notes june 9 2008

June 9, 2008 § Leave a comment

Front page of the times has two symptom articles. The first is on gated communities in india. this is the potential coming model for the world. Beware.

 

the second is impact of gas prices on less income. The poor. Especially in the Midwest.

and, imagine how this IT future fits the above.

In its recent article IT 2.0: How Changing Technology is Having Big Impacts on Business, the ReadWriteWeb stated:

“Today, there still may be plenty of businesses employing ‘classic geeks’ in their I.T. Department, but that’s about to change. Don’t misunderstand – the world will always need a good engineer, but the I.T. leaders of tomorrow – the ones guiding the business in the use of their computer resources, the ones working with the CEOs to execute the vision and direction via information technology – they will no longer be what we think of as the classic ‘computer geek.’ You know the type – the stereotypical introvert, who’s more comfortable behind the glow of computer screen than interacting with the rest of the human race. The one who likes to speak in acronyms that only he or she understands. The ones who know how to do everything from a command prompt. These folks will be a dying breed…at least around the office.

Instead, tomorrow’s computer ‘geek’ will be a true member of the business team as opposed to the mysterious man behind the curtain who you only notice when something goes wrong. So what does the ‘new geek’ need to know to run tomorrow’s I.T. Department? An entirely new skill set, as it turns out.”

In terms of the factors involved in these changes, ReadWriteWeb cited these four:

  • Enteprise 2.0 – Collaboration among employees and teams using tools such as SharePoint, Wikis, blogs, and RSS
  • Cloud services – A lot of servers will move from the corporate data center to the cloud, hosted by Microsoft, Google, and Amazon
  • The mobile workforce – Mobile office work will spread across the organization, and will no longer be confined just to business travelers
  • Self-provisioning user base – The next generation of users will be digital savvy and will often select their own hardware and software

Two kinds of IT professionals

While the ReadWriteWeb has accurately described the environment that is revolutionizing the traditional IT department, I have a different conclusion about what it will mean for IT professionals. I think the ultimate factor driving change in the profession will be the long-developing trend toward companies hiring only the professionals who serve the core competencies of their business, and outsourcing everything else to contractors.

This is already be seen in the move toward utility computing and managed services, where a company will contract out parts of its IT department to a provider such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, or Verizon Business. These providers can offer 24/7 service, better specialization and problem solving, and cost containment.

The move to cloud computing will further accelerate the trend. For example, instead of hiring Exchange administrators to manage internal Microsoft Exchange servers, many companies will outsource the Exchange infrastructure to Microsoft in a hosted environment. This type of move also migrates the jobs from the individual company to the provider of the hosted data center.

As such, I believe that over the next decade the IT field will develop into two distinct tracks:

  1. Business analysts – IT professionals who work directly for individual companies — rather than part of a provider or consultancy — will have to become much more business savvy. These will essentially be business professionals who understand technology and how to strategically apply it to business processes. They will need to be well-rounded technologically and have excellent communications skills.
  2. Technology experts – This is where many of the traditional geeks will end up, although many of them will need more business skills than they currently have today, especially if they have to interface with clients. They will rarely work directly for one company, but will rather work with various companies to help solve their IT problems, implement new technologies, and manage their IT infrastructures. For example, this will take the form of well-rounded teams of project-for-hire developers and big data centers managed by large teams of network and server specialists.

and Asia Times Online  Asian news and current affairs

Examining Q1 non-financial credit growth in somewhat more detail, total household debt growth slowed sharply to 3.5% from Q4’s 6.1%, as household mortgage borrowings growth was cut almost in half from Q4’s 5.8% to 3.0%. Yet this was largely offset by a notable 9.2% annualized expansion in total business debt growth (down from Q4’s 10.8%), along with a 9.5% rate of federal debt expansion (up from Q4’s 5.1%). At the same time, state and local debt expanded 6.4% annualized during Q1 (down from Q4’s 7.7%) – this despite turmoil throughout the muni debt markets.
Not surprisingly, financial sector debt growth (FDG) slowed sharply. After expanding 15.8% annualized during 2007’s Q3 and 8.8% in Q4, FDG slowed to a 5.1% pace during the first quarter. This is largely explained by contractions in both asset-backed securities (ABS) and open market paper (chiefly commercial paper).

Drag on consumption
As usual, the household (and non-profit) balance sheet provides important clues regarding the underlying performance of the US bubble economy. During Q1, household assets declined $1.590 trillion (8.8% annualized) to $70.466 trillion, led by a $1.334 trillion (11.8% annualized) fall in financial assets values and a $305 billion (5.5% annualized) drop in real estate. And with liabilities increasing $106 billion (3% annualized), household net worth contracted a meaningful $1.696 trillion (11.8% annualized). Over the past year, household assets have increased only $309 billion (0.4%). And with liabilities growing $871 billion (6.8%), household net worth dropped $563 billion from a year earlier. This is in sharp contrast to the almost $12.0 trillion surge in household net worth during the preceding three years.

and

watch out for a deal between use and Iran to split Iraq. It may be hidden by language that looks like it maintains Iraq sovereignty, but in effect..

This would give the US the footprint it wants, but set up the conditions for further US-Iran conflict over control of the region. Ordinary lives would live in the shadow of regional power struggles.

WE also have

Bill Moyers addresses the National Conference for Media Reform in Minneapolis, June 7, 2008:
via Freepress.net

The press has two aspects. Fact, and context. Blogs like this one are aimed at creating context. In particular, looking at news from the perspective and possibilities for and obstacles to  GardenWorld.

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