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Clustering with a purpose within TechnoVision 2014

Category : Innovation
TechnoVision structures technologies into seven clusters. Luckily, surprisingly, these clusters - defined in 2007 - have retained their taxonomic and pedagogic value, maybe even gained some. Within the clusters however, the building blocks that make them up have been revised several times and now, with TechnoVision 2014, radically renewed.

The first cluster surrounds all others as it describes the evolving environment – open, service-oriented, in the cloud, social - in which modern systems and applications are designed, developed and operate. For the 2014 edition, we propose a new name, Design for Digital, and the corresponding content in the form of seven design principles. The design principles are not descriptive; they are prescriptive – no enterprise could claim to be digital if it designed its technology side without respecting these principles.
The six ‘operational’ clusters, the ones that help go from design to execution, are grouped in three tandems. One can look at them from a people perspective – how do we live technology? – or from a systems perspective – how do systems work? For the purposes of this CTO blog, we’ll start from the systems; when discussing TechnoVision with business users, one would of course start from the people and social experience.
The first tandem couples Invisible Infostructure and Sector as a Service.
In our personal use of technology, we are happy to ignore infrastructure; the Invisible Infostructure cluster groups the technologies that will allow enterprises to achieve the same objective: six or seven years ago a vision, today getting tantalizingly close.
For more than 20 years, ERP systems have dominated and shaped the applications landscape, giving it the structure that these monoliths proposed and imposed. Their evolution for the last few years is marked by two major trends: their availability as a set of services, which makes it possible to mix and match them with other services; and their “verticalization” – not only do they support general enterprise models, they also fit the specific needs of many industry segments. Hence our desired end-state for the enterprise application landscape: being a Sector as a Service.
Where the first tandem addresses the technologies that are the foundations of the enterprise, the second tandem has an entirely different character. It groups those technologies that are needed to bridge between systems and software foundations on one hand, and people experience on the other hand. It does this through  into two clusters, Thriving on Data and Process-on-the-Fly.
Without these, the enterprise could not leverage state-of-the-art technologies, and therefore could not be digital. When Thriving on Data was born as a cluster, it could have been called ‘Thriving on Big Data’ – however, the notion of Big Data had not been crafted yet. And the cluster deals with more than big data – data management, analytics and the real advent of real time. Data is no longer the purview of IT and their systems, it is now used and generated by customers, networks and social media, and increasingly things. The digital enterprise is as much outside-in as it is inside-out.
The internal workings of a company obey to well defined processes; it used to be a major event, called nothing less than a transformation, when these processes were substantially modified. For the company to entertain a different, permanent, close relationship with its customers, and more generally with the world, such fixed ways of working will not suffice anymore. The digital enterprise needs to react appropriately to customer situations and wishes. The Process-on-the-Fly technologies serve this purpose, and help achieve the long-held ambition to make the digital enterprise truly adaptive.
With the third tandem of clusters, we come to the visible side of technologies, the ones we use every day. And it is by now clear that they can bloom only thanks to the first tandem, the base of all information systems, and thanks to the second tandem, which provides the bridge between the enterprise foundations and the new world of technology as we live it.
You Experience groups the technologies that give us a different way of working, living and interacting. The best of the smartphone apps embody them, with unprecedented levels of function, power and ease of use – not to mention fun. Not only do we enjoy them as users, we turn into producers of information and intelligence.
And technologies make it easy for us not to remain alone! Thanks to them, We Collaborate, and achieve levels of awareness and affiliation, but also of social power – crowd thinking, crowd creating, crowd producing - which are equally unprecedented.
Technology developments come so fast and furious, mushrooming, confusing, that even professional watchers have a hard time keeping pace. To IT professionals they can be distracting, even paralyzing. To business users, they all too often look individually promising but collectively dizzying.  
This is where TechnoVision 2014 helps. The clusters provide order and a form of stability. They are easily understood and positioned. And using the method described in the ‘how two,’ one can assemble, following the clusters’ logic, the building blocks that are relevant to the opportunity, or the problem, at hand.

This contribution by Pierre Hessler  

Part of Capgemini's TechnoVision 2014 update series. See the overview here.

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Ron Tolido

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