Another View: Are Cloud and Mobile 'Fools Gold'?
Insurance Experts' Forum, February 1, 2011
We've been talking about all the latest and hottest developments in IT—particularly cloud and mobile—quite a bit lately, focusing on their relevance to the day-to-day business of running insurance companies. I've spoken to a number of insurance CIOs and IT executives about their activities in both of these spaces, and there's a general consensus that while these technologies are promising for many applications, one should proceed with caution, and with a business plan.
That's why Bill Snyder's latest InfoWorld post caught my eye. Calling cloud and mobile “fool's gold,” he opines that while analysts (and vendors, of course) are proclaiming these to be the hot, must-have solutions, we need to take a breath and think about where they fit into the big picture.
Bill picks up on a common theme that anyone who's been in IT for the last two decades has heard over and over again—big enterprise legacy systems are bad, a new revolution is upon us, and the X technology market will explode to $100 quadrillion in the next five years.
Bill looked at the numbers for the next two “revolutions,” and finds the numbers just don't add up. App store sales for mobile apps, for one, while robust, may equate to $1 a pop per download. As for cloud computing, he questions why one analyst firm has all these glorious predictions for the cloud market, yet another says virtualization, which makes private cloud possible, is only making slow progress.
INN recently posted the results of a study by Osterman Research with Electric Cloud, a private development cloud company, which found that existing cloud deployments are underused.
Frankly, it's enough to give one a case of “revolution fatigue.” I don't think a single year has gone by since 1985 that information technology hasn’t been in the throes of a “revolution.”
Yes, cloud and mobile have lots of potential for improving insurance operations. And they will find their place alongside established, tested and proven enterprise systems, as long as there is a compelling business justification for adoption of these technologies.
In the meantime, go ahead—give your mainframe a hug today.
Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.
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