Shift Happens


2010 comes to a close. Finally. I am ready for a new year.
I posted two recent articles featuring the word “Shift”. But they are largely unrelated.
At NoJitter: I wrote Is Freemium Worth The Price? The post looks at how many services have become free and how we rely upon them despite their lack of assurances. The shifty point is:

The conversation is changing–most of the conversation about the cloud versus premise was about security–protection from third parties. The shift is now that bigger threats are increasingly from the cloud provider itself; its business model, terms of service, and likelihood of survival.

I think Wikileaks really changes the cloud security conversation. Most of that conversation was annoying anyway – things can’t be secure if they are in the cloud is nonsense. But the troubling notion is the fact that on-premise offers little security benefit if the data is still accessible from the Internet. Wikileaks reminds us that none of that matters when the wrong users have unlimited access. The State Department cables that were leaked were off the Internet, on premise, and guarded by some of the best security available – yet leaked.
The other Shift piece is on, called There’s A Shift Afoot. This one gets into the horse and cart of UC – who’s driving and the shift refers to my perspective that the driver is shifting from voice to collaboration.

As organizations become increasingly decentralized, they must leverage strong foundational technologies to promote and preserve cross/inter/intra-enterprise communications. The shift afoot is our needs for communications are changing more rapidly than our communications systems. The prior shifts, analog to digital and digital to VoIP, were technology driven, not user driven. This time, it’s the users shaping communication needs – and they will meet those needs even if the organization doesn’t.

I listed several proof points, but neglected to include the consumerization of IT which is what that last sentence in the excerpt above alludes to. I think these two shifts will have significant impact in 2011.
Also, you can’t have a Shift Happens post without credit to the popular slide show series on YouTube. There are numerous variants, but this one is particularly good as it hits more of the web stuff. I think it was this one too that ScanSource featured in their annual sales conference that this year stressed UC:

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These videos emphasize how large China really is in this world. There is lots of news about how China is passing the US in many sectors – Shanghai has the best education, China has more gene splicers than any country, and more investments in renewable energy to name a few. But today’s headlines regarding China are about VoIP. Evidently China is outlawing VoIP other than its state telecom networks; this will have a significant impact to many services including Skype. (I have done some business with China and Skype was invaluable).
This is where I feel more confident about our ability to compete with China. The fact that China outlaws so much of the Interent – Facebook, YouTube, Google, etc, Controlling information like this stifles innovation. And Innovation is what fuels economies.
That’s all for this year. Same Bat channel next year.

Dave Michels