What does Bezos Law mean for CIOs?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos speaks at a news conference during the launch of Amazon's new tablets in New YorkWhen Greg O’Connor the CEO of AppZero proposed in this post a cloud version of Moore’s Law called Bezos’s Law for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, it got me thinking about the implications for CIOs and IT departments. He defined it as the observation that, over the history of the cloud, a unit of computing power price is reduced by 50 percent approximately every three years.

If Bezos’ Law reflects reality, which the numbers support, then the only conclusion is that most companies should get rid of their datacenters and move to the public cloud to save money. Clearly, public cloud, as opposed to building or maintaining a datacenter, is a much better economic delivery approach for most companies. But the cloud is much more than saving money. The primary value of the cloud is agility or time-to-market, or more accurately, time-to-value.

What is driving Bezos Law? Clearly there are efficiencies in the cloud computing model over the owned and on-prem model but the main driver is the fact that Amazon, Microsoft and Google are in a race to the bottom. The strategic importance of developing a public cloud platform coupled with the lead Amazon Web Services has built up, force Google and Microsoft into scrambling to match each other’s price cuts in order  to remain competitive. They, and others who are trying to become players in the public cloud space really don’t have any choice due to the paradigm shift that cloud computing represents.

So, what does this mean for CIOs? Many CIO’s I know – especially ones in large enterprises – are in cloud denial. They rationalize that the cloud is not secure or doesn’t provide advantages over their own”private clouds”. This is absurd. With few exceptions in really large companies private clouds are not viable and they do not have nearly the security knowledge or staffing relative to the big public cloud vendors. These CIOs align themselves with the traditional IT vendors who are desperately trying to cling to their old ways while they reinvent their businesses to provide cloud services. In many cases, they are just cloud-washing their product lines while trying to sell CIOs on continuing to buy on-prem hardware and software.

The reality is the owned and operated vertical technology stack model cannot meet the needs of today’s mobile world. The center of gravity has shifted from the desktop to the pocket. Mobile is the direction in which business and society are going, and companies who don’t keep pace will be left behind. Either you aggressively embrace the cloud to leverage it’s inherit advantages for mobile computing or your successor will. It’s as simple as that for today’s CIOs.

And how can an enterprise datacenter possibly keep up with the hyper-competitive innovation from Amazon, Google and Microsoft? CIO’s who get it know how this is going to play out. They’re way ahead in asking: “Why should we continue to saddle our company with a huge cost anchor called a datacenter or a private cloud?” Forward looking CIOs are viewing this as an opportunity to re-allocate budget and headcont towards creating business value instead of “raking and stacking” and “patching and plumbing” on-prem hardware and software.

Bezos Law is today’s version of Moore’s Law and CIOs who do not recognize this will be rapidly replaced.





Use Siri to capture your “stuff” while driving

SiriI use Siri on my iPhone to capture any idea that comes to me when I am driving. It is fantastic because I don’t have to unlock my phone, launch an app, or type anything that would distract me from driving. All I have to do is hold down the home button on my iPhone and wait for the familiar beep that is Siri. Then I say “text inbox” and whatever I want added to my trusted system. It is that easy!

Here is what you need to do. Set up a contact called Inbox in the Last Name field of your contacts with your Evernote email address. Once you have this you are ready to go.

The reason you use text instead of email is Siri asks for the subject when you email but not when you text. Now, when you go to your default Evernote folder (Unprocessed for me) you will have a “Mailed In Note” with your “stuff” in the body of the note.

This is a simple way to avoid distracted driving while capturing your “stuff” in the car. For most recent cars that have bluetooth integration you can use the cars built in microphone and speakers to truly make it an integrated experience.

Try it, you will be amazed how well it works.

The Shift from the Desktop to the Pocket

The IT center of gravity has shifted from the desktop to the pocket.  This shift has been made possible by coupling cloud services and the plethora of powerful mobile devices with their app store and accessory ecosystems.

The rationale behind this transition is pretty obvious to just about everyone – we live in a mobile world. We all carry powerful easy-to-use mobile devices, and we all prefer the cloud-based easy-to-consume application experiences to go with them. The desktops and laptops are getting less use and the tablets and smartphones have quickly become our primary go-to devices.

Consumers have made their preferences clear – they want mobile apps on their smartphones and tablets. Now it’s up to enterprise IT organizations to figure out what to do about it. And it’s not easy. For example, IT has to think about devices, security and networks differently. We have to think about how applications are constructed, consumed and supported differently.

There are still plenty of desktops and laptops hanging around that aren’t going away anytime soon and we will have to continue to support them for a long time. This shift from the desktop to the pocket isn’t a choice. It is happening with or without IT and our success or failure is determined by how we organize, how we build and integrate these capabilities, and how we integrate mobile into the services we offer.

In order to succeed in the mobile first world, you’ll need to organize for success. This means you can’t just support mobile like you did laptops and expect to have success.  When we started, we didn’t have the skills, the team, or the organizational structure to make progress. We hired dedicated mobility professionals and established a dedicated Mobility department that was charged with becoming trusted advisors to our clients. They have to keep up with the rapidly changing world of smartphones, tablets and the wireless carriers they run on.

Similarly, we have had to approach mobile application development different than traditional enterprise application development. It requires a completely different mindset for success. You can’t  simply miniaturize a desktop application. You need to think about finger-friendly applications that run natively on the mobile device and a great user experience is absolutely paramount. People’s patience with mobile apps is incredibly short; if they hit any sort of bump they will move on to something else.

And of course, we have to always balance the user experience with risk, so we strive for the appropriate balance between control and easy data access. This caused a fundamental change in the way we view security. Instead of a “inside-out” approach where we had all assets inside the corporate firewall protected by a “defense in depth” strategy, we now have an outside-in approach where all applications live on the internet and come “outside-in.” This is a fundamental flip of the security model.

We want to think mobile first and foremost going forward, which means you tend to think in terms of sustainable and scalable platforms and processes vs. specific point technologies and isolated use cases. We also think in terms of the entire “stack” of app use cases, app user experience, security and risk, access, and supporting services.

My use of Evernote for my GTD implementation had done more to evolve my understanding of the “mobile first” world we are rapidly moving towards than all the industry advisory groups, trade magazines and conferences combined.