations in the real world, including both "blogging" (with its variants like "vlogging" and sub-words like "blogroll" and "blogdropping," and "podcasting" - not to mention the family of words that podcasting too has spawned, such as "podvertising," "nanocasting," "podsafe" and - doubtless soon, alas - "podspamming"). That is before you even begin on acronyms, from the early acronyms like HTML, HTTP, and TCP/IP to more recent ones like DHTML, DOM, and AJAX.

But terminology, even an abundance of it, is what economists would call, at best, a "soft indicator." So next month in this space I will turn from words to numbers and make my argument in terms of solid economic metrics. i-Technology professionals everywhere, stay tuned!

 When extended by Nick Carr and published in book form, the essay was subtitled: "Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage." Carr's thesis, simply put, was that since business profits are based on your ability to differentiate yourself, you can only gain an advantage over your competitors by having or doing something that they can't have or do; thus, as IT becomes more and more a commodity, its ability to help your business differentiate itself will decrease

As Leo Lim has expressed it: "IT is merely a cost of doing business, cut in the same cloth as other innovations that once held a lot of promise like electricity and the railway system. Though no company can ever hope to operate much less compete without the above, its homogeneity and prevalence has somehow blunted its value."

So why would anyone, as I am doing here, go out of their way to ask the same exact question of Internet technologies (i-Technology for short)? Won't i-Technology just follow the same trajectory as its pre-Web predecessor, and end up "not mattering"?


More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

Comments (4)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Microservices Articles
At its core DevOps is all about collaboration. The lines of communication must be opened and it takes some effort to ensure that they stay that way. It’s easy to pay lip service to trends and talk about implementing new methodologies, but without action, real benefits cannot be realized. Success requires planning, advocates empowered to effect change, and, of course, the right tooling. To bring about a cultural shift it’s important to share challenges. In simple terms, ensuring that everyone k...
Is advanced scheduling in Kubernetes achievable?Yes, however, how do you properly accommodate every real-life scenario that a Kubernetes user might encounter? How do you leverage advanced scheduling techniques to shape and describe each scenario in easy-to-use rules and configurations? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Oleg Chunikhin, CTO at Kublr, answered these questions and demonstrated techniques for implementing advanced scheduling. For example, using spot instances and co...
Today most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes significant work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reducti...
Skeuomorphism usually means retaining existing design cues in something new that doesn’t actually need them. However, the concept of skeuomorphism can be thought of as relating more broadly to applying existing patterns to new technologies that, in fact, cry out for new approaches. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gordon Haff, Senior Cloud Strategy Marketing and Evangelism Manager at Red Hat, discussed why containers should be paired with new architectural practices such as microservices rathe...
With the rise of Docker, Kubernetes, and other container technologies, the growth of microservices has skyrocketed among dev teams looking to innovate on a faster release cycle. This has enabled teams to finally realize their DevOps goals to ship and iterate quickly in a continuous delivery model. Why containers are growing in popularity is no surprise — they’re extremely easy to spin up or down, but come with an unforeseen issue. However, without the right foresight, DevOps and IT teams may lo...
Kubernetes is a new and revolutionary open-sourced system for managing containers across multiple hosts in a cluster. Ansible is a simple IT automation tool for just about any requirement for reproducible environments. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Patrick Galbraith, a principal engineer at HPE, will discuss how to build a fully functional Kubernetes cluster on a number of virtual machines or bare-metal hosts. Also included will be a brief demonstration of running a Galer...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Mike Johnston, an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io, will discuss how to use Kubernetes to setup a SaaS infrastructure for your business. Mike Johnston is an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io with over 12 years of experience designing, deploying, and maintaining server and workstation infrastructure at all scales. He has experience with brick and mortar data centers as well as cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace....
"There is a huge interest in Kubernetes. People are now starting to use Kubernetes and implement it," stated Sebastian Scheele, co-founder of Loodse, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...