Blogging Idol update: Disruptive IT trends

The future of Canada’s IT sector, Twitter’s ad sales model and the momentum behind the software plus services approach dominated the discussion of ComputerWorld Canada’s Blogging Idol in its fourth week.

Hugh Chatfield took on a controversial topic that’s been circling throughout the Canadian government and the private sector – namely the supposed lack of innovation and productivity among our corporate enterprises. Chatfield wondered whether “disruptive technology” can help matters as many experts hope. Rather than explore complex examples, however, he showed how innovation can be bright to relatively simple processes, such as dealing with invoices:

“I key in all my information and generate an invoice and any supporting documents and print them out. The paper output I fold, place in an envelop, seal and place a stamp on the letter.  I run to the nearest mail box and deposit it.  A truck comes and empties that box and drives the contents to the nearest sorting station.  The mail is sorted by hand and by mechanical means and is shipped by truck to the nearest post box near where it is to be delivered to,” he wrote. “A mailman, picks up the invoice and carries it to the business.  There staff open the envelop, sort it and pass it to accounts payable.  They re-key the information back into their system and process it.  If it can be paid, a request goes out for a paper cheque generation and the whole process then runs in reverse.  Across the country, millions of dollars are spent printing the paper, shipping the paper and re-keying the information.  Could we eliminate all this?  Could we then spent this savings on improving our productivity in other areas?”

Joel Martin, a consultant who has worked at IDC and Microsoft Canada, took note of a forthcoming joint product from virtualization giant VMware and that could mean big things for enterprise IT managers.

“Given the growth of virtualization in corporate data centres and an increase in the usage of  Web-based software to meet employee and business needs these two technologies have a natural fit,” Martin wrote. “From the ability to support growing server needs to an ability to dynamically apportion computing, application and processing resources needed for spikes in business demand (say a large payroll run to the opening of a new store and IT needs for adding people, processes and applications based on projected not real commerce) companies may flock in droves to an offering like this with pretty clear ROI and limited risk.” 

Chris Lau weighed in on the biggest news to hit the social media sector this week: Twitter’s decision to introduce advertisements to its popular microblogging service.

“Twitter brought people “there” when a plane crashed in the Hudson River. It brought news immediately to the people. It made its name for itself several times over with events like that,” he wrote. “Twitter’s business model is based on reporting information and ideas in real-time and packaging it to users within 140 characters. So long as users don’t tune out to advertised “tweets,” Twitter may have a chance to generate substantial growth in revenue.”

ComputerWorld Canada’s Blogging Idol competition continues through May 7.

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