The Term IT Ecosystem
Actually the term IT Ecosystem is aimed at senior IT and business executives, but Forrester's usage of this term is somewhat new. IT Ecosystem is also used in reference to the relations between the core technology vendors such as Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and IBM and majority of complementary service and product providers which coexist with these major vendors.
The concept of an IT ecosystem by Forrester, however, is more thorough. The CIO is not just responsible for heading the IT department any more. He is responsible for managing relations within an "ecosystem" which comprises 3 types of participants:
- Producers: the technology vendors, both service and product providers.
- Consumers: the users and end-consumers of technology in the organization.
- Influencers: the main stakeholders in the business who have a growing voice over the role and direction of IT.
Within the IT ecosystem the boundaries among participant are becoming less definite, coming to many attractive complications in the CIO's role of today. Forrester highlights some of these issues:
- The perception of CIOs vs CEOs are rather different concerning the value of IT to the company. CIOs represent an optimistic bunch: 82% see the prospect for their industry as positive and this year they await for a 6 % increase in IT expending. CEOs have a much cloudy view: the latest IBM survey demanded CEOs to denote sources of innovation within their companies; they enumerated almost each function except the IT group. They mentioned only IT when required to signify barriers to innovation.
- Forrester CIOs survey indicates that IT strategy is mainly being dictated by influencers (business leaders) outside of IT, and CIOs hope this trend to increase over the following 2 years.
It is clear that the challenges confronting the CIO as well as other senior IT executives is bringing out. The technologies to expert have never been more different, the prospects of the business have never been more magnificent and it is getting harder to find skilled IT resources.
Microsoft's Single Ecosystem
So at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference there was an interesting coincidence; Andy Lees said that Redmond stated that ultimately Redmond would have just a "single ecosystem" for phones, PCs, tablets and the TV.
Lees said that everyone may have entire PC compute power accessible in any form factor and noticing that the Windows on demo motherboards on ARM demo were even smaller than mobile phones. Lees said that it won't be an ecosystem separately for PCs, and phones and for tablets these all will come together. He also added that Microsoft wishes to offer "consistency and coherence" throughout different devices, especially with Xbox, and this goal isn't only to share UI, but as well core technologies as for example Internet Explorer.
It turns out that almost entirely describes something they heard from a source another day, and they have got some more details which indicate a much more radical programme within Microsoft. Microsoft is intending to harmonize somehow not just Windows for Windows Phone and PCs, but for the Xbox operating system as well, within the next 4 years that is a timeframe which greatly lines up with both the end of Windows 8's supposed 3 year run and the end of the Xbox 360's lifecycle of 10 years. It would mean that the next OS of Microsoft will run on phones, PCs, tablets and the next-generation Xbox when it hits in 2015/2016.
Certainly, it seems to be crazy but it is absolutely within the broad outlines Lees approved at the time of his keynote. Anyway it is not even the wildest part.
The sources also confirm that Microsoft is earnestly considering ditching the brand name "Microsoft" in favour of something recent when all this goes down. The main idea is to rebrand this new super OS along with something which fits better with Redmond's view of the future. It is evident that could change well over the following few years as this plan grips shape in particular Steve Ballmer has been always quite charmed with the Windows brand. But the decision to drop the brand name is evidently at least on the table that is a great step.
There are 2 ways to gaze at this plan, firstly, it is definitely a brave bit of forward considering by Microsoft and it lets company to intensify development efforts throughout many platforms while offering the chance for a massive fresh start within the marketplace if and when it is unveiled thy new branding. But possessing only a one UI paradigm and OS across multiple screens and devices is also more or less a back to the vision Microsoft threw out when it wagered Windows Mobile, in case you think about it. Eventually it wasn't a long time ago that Windows Phone reboot mantra of Redmond was "the phone is not a PC", but today it seems that everything is going into a phone, deploying the Metro UI on an ARM SoC. Microsoft has tried and failed to bring variants of Windows several times in the living room: firstly along with Windows CE on the Sega DreamCast and then together with Windows Media Center, that unfortunately, has been all but forgotten.
Certainly, this time difference is that Microsoft is not only attempting to put everywhere desktop Windows, but more endeavouring to tailor main technologies and interface ideas to special experiences and devices. It is a strategy that moreover seems to succeed.
So we will just wait and observe the way the company settles to put its different platforms together and whether it happens or not we will call it "Windows".