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The Ins and Outs of IT

By Gary Anthes
April 7, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - John Parkinson is senior vice president and chief technologist for the Americas region of Cap Gemini Ernst & Young U.S. LLC in Chicago. He recently told Computerworld's Gary H. Anthes why he thinks IT outsourcing and agent-based systems will become ubiquitous, why collaboration software will not, and why data warehouses and operating systems might disappear altogether.
What's the future of outsourcing? Ten years out, there will be less than 100 companies in the world that run their own IT. Everyone else will move more and more of their IT into what looks like a utility model, some kind of buy-it-by-the-drink consumption model. There are some things that have to happen for this to catch on big-time. Security and confidentiality of data have to be addressed in a fundamental fashion. But that's happening.
How will this utility model work? The drive will be to outsourced shared instances -- where there is one copy of the software but 20 companies on it. The vendors have figured out that one-instance company licensing is over because companies won't pay that kind of money anymore. So you take what SAP does and break it into a series of services, then each company simply pays for the services it consumes. All the big guys are moving their product architectures in that direction, and it will take one to three years to complete that transition.

John Parkinson of Cap Gemini Ernst & Young U.S. LLC
John Parkinson of Cap Gemini Ernst & Young U.S. LLC
What's coming in information security? Vendors, after a decade of pretending it wasn't a problem, have finally figured out it's not enough to put patches out; you've got to make them really easy to apply. We'll see more [automated] enforcement and simpler administration. And there will be role-based security; when I show up and announce myself, what I get to do is dependent on the role I'm currently playing. This becomes essential, because as the complexity of technology increases, and as the range of tasks that knowledge workers do increases, it's going to be too hard for you to remember who you are supposed to be for the next 10 minutes. I see a five-year horizon to get all the pieces in place.
What are the pieces? These things will be in the operating system, and there will be security APIs available to any application. There will be standards, like SAML [Security Assertion Markup Language], that applications must conform to or they won't install into your data center.
What will the arrival of ultradense, very cheap data storage mean? We are within three to five years of having


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