Killing the business of complexity

Killing the business of complexity

“The cardinal sin of the computing industry is the creation of complexity,” is quote attributed to Oracle founder Larry Ellison and often repeated at the company’s Open World forum which I’m attending at the moment in San Francisco.

For the computer industry that complexity has been a very profitable business with everything from the local consumer technology shop through to the big tech vendors and integrators.

One of the biggest beneficiaries of that complexity were the salespeople, big complex enterprise deals meant big commissions.

With the shift to cloud services and apps, those fat margins and commissions have evaporated, leaving the lucrative old models of business stranded. IBM are probably the greatest victim of this while Microsoft are, once again, showing the company’s ability to evolve in the face of a fundamental market change. With thinner margins in IT it’s not possible to pay big lump sums for winning contracts.

The simplification of the computer industry is changing the fortunes of many IT businesses, but that change isn’t limited to the tech sector or their salespeople as those fundamental changes are rippling into other sectors.

A constant claim by Internet of Things evangelists is that the IoT will squeeze inefficiencies out of businesses and this is exactly what we’re seeing with cloud and mobile based services like Uber and AirBnB.

If you’re in a business that profits from market inefficiencies then it might be time to figure out how to survive in a low margin environment. The challenge facing companies like Oracle is one whole industries are now having to face.

Paul travelled to San Francisco and attended Oracle Open World as a guest of the company

Paul Wallbank is the publisher of Networked Globe, his personal blog Decoding The New Economy charts how our society is changing in the connected century.

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