The fifth wave of corporate IT is characterised by a new master IT architecture technology stack known as SMAC - social, mobile, analytics and cloud technologies. It’s the fifth wave because it comes after the mainframe era, mini-computing era, the personal computer and client server era, and the Web era.
SMAC is a hugely disruptive wave of innovation that demands the attention of all CIOs because of its ability to generate competitive advantage as all four elements work together in synergy.
According to a SearchCIO article on SMAC, “The integration of these technologies requires clear policies and guidelines as well as management tools that can automate business processes.” This automation comes under the banner of today’s SDX; Software Defined Networking, Software Defined Data Centres and even Software Defined Storage, all designed to automate processes to free up time for CIOs and others to focus on core business and innovation. Having all these elements in synch produces the Service Defined Enterprise, which is one of the holy grails of the SMAC world.
So what is a good example of a SMAC company currently working in the world?
The article says: “The media company Netflix is often cited as an example of a business that has successfully harnessed the power of SMAC. For example, when a Netflix member streams a TV show from the Netflix cloud to their iPad, they are given the option of signing into Netflix with Facebook's social login. After viewing a show, members are given multiple ways to provide social feedback. They can rate content with stars, write reviews and/or share what they just watched with friends on Facebook or Twitter.”
And how does the CIO respond to SMAC?
Logicalis produced an interesting white paper entitled “Why Every CEO Wants to Lead a Service Defined Enterprise and why the CIO Needs to Make it Happen”. The white paper argues that the CIO needs to make the journey from Head of Information Technology to the leader of an internal Enterprise Service Provider. It concludes that “the route towards a Service Defined Enterprise is one that every CIO will follow, and some will lead. It’s a journey of transformation that leads to a more responsive and cost-efficient IT department, greater agility, a more competitive business model, and a richer user experience. Ultimately, for the CIO and the IT department, the Service Defined Enterprise could be more than a plan for the future. It could be a plan for survival.”
And the whitepaper has some colourful thoughts about the cloud part of SMAC. It states: “Could the average CIO and the IT department compete realistically in an open market against an array of ‘new model’ service providers offering cloud as the ‘only viable option’ for survival? Will they ever be able to keep pace with the demand for business innovation when they are so heavily burdened with the obligation to fund and maintain up to a 10 year legacy of technology decisions and investments?
“Some commentators suggest that the cloud is to the CIO what the huge meteor was to the dinosaurs. That may be a rather extreme analogy. But if it rings true, it should serve more as an alarm bell than a death knell.
“In a new ‘cloud’ world where every facet of technology is available on-demand, as a service, from specialist providers who are perceived as being faster, cheaper and more innovative, most CIO’s will struggle to remain relevant. However, there’s a huge difference between facing a struggle and facing distinction. After all, the dinosaurs had no alternative path when the meteor hit, The CIO does,” the white paper states.
As to the future with SMAC, in an article in Computerworld, Nicholas D. Evans argues there will be a new work style combining social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC).
“Today’s customers and employees, particularly digital natives, are expecting a new style of commerce, content and collaboration that’s social-, mobile-, analytics-, and cloud-enabled,” Evans writes. “They’re looking for the same anytime, anywhere, and any-device convenience that they’re familiar with in their personal lives through applications from companies such as Amazon and Facebook.
“In terms of device usage, the “mobile elite” in the workforce currently utilise three or more personal devices for work and this number will only increase as wearable devices such glasses and watches add to end user options.
“In the SMAC era, the next generation of business applications needs to embrace this same approach to enhance the end user experience, and maximize convenience and productivity, as SMAC-enabled architectures become the preferred application paradigm and means of interaction.”
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