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Is “5 years” the new decade for Data Center and Cloud?

Yesterday Google announced a change in their executive leadership. There is much speculation about why it happened, but the immediate consensus is that it was focused on driving change faster within the company. That may be right or it may be wrong. Every company goes through some executive changes over time, but the more interesting area to explore is how this fit into a broader “industry timeline” perspective.

For the first 5 years of the past decade, Google was the belle of the ball. It became a verb. It changed the way we find, use and look at information.  It didn’t invent search, but it built a better mousetrap and changed the world in amazing ways. People predicted that it would replace the Internet!! And then the “social Internet” happened and people started finding more interesting information from Facebook and Twitter instead of Search and RSS. The business of information changed, just as many other industries go through change. Nobody truly saw it coming, but the last 5 years of the decade were much different from the first 5 years. And while Google is still “it” in Internet search, they aren’t really “it” in social Internet. People can speculate all they want about if this is a strategy issue or execution issue, it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that people are legitimately talking about Google as a “maybe they missed it” in this decade. And that’s an interesting discussion because of the pace at which it happened. About 5 years. [NOTE: I'm not predicting, assuming or implying anybody's demise. I'm a huge Google fanboy. It's the pace of change that's interesting to me.]

So what does all of this mean for companies that aren’t Google, or aren’t one of the core pillars of the Internet? What if you make cars, or pharmaceuticals, or widgets? Maybe you’re a brick and mortal retailer. What if your business isn’t in the hyper-competitive information business?The reality is this shift from 10 years to 5 years will probably effect your business too. I feel fairly confident in saying that because these days almost every business and every industry is built on information. The sign on the front door might say “House of Fashion”, but the business is really about information.

Information to drive R&D; information to managing financial markets and capital risk; information to support decision-making; information to collaborate; information to track customers and interact with them across multiple media sources. And most of this information is locked up within your Data Center or it’s moving to more Cloud-centric models of anywhere access. Your business may not look at itself as information-centric company like Google, but in reality you probably are.  And the companies in the most intense information-centric businesses are using their Data Center as a core, strategic asset. They are building it to be a competitive weapon.

This means thinking about your IT organization differently. It means thinking about your Data Center and how it’s evolving to leverage Cloud Computing differently. And it means that what feels comfortable now might become uncomfortable within 5 years.

Are you ready for the pace of change over the next 5 years?

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