We are all tired of people telling us to do more with less. OK, it is an inevitable part of life and of enterprise IT. It is time for a fight back, time to campaign for doing more with more.
Enterprise IT is at a tipping point. Big Data, the creation of the social enterprise, cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) are much more than IT sales hype and analysts’ buzzwords. They represent a fundamentally new way of working.
Even CIOs who have directed masses of energy into this brave new world have no idea where it will lead them. Big Data is not just about analysing all the unstructured data held in your organisation and spotting trends, it is about giving everyone the appropriate analytics they need to make real-time business decisions.
The social enterprise is not just about customer relationship management and social media. It is also about enhancing the customer experience across rapidly evolving channels like application marketplaces and mobile devices.
And this brings us to Moore’s Law and Parkinson’s Law.
Moore’s Law, states that affordable computing power doubles roughly every two years. Today we can debate whether this can carry on indefinitely, but while we do so, we all benefit from rapid processor evolution – wherever we look – from the server to the smartphone.
Parkinson’s Law isn’t much talked about in IT. It states that "work expands to fill the time available for its completion" and was first expounded in a humorous essay in the Economist magazine in 1955.
Initially it was a wry comment on the expansion of bureaucracy in general and the bloating of Britain’s Colonial Office even as the Empire declined, but it is applicable everywhere, except perhaps enterprise IT.
OK, it is true that storage requirements expand to meet the storage capacity you have commissioned and that network traffic expands to meet the capacity you have installed, but that isn’t the end of the story with IT.
Talk to CIOs about the best part of the job and you will often hear a version of this theme: Delivering an application that did what the users wanted (rather than what they specified) on time and to budget and then watching how that applicaation gave a platform for a whole set of new business processes and initiatives that the users discovered, and that were not in the spec and were maybe not conceived of when the app was specified.
That is a case of Parkinson’s Law, but it is wholly positive - work is expanding to fit the IT capacity available, because it is predicated on IT.
That is happening today. Moore’s Law is helping provide the compute capacity we need, while Parkinson’s Law, in a positive sense, applies to the next wave of technology driven innovation. Big Data, the creation of the social enterprise, cloud and SaaS are opening up new ways of working and enormous new opportunities.
Given all this, don’t underestimate the importance of raw power. Yes, you need to drive up your server utilisation rates and infrastructure efficiency in general. But you also need to ensure you have the compute capacity and the management tools to control it at your fingertips to enable the changes ahead.