The enterprise CIO is moving to a consumption-first paradigm

Take yourself back a couple of decades and the IT industry looked very different than it does today. Back then the number of solution choices was relatively limited and only available to those with the finances to afford it. Many of the core services had to be built from the ground up. Why? There simply wasn’t the volume or maturity of the IT marketplace for core services. Today, that picture is very different!

For example, consider email. Back in 1995, Microsoft Exchange was just a fledgling product that was less than two years old. The dominant email solutions were cc:Mail (acquired by Lotus in 1991), Lotus Notes (acquired by IBM in 1995) along with a myriad of mainframe, mini and UNIX-based mail servers.

Every enterprise had to setup and manage their individual email environment. Solutions like Google Apps and Microsoft 365 simply did not exist. There was no real alternative…except for outsourcing.

Outsourcing 1.0

In the mid-late 90’s outsourcing became in vogue as a means to divest the enterprise. The theory was centered on economies of scale and expertise that most enterprises simply did not possess. Back then, IT was squarely seen as a cost center.

Unfortunately, outsourcing did not deliver on the promise. It was an expensive, opaque option that created significant challenges for many enterprise organizations. Even today, these wounds run deep with IT leaders when they think of leveraging cloud-based solutions.

The intersection of IT maturity and focus

Fast forward to present day. Today, organizations are re-doubling efforts to catapult their position through leverage. This effort brings laser focus upon the IT organization to pinpoint those efforts that derive differentiated value.

At the same time, the IT marketplace is far more mature. There are multiple options offered through a number of avenues. A startup company is able to spin up all of their technology services without purchasing a single server or building a single data center. Cloud computing is a key to this leverage point.

The intersection of these two dynamics is causing CIOs and IT organizations to rethink their priorities to better align with the overall business objectives. IT organizations are looking for leverage where they no longer have to do everything themselves. This demonstrably changes the dynamic of speed, agility and focus.

Moving to a consumption-first paradigm

Enter the consumption-first paradigm. Whereas past IT organizations needed to take a build-first methodology out of necessity, today there is a better option. Today, organizations can move to a consume-first paradigm.

Consumption First

Within the paradigm, applications and services are evaluated through a consume-first methodology. If the application/ service is not a good fit, then it moves to a configure-first methodology. If all else fails, it falls to build-first. But the goal here is to consume as much as possible without having to build or configure.

The evaluation process is as important as changing the paradigm. It is critical to clearly understand what is strategic and differentiating for the company. That then becomes a hallmark for guiding which components present the greatest opportunity for focus and leverage.

Paradigm change is hard

Changing the paradigm does not happen overnight. Many will fight the change and develop reasons why consumption is not a good idea. It is important to understand the motivations. From experience, the fundamental concern often comes back to job loss and confusion. For the CIO, it is important to tackle these components head-on.

Equally important is to maintain a balance in evaluating the holistic situation. Understanding the impact on people and processes is often harder than the technology shift. I wrote about this two weeks ago with Time’s Up! Changing core IT Principles.

Coming full circle

Moving to a consumption-first paradigm is not limited to email. It is starting with data centers and core applications (like email) and moving up the stack. The question is: How prepared are you for the coming change. Newer generations of staff, employees and customers are already demanding a different class of services.

The evolution has just started. Moving to a consumption-first paradigm is the core component in making the transformation. Ironically, a vast many organizations are still working with paradigms from the 90’s by trying to do it all themselves. In their case, they believe (mistakenly) that they ‘have’ to. The reality is often very different when taken from an objective perspective.

Do not get caught flat-footed. Change is already happening and picking up momentum. Unlike past evolutions, this is not one you want to be on the trailing edge of.

Microsoft Tries to Get Collaborative in the Cloud With Office 365

Microsoft has launched the public beta of Office 365, an online suite of collaboration and office tools aimed at small businesses. It includes access to Office Web Apps, plus access to hosted versions of SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online.

How-To: Remotely Wipe an iPhone Using Exchange

The thought of your iPhone or iPod touch falling into the wrong hands is enough to scare anyone. The iPhone does have the passcode function to keep prying eyes out, but what if that’s not enough?

In a corporate environment, the loss of a device like this is a major ordeal. Apple has touted the MobileMe remote wiping capabilities, but what if you don’t use MobileMe? If you are in a corporate environment, you probably connect to an exchange server for mail. Using OWA (Outlook Web Access) you can remotely wipe your lost or stolen iPhone/iPod touch and breath easy knowing your data is safe.

As I stated, this relies on using the Exchange email push functionality in the iPhone OS. I have only tested this with Exchange 2007 so I can’t verify how or if this works in older versions of Exchange. OWA is Microsoft’s fancy name for web mail so the first thing you need to do is access your company’s web mail. Read More about How-To: Remotely Wipe an iPhone Using Exchange

Microsoft Dishes On Future of Office for Mac


So far we’ve had to sit back and watch while Office 2010 news for PC users rolled in, but the MacBU over at Microsoft (s msft) has finally come through with details of when and what Mac users can expect regarding the industry-dominating productivity suite, announced at a press conference this morning. They also detailed some changes to the existing Office 2008, or at least to the way it’s sold, to tide us over.

First, the changes to 2008 will include a reduction in retail SKUs from three to two, a Home/Student Edition and a Business Edition. The new Business Edition will include Entourage Web Services Edition, MS Document Connection, additional templates and clip art, and some training sessions. This new pack will cost $399 and be available September 15, while the Home/Student Edition will continue to retail for $149. Read More about Microsoft Dishes On Future of Office for Mac

Macs in the Enterprise: A Firsthand Tale

While I live and play in the land of Apple (s aapl), where rainbow-farting unicorns frolic in the meadows, I work in a Windows world. While being a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Apple Pundits dictates otherwise, I don’t view Microsoft (s msft) as the Great Satan; a computer is but a tool to do a job. While I believe OS X is far superior to Windows, I’m not going to think a great injustice has been done if you make me use Windows.

However, a perfect storm of circumstances has required me to work remotely a greater-than-average amount of time. Since I am rarely within arm’s reach of my MacBook, my boss was gracious enough to let me use it as my primary computer. With all the discussions on what Apple has to do to get accepted in the enterprise, I found the faults actually lay more on the Microsoft side.

One disclaimer to get out of the way: As far as our IT group is concerned, my Mac is unsupported, unsanctioned, and likely an unwelcome presence. Therefore, Mac users who are actually able to call their IT groups for support may have a different experience. Read More about Macs in the Enterprise: A Firsthand Tale

Snow Leopard In Depth: Exchange

Microsoft Exchange

Even though Apple (s aapl) builds great products for the consumer, the company often misses the boat with business users. Snow Leopard stands to make serious inroads with Mac users in wingtips and pinstripes with native support for Microsoft Exchange Server. Mail, iCal, and Address Book will all be updated to talk directly with your Exchange account and in some cases, may work better than Entourage.

The Long & Winding Road

It’s taken a long time to get to this point, but the Mac has a long history of working with Microsoft (s msft). I think a little history is interesting here to show how we’ve arrived at Snow Leopard.

The Mac has had Microsoft Office almost from the beginning (Word and Excel for Mac were first released in 1985). Jaguar added LDAP access to Address Book. Panther introduced Windows Printer Sharing and Active Directory support so that you could log into a Windows Domain from a Macintosh. Tiger introduced Exchange accounts in Mail (though with IMAP access only) along with much improved support for Samba and Windows file sharing. The move to Intel gave us virtualization of Windows apps. Read More about Snow Leopard In Depth: Exchange

Microsoft Online Services: Hosted Exchange and SharePoint

Microsoft (s msft) earlier this week at CeBIT 2009 rolled out its Online Services feature to 19 new countries (it has been available in the U.S. since November last year). Online Services is part of Microsoft’s “Software + Services” strategy, with cloud-based services complementing local software functionality.

So is Microsoft Online Services a viable option for web workers? As the UK is now included in the list of countries it’s available in, and there is a 30-day free trial, I thought I’d take it for a spin and see.

Online Services offers access to a range of products. The Business Productivity Online Suite is basically a hosted version of Exchange Server, SharePoint Server and Live Meeting, available for a subscription fee of £10 ($14) per user, per month in the UK.

The collaborative features of SharePoint and Live Meeting, in particular, are very good and might be handy for web workers with distributed teams, especially if your team members are used to using Microsoft products. However, the upfront costs of the standalone products — running into the thousands — are hugely off-putting for any small business or independent web worker, so a monthly subscription is attractive.

Read More about Microsoft Online Services: Hosted Exchange and SharePoint

I Want MobileMe, Enterprise Edition

I have been using MobileMe, and its previous incarnation DotMac, for just over two years. Everyone has talked about the great features it has as well as some of the near-misses. However, I haven’t seen anyone point out a major flaw in MobileMe — how it does not compare to Enterprise class offerings.

With MobileMe, we can sync our calendars, contacts and email. We have a version of “push” which really only provides instantaneous email, not calendars or contacts. Even Apple has gone on record to state what is “push” and what is not. A colleague here on TAB also wrote about what we should have expected for push when MobileMe was released, as compared to what we received.
Read More about I Want MobileMe, Enterprise Edition

Watercooler Clips: Sales Guy vs. Web Dude

Need a quick break from the grind? WWD sister site NewTeeVee Station brings you Watercooler Clips, a selection from our collection of what’s good, interesting and/or of note in the online video world — whatever the web is talking about at the virtual watercooler.

Today, we offer The Website is Down‘s dramatization of that most epic of clashes — the sales guy versus the web dude. Told from the perspective of the Web Guy’s monitor, this breakdown of office relations will seem all too familiar to those on either side of the screen.