A few decades ago, the industry was faced with the choice between the mainframe model of computing and the PC model. We know who won that one.
The future will belong to those tech vendors who can successfully embrace the “third platform.”
The “first platform” consisted of mainframes and terminals. Then came the “second platform” — the client-server model supported by the PC. In the early 1980s, the technology industry faced a choice between these models, a fork in the road to use his metaphor. Gens pinpoints the date that the enterprise embraced this model as 1986. Companies that took the right fork survived; those that didn’t are now no more than “wikitrivia.”
The emergence of a “third platform” in the explosion of mobile devices supported by services from the cloud. According to IDC forecasts, shipments of non-PC app-capable devices will reach approximately 400 million in 2011, which is about the same as the number of PCs that will ship.
Until now, we’ve been arguing about how disruptive this will be, but “in 2011, it’s clear that the arguing is subsiding. This is the beginning of a new foundation,” says Gens.
There are four essential ingredients driving us to this new path, he says. At the edge are mobile devices and applications; second are cloud services; third is the tremendous amounts of data; and fourth will be a new generation of solutions.
By the end of 2011, there will be 1.3 million apps available for the various mobile operating systems such as iOS and Android. That’s in comparison to only 50,000 – 75,000 total for PCs. Even if only 100,000 of these will be useful in the enterprise, that’s more mobile apps that PC-based apps — this year — according to IDC.
The cloud will be core to services. This will mean an increased focus on service providers. Vendors should develop strengths in both public and private clouds, but should design first for the public cloud, says Gens.
The cloud may be important, but, in terms of buzz words, it may be giving way to Big Data, the third essential component of the new platform. This is data that will be so massive and it will be updated so frequently that it will break relational databases. There’ll be a big need for big-data capable tools.
Finally, there will be a new generation of solutions They won’t be the old horizontal solutions; customers will want vertical solutions tailored to their very specific needs. Many of the companies making inroads here are not traditional tech firms. Tech vendors may find they need to recruit domain experts as new partners.
Iit’s time to recognize this platform shift.