Reasons for and Implications from Innovation Moving to Consumers
Today, the headlines and buzz for information technologies centers on smartphones, social networks, cloud computing, tablets and everything Internet. Very little is now discussed about IT in the enterprise. This declining trend began about 15 years ago, and has been accelerating over time. Letting the air out of the enterprise IT balloon has some profound reasons and implications. It also has some lessons and guidance related to semantic approaches and technologies and their adoption by enterprises.
A Brief Look at Sixty Years of Enterprise IT
One can probably clock the start of enterpriseinformation technology (IT) to the first use of mainframe computers in the early 1950s, or sixty years ago. The earliest mainframes were huge and expensive machines that required their own specially air-conditioned rooms because of the heat they generated. The first use of “information technology” as a term occurred in aHarvard Business Review article from 1958.
Until the late 1960s computers were usually supplied under lease, and were not purchased . Service and all software were generally bundled into the lease amount without separate charge and with source code provided. Then, in 1969,IBM led an industry change by starting to charge separately for (mainframe) software and services, and ceasing to supply source code. At about the same timeintegrated circuits enabled computer sizes to be reduced, with theminicomputers such as fromDEC causing a marked expansion in number of potential customers. Enterprise apps became a huge business, with software licensing and maintenance fees achieving a peak of 70% of IT vendor total revenues by the mid-1990s. However, since that peak, enterprise software as a portion of vendor revenues has been steadily eroding.
One of the earliest enterprise applications was in transaction systems and their underlying database management software. The relational database management system (RDBMS) was initially developed at IBM.Oracle, based on early work for the CIA in the late 1970s and its innovation to write in the C programming language, was able to port the RDBMS to multiple operating systems. These efforts, along with those of other notable vendors (most of which likeInformix no longer exist), led to the RDBMS becoming more or less thede facto standard for data management within the enterprise by the 1980s. Today Oracle is the largest supplier of RDBMS software globally, and other earlier database system designs such asnetwork databases orobject databases fell out of favor.