For example, it may make sense to social-enable certain transactional business applications so that knowledge workers can collaborate in areas such as exception handling within the context of the application instead of via such workarounds as in-person meetings, phone calls, or email. It may make sense to move development and test environments to a cloud-based platform or to run some or all of an application in a public or private cloud based on the characteristics of the workload. It may make sense to leverage applications as part of an integrated hardware and software stack as offered by specialized appliances, for plug-and-play simplicity. And in the data center, it may make sense to use smart computing to make intelligent decisions about how and where to execute workloads based on parameters such as energy usage patterns.
In short, we now have far more choice and flexibility in how we access our applications and how we manage and execute our workloads. Rather than a fixed, one-to-one relationship between a specific client device and a specific server in the data center, we can now truly mix and match our next-generation building blocks at all levels within the IT stack. This helps to optimize the experience and business value for end users and to optimize the cost, security and management requirements for IT.
The new challenge for IT and for enterprise application owners will not be around technology and standards -- setting limits and narrowing choice -- but around helping manage this new hybrid infrastructure and in providing guidance to the business on the optimal deployment models for application productivity. IT is truly moving from a custodian role of setting standards and constraints to a far more strategic, trusted advisory role helping to guide key technology, policy, and business-related considerations.
Nicholas D. Evans leads the Strategic Innovation Program for Unisys and was one of Computerworld's Premier 100 IT Leaders for 2009. He can be reached at email@example.com. Read more about mobile and wireless in Computerworld's Mobile and Wireless Topic Center.