Perspective: Changing IT
It’s November 15th 2029, nice warm day up on the top of the east coast. You are sitting by the beach drinking a nice cup of coffee. You decide to login to work to knock out some Team messages, conversations and see if any new notifications popped up from the project team. Using your watch with a retina scan, you login and authenticate to the MS services cross identify and validate your work identity and start your Team work stream app. You flip through your notifications and find that you need to answer a few notes on a conversation thread. You pull out your Flexbook 2030 and use your pre-authenticated identity from your watch to push the interface to your Flexbook. You start looking through and addressing notifications, editing documents, and asking Clippy for help on searching for some content that you knew you had placed in your corporate OneDrive now known as MSWorkplace. (Clippy is a bot that pays homage to the original MS Office Clippy character). Clippy responds by telling you the data you are looking for is actually in MSHomeplace which is your personal home data content storage collection. You must have accidentally placed the file in the wrong folder. No worries, MS knows you have multiple identities and can safely search across them all for you.
You edit the file, save it to the MSWorkplace data store and the workplace service automatically deletes your homeplace copy in order to comply with corporate policies. You send a message to the Team work stream letting everyone know that you made the changes required and all of the partners get notified by way of their individual preference including voice notification. All of the work performed was completed on your own personally owned device and there is nothing else required of you at the moment so, you finish up that java and take your new pup for a walk on the beach.
Pretty cool huh? The cost of the subscription for the MS services for your work at the company are covered by the company. Your personal MS services are still paid for by you and your operating system for your devices are covered by the service fees and maybe even the devices themselves.
The vision is to reduce friction in time to operations. To create a seamless environment with consistent user experience between your work experience and your personal experience. Further, companies don’t pay an extra fee for your under garments or clothing unless you are in a uniform so the expectation is you bring your own tech (BYOT). BYOT will allow you to containerize content as associated with either your business identity or personal identity. You will always have multiple identities and each will have policies that manage the content and the applications relative to the use case. You may be licensed to use a product in your digital possession only during certain hours or under special conditions.
IT people will effectively go away. In fact, there really aren’t IT people anymore, they are Tech Eff’s (Technical Facilitators), their job is to make sure you are aware of the various tools and applications that are available to you. Some other roles that exist are Portfolio Strategists, Cloud Ecosystem Adjusters, Digital Policy Mediators, Digital Experience Sculptors, RPA Architect, and Digital Change Managers. There are probably other jobs in this area but they are mostly (TWF) Temporary Workforce. The resume won’t matter but your ability to execute will.
The role of the CIO has shifted to manage all of the residual legacy technologies out of the organization. The CIO role actually is now called Legacy Cloud Transition Strategist. She works with the MS or other service provider to move anything that had custom code converted through the robotic code ingestion and conversion process. It still isn’t easy since there were some companies that were cloud laggers. While AI didn’t eat all the jobs, it did consume some of them. Cortna is more advanced and is now integrated with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri as all the large companies decided there was enough revenue across the markets to share the demand. Market differentiation and specialty are segmented out enough to warrant less overlap. Microsoft has the kingdom on SMB and big enterprise productivity and collaboration but Amazon and Google own major compute segments of the market while companies like Apple took a focus on device development and personalized experience across the home and workplace.
There are still overlaps but for the most part, people know why they choose a fork or spoon. In other words, each large company has a clear purpose. Other large companies in the same spaces still exist but these really hold very little relative market share. They are sort of here for the “I don’t use that MS crap experience” and frankly MS doesn’t want those folks anyway.
There are a fleet of people serving the (TWF) of Microsoft and the other companies that provide services. The cloud concept is now sort of old hat so people don’t refer to it like that anymore. They just call it “doing work.” Large organizations have a very small technical strategy shop. Since everything is essentially digital already, the focus areas are specialization relative to delivery of products and services. Many of the technical services are either widget based or framework based in such a way that people just drag and drop code blocks to build customized capabilities. The code behind the blocks is all hidden and written primarily by AI. Developers still exist but they are business focused and being a Developer doesn’t mean what it did back in the early 20’s.
As for Knowledge Management, we sought to have a proper funeral for her but ironically no one showed up. It really was a shame as she was an important part of our lives but as you all know, if it ain’t about generating revenue, we don’t need it! KM itself went away as a practice because findability and content awareness engines became a focus for companies as they were losing their best and brightest! Older generations left the workforce and left technologies that were unsustainable. Instead of trying to figure out the spaghetti mess of nonsensical technologies to support, companies hired new companies like Schwarm (a play on words for Swarm), these folks would come in with a work force of hundreds of experts and spend 1-6 months max on system refactoring. They Swarm problems for large companies like stuff left on mainframes that still existed or legacy lift and shift projects that were just in maintenance mode. They swarmed.. worked with their MS partners and replaced the technologies with the new ding dong diddly doo tech. Companies pay big bucks for Schwarm but they are in and out in a flash and they moved all the junk to the cloud based strategic target platform, no strings attached! The older generation said “What about all the things I know and the companies said, what about it?” Whoooooo.
In regard to other forms of KM including tacit to explicit knowledge transfer, anything that was lost was lost and forgotten and anything that needed to be figured out was augmented by Lucinda which was Watson’s granddaughter. Lucinda gained traction after Ray Kurzweil helped Google in conjunction with IBM to pass the Turing test. Kurzweil was focused on getting the machine to have human level intelligence and achieved this after the Alphabet Soup acquisition of big blue. Old Ray is now the man in the machine.. That said, people bring tough problems to Lucinda and she helps solve them as she has access to over 40% of the world online data. Since everything is pretty much online, she is always in super Beast mOde.
So, back to walking on the beach with the new pup! Today, we don’t need IT people. We need people to do things that machines can’t do yet. We also need people to validate and interact with process because machines have human intelligence but they are still more costly to interact with for normal problems vs POH (Plain old humans) funny it says POH if I added another letter… Yeah, those POH are still used to help machines learn and to assist with writing and making business decisions. Money is still a factor but we now have global currency after markets were rebuilt from the Crash of 2019. There is plenty of poverty, war, famine and yet still Taco Bell. Microsoft itself has less than 5% of its original workforce since most of the work coding is actually done by machines. All of the people that work there are involved in trends, analytics and managing what they call “Change Tides” depending on the conditions, change waves will have a negative market impact and they want to make sure they don’t have “Change Tidals” which crash companies and hamper operations. That said MS is immune to Change Tidal damage as their contracts stipulated, you in or you out and if you out, you out and if you in .. you in (as-is no warranty).
Hope you enjoyed this glimpse of what I believe the MS vision is for our future world. I know there is a lot I didn’t add but .. hey .. I found a way to squeeze in a POH joke!
4 thoughts on “Microsoft Vision KM / Digital and Run”
Very thoughtful summary of the future Howie, but I might add to your comment: “Today, we don’t need IT people. We need people to do things that machines can’t do yet.” After the data has been all digitized and AI is starting to get into full swing, I understand coders will be machines but also what about all the other manufacturing aspects of work that human’s do today that machines could handle? 3-D printing is just a start in this direction, but we also have food and shelter production as well as systems to clean the oceans or monitor air quality and turning on and off power sources as needed to be both economic and healthful to the planet. The real issue will be what will people truly do for subsistence in the future. Already high school grads are facing a challenge in finding future jobs besides the fast food restaurants. As costs go up that too will be automated. So, we are left with physical things that machines could either help with or take over. We could build homes mostly in factories and deliver them piecemeal to the locations, we can automate planting of crops and be harvesting them, we could ship products without human’s in the loop via automated vehicles or drones.
The Opioid and suicide rate will keep going up until we start a huge decline in population that will reduce demand even further by more automation to pick up any human slack. So after all this technology boost, we have more time at the beach to contemplate what? How to find meaning outside of survival or have others join you at the beach? But what if they don’t have enough funds to support being at the beach because they can’t find any employment. You have a decent model but the key to it will be the collapse of the bureaucratic waste which is holding up the job market right now. We don’t need hierarchical layers of management or oversite but those are the jobs that will go away if we do technology correctly but they are also the jobs that the politicals are best at saving as it is for their survival.
We had some satire and some humor.. some sadness and some concepts of realized reality
It’s like I always say “Whenever we go out, the people always shout – my name”
Technical Facilitators and Upselling (Tech F/Ups) is already a common role in many enterprise shops. Since the mass migration to UIs and wizard-driven configurations, many qualified engineers have been replaced by lower wage Tech F/Up resources that basically know how to click buttons and have very little need to understand the underlying technology or how it actually works. The inability to deal with any situations that aren’t explicitly scripted or accounted for leads many business users to build their own IT organizations and they treat the enterprise IT resources as Simple Help and Instructional Trainers (SH*T). As it becomes more common to treat talented IT resources like SHIT, they leave nothing but Tech F/Ups behind to mind the store. IT loses credibility as a strategic partner and the former thought leadership is replaced with a few basic functions; Identity, Information Ops and Technical Support (ID/IO/TS). IDIOTS replace the strategic IT organization and the business wonders why it has nothing but SH*T for IT and no real business value creation.
The assumption that companies don’t need IT is tied up in what IT has become. IT used to be a partner who worked to solved business problems and to find ways to exploit technology for a competitive advantage. However, companies continued to squeeze IT into a “Keep the lights on” role and moved more and more of the valuable strategic work to consultants. It’s still all “IT”, but instead of keeping the Strategic, Tactical and Operational aspect together, we wall them off from one another and wonder why it so difficult to keep them aligned.
All that’s happening with the commoditization of IT is that the line between the caretakers and the value creators is moving to the door of the building. Companies need to stop focusing on the “Technology” and pay more attention to the “Information” part of IT. The value of technology is as a tool and a business enabler, not in the glow of the blinkenlights and the bitzenpushens. You need talented IT people at the table that can speak business, understand knowledge and communication patterns, implement consistent, repeatable and sustainable processes AND recommend the right tools and technologies to support them. Skipping straight to the tools and considering that as the whole IT value-stream is the underlying problem. Packaging and outsourcing the technology isn’t the solution, but it is adding a whole new dimension to the problem.
Though, admittedly, it’s awfully appealing to have a vendor on the hook when something screws up.
Perfect analogy for what is happening with many areas of expertise, in which those with substantial qualifications and experience are being rapidly replaced with those with superficial skills working from a script designed to sell vs. solve problems. Understanding (and valuing) the difference between information and knowledge is core to this shift. RIP to those of us who worked so hard to become knowledgeable.
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