By Ronald Schmelzer
It’s hard to believe that ZapThink will be a full decade old in 2010. For those of you that don’t know, ZapThink was founded in October 2000 with a simple mission: record and communicate what was happening at the time with XML standards.
2009: A year of angst
The Times Square Alliance has it right in celebrating Good Riddance Day just prior to New Year’s Eve. There’s a lot that we can be thankful to put behind us. Anne Thomas Manes started out the year with an angst-filled posting declaring that SOA is Dead. Getting past the misleading headline, many in the industry came to the quick realization that SOA is far from dead, but rather going into a less hyped phase.
Last year we predicted that SOA would be pushed from the daily marketing buzz to replaced with Cloud Computing as the latest infatuation of the marketingerati. Specifically we said, “We expect the din of the cloud-related chatter to turn into a real roar by this time next year. Everything SOA-related will probably be turned into something cloud-related by all the big vendors, and companies will desperately try to turn their SOA initiatives into cloud initiatives.”
We’ve seen the rapid emergence of a wide range of EA frameworks, SOA methodologies, and disciplines benefiting from a rapid increase in EA and SOA training expenditures.We also predicted a boom year for SOA education and training, which ended up panning out, for the most part. ZapThink now generates the vast majority of its revenues from SOA training and certification, which has become a multi-million dollar business for us, by itself.
Yet, not all of our predictions panned out. We promised that there would be one notable failure and one notable success that would be universally and specifically attributed to SOA in 2009, and I can’t say that this has happened. If it did, we’d all know about it.
2010 and beyond: Where are things heading?
It’s easy to have 20/20 hindsight, however. It’s much more difficult to make predictions for the year ahead that aren’t just the obvious no-brainers that anyone who has been observing the market can make. Sure, we can assert that the vendors will continue to consolidate, IT spending will rebound with improving economic conditions, and that cloud computing will continue its inevitable movement through the hype cycle, but that wouldn’t be providing you with any information. Rather, we believe that we can stick our necks out a bit to make some predictions for 2010.
In 2010, we predict that:
Open Source SOA infrastructure will dominate – Lack of interest by venture capitalists and consolidation by the Big Five IT infrastructure providers will result in such lack of choice for SOA infrastructure solutions that end users will flock to open source alternatives. As a result, 2010 will be the year that open source SOA infrastructure finally gains enough adoption that it will be on the short list for most large SOA implementations. We’ll see (finally) a robust open source SOA registry/repository offering, SOA management solutions, SOA governance offerings, and SOA infrastructure solutions that rival commercial ones in terms of performance, reliability, and support.
The Rich Internet Application (RIA) Market wars are over – Put a fork in it, it’s done.
- Cloud privacy & security issues put to rest – Already we’re seeing people anguishing about Cloud’s unreliability, insecurity, and lack of privacy. Really? You think people didn’t realize this when they made their Cloud investments in the first place? There’s simply too much economic benefit in running services and applications in a dynamically scalable way on someone else’s infrastructure. The Cloud providers won’t be giving up any time soon. Nor will IT implementers. This means that there will be a credible solution to these problems, and it will become well understood and implemented by year’s end. If you’re looking for a company to start in 2010 that will have a huge, ready customer base and potential for multi-million dollar valuations with an exit in 18-24 months, then this is the place to look. Start a cloud privacy/reliability/security company that addresses current pain points and you’ll win. We’ll just take 5 percent for the suggestion, thanks.
Mainframes will still exist — Look folks, if they haven’t been subsumed by all the movements of the past 30 years, they won’t be gone in another 10. Mainframes and legacy systems are here to stay. Invest in mainframe-related stocks.
We’ll still be talking about Enterprise Architecture – One of the biggest lessons of the past 10 years is that the business still doesn’t understand or value enterprise architecture. CIOs are still, for the most part, business managers who treat IT as a cost center or as a resource they manage on a project-by-project and acquisition-by-acquisition basis. Long-term planning? Put enterprise architects in control of IT strategy? Forget it. In much the same way that the most knowledgeable machinists and assembly line experts would never get into management positions at the automakers, so too will we fail to see EA grab its rightful reins in the enterprise. We’ll still be talking about how necessary, under implemented, and misunderstood EA will be in 2020. You’ll see the same speakers, trainers, and consultants, but with a bit more grey on top (if they don’t already have it now).
Soon, your most private information will be spread onto hundreds of servers and databases around the world that you can’t control and have no visibility over.
More things in IT environments we don’t control – IT is in for long-term downward spending pressure. The technologies and methodologies that are emerging now: Cloud, mobile, Agile, Iterative, Service-Oriented are only pushing more aspects of IT outside the internal environment and into environments that businesses don’t control. Soon, your most private information will be spread onto hundreds of servers and databases around the world that you can’t control and have no visibility over. You can’t fight this battle. Private clouds? Baloney. That’s like trying to stop tectonic shift. The future of IT is outside the enterprise. Deal with it.
- IT vendors will still be selling 10 years from now what they’ve built (or have) today – There is nothing to indicate that the patterns of vendor marketing and IT purchasing have changed in the past 10 years or will change at all in the next 10 years. Vendors will still peddle their same warmed-over wares as new tech for the next 10 years. And even worse, end users will buy them. IT procurement is still a short-sighted, tactically project-focused, solving yesterday’s problems affair. It would require a huge shift in purchasing and marketing behavior to change this, and I regret that I don’t see that happening by 2020.
Some of the above predictions may seem gloomy. Perhaps the current recessionary environment is putting a haze on the positive visions of our crystal ball. More likely, however, is the fact that the enterprise IT industry is in a long-term consolidating phase.
Now, this doesn’t apply to IT as a whole – we see remarkable advancement and development in IT outside the enterprise. As we’ve discussed many times before, there is a digital divide between the IT environment inside the enterprise and the environment we experience when we’re at home or using consumer-oriented websites, devices, and applications.
This guest post comes courtesy of Ronald Schmelzer, senior analyst at ZapThink.
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