Information-Driven Business

Is “The New Small” the future of big business?
by Robert Hillard

The most important thing about the evolution of cloud computing is the ability to setup a business quickly without the delays and cost associated with establishing dedicated infrastructure.  Phil Simon has written a book, The New Small, which demonstrates that this approach is ready for prime time.

Simon goes further and argues that the very characteristics that lead people to use the cloud are also the characteristics that make businesses agile and successful.  While his book provides case studies from what he calls “New Small” companies, the approach is just as applicable to groups within big organisations that seek to unburden themselves from big overheads and delays.

Simon is a fellow blogger on the MIKE2.0 site and we share many of the same philosophies with regards to the information technology industry.  He is someone who “gets” the subtle issues that organisations face managing complex technology in an era of information overload.

The cost of setting up the systems for any new business or function within a larger organisation is continually going up, despite the drive downwards, by Moore’s law, of computers themselves.  This increase in cost is due to the complexity inherent in the increasing amount of information and the processes that handle it.  Anyone worried about these costs could do worse than to think in terms of “New Small” and ask whether there is another way to deploy nimble solutions.

Organizations want to find a way to bring the cost of technology down.  There is a growing sense of frustration that it is too hard to make even small changes to the way a business is run without incurring huge expense.  Many are arguing that cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS) are offering a way of achieving these sorts of gains.

Another way of looking at things is to consider the last decade as being one where very little actually changed in core computing models.  The industry got a lot better at applying techniques developed in the 1990s.  The next decade is unlikely to be so comfortable with much more radical approaches appearing, including the move from a web-based architecture to one that utilises small, but functionally rich, “apps”.  It is very likely that the IT department of the near future will appear much like an “enterprise app store”!

All this has to happen in an environment where the most important resource available to any business is the data that it holds.  Any new approach to implementing applications cannot swap system complexity for information fragmentation as this will put at risk regulatory obligations, shareholder value and potential future business opportunities.

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