For a little while now I’ve been considering how the Gartner Hype Cycle relates to the post-Web world, and how it might be useful for strategic planning for 21st century information systems.
The Web is shifting the world toward ‘people-centric’ information technology, or in other words, technology which more naturally supports how people behave – and therefore how organisations behave. New terms have been coined in an attempt to create helpful distinctions between pre and post-Web IT.
In my view, the Hype Cycle has reflected neatly the rapidly evolving nature of the IT profession pre-Web. But in the post-Web world, does it provide the full picture for everyday business and users? Should business be thinking about 27 technologies that will impact the world, or 5 computer clouds, or both in equal measure?
To my mind, the answer starts with the emerging role of the post-Web IT department.
That is, should businesses and governments primarily be in the business of creating services, or should they be in the business of configuring and consuming them?
It’s an important point as when you boil it down, most IT departments of most organisations have been developing on IT products to turn them into useful information services since the beginning of IT. Hence the relevance of the Hype Cycle.
But as the post-Web IT profession and IT department evolves its maturity, where might we look to understand adoption trends to help us place our strategic bets?
Here, Tim Berners-Lee’s ‘2 Magics of Web Science’ provides in my opinion a good foundational model.
What’s more, something quite interesting happens when you put the two pictures of the Hype Cycle and the 2 Magics together – a quite rich technical and societal picture emerges, and it is perhaps in this socio-technical combination that some of the post-Web information systems strategic planning golden nuggets lie for organisations.
The really interesting and challenging piece of course is that the ‘magic’ bit in the 2 Magics – creativity and collaboration – is down to people, and they tend to be unpredictable! (There’ll be a guest post relevant to this 2nd magic soon…)