Anda di halaman 1dari 19

An Oracle White Paper

September 2010

IT 2020: Technology Optimism:


An Oracle Scenario

IT2020: Technology OptimismAn Oracle Scenario

Disclaimer
All ideas, concepts, and visions described in this paper are based on the personal opinions of Oracle
employees. They do not necessarily reflect any product, service, future outlook, forward-looking statement,
roadmap, strategy, market view, or any other view or activity of Oracle Corporation or any of its subsidiaries.

IT 2020: Technology OptimismAn Oracle Scenario

Introduction ......................................................................................... 2
Convergence of Business and Consumer IT ...................................... 3
Convergence of the Real and Online Worlds...................................... 6
Convergence of ICT with Other Areas: Healthy and Energetic........... 9
Hang On, Wait a Minute.................................................................... 10
The Biggest Journey Starts with the First Step ................................. 12
Preparation, Not Prediction ............................................................... 13
Acknowledgements ........................................................................... 15

IT 2020: Technology OptimismAn Oracle Scenario

Introduction
Technology has always been a major inspiration for future visions. Think of the novels of H.G.
Wells and Jules Verne in the 19th century and the work of Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov in
the 20th century. Sometimes the visions of our technological future have been dark, such as in the
Terminator and the Matrix movies. Other times, our imagined future looks brightparticularly
in the incredibly detailed world of Star Trek.
Idealized or dystopian though, where future visions most commonly have gone wrong is in
timing. We havent seen the day the earth stood still yet; the space odyssey of 2001 is still to
come, and most likely the hoverboard from Back to the Future will be delayed until well after 2015.
What We Did Last Summer

Nevertheless, in this paper we present IT 2020, an Oracle scenario. In July 2010, we asked
employees of Oracle to submit a short essay in which they describe their vision of IT in the year
2020. Ten years into the future is enough time to let the imagination fly, yet it is close enough to
still be realistic. There were no instructions; the only guidance was that the essays should address
the impact of IT on our personal lives, on society at large, or on business. Contributions came
from all over the worldfrom Switzerland to New Zealand, from the United States to the
Philippines.
The shortest way of describing a scenario is as a possible future state. The essays
overwhelmingly describe a scenario of technology optimism, where IT has solved many of the
difficult issues we struggle with today and broadens everyones horizon. But this optimism
recognizes that technology is not an end in itself. It must be a tool used to respond to critical
human issues and lead humanity to a safe, happy, and meaningful future.
Oracle Scenario: Technology Optimism and Convergence

There is no doubt that 2020 will be different from today, both in small ways and large. And we
can make a few pretty safe predictions about what some of those differences may be. For
instance, cloud computing and software as a service are likely to be the dominant style of service
and software delivery. We can expect to still have information overload, and mobile computing
will become much more pervasive.
The seeds of tomorrows innovation are often found in the past; for instance, the foundation of
virtualization technologies was established in the 1960s. Looking at today as a basis for
extrapolating to IT 2020, our essayists see a world where technologies converge.

Business IT could become indistinguishable from consumer IT, through devices,


gaming, and new workforce requirements

IT 2020: Technology OptimismAn Oracle Scenario

The real world could employ augmented reality sensor technology to converge with the
online world

IT has already converged with communications technology (ICT), and may drive
innovation in healthcare/biosciences, and energy as well.

Technology is increasing its footprint in life, society, and business. However, ultimately people
are the reason technology moves forward. Generation Y, the first generation that grew up with
the internet, will be a massive driving force for change in the workplace and in society.

Convergence of Business and Consumer IT


Historically, innovation in IT has come largely from the public sector and academia. For
example, GPS systems, the internet, and even the first commercial database implementations
were all developed in the public sector. Today, however, considerable innovation comes from
consumer IT. For instance, many already have more bandwidth at home compared to the office,
and we all bring our PDAs and tablets to the office and expect the same ease of use and
connectivity. Increasingly, employees expect the same ease of use and connectivity.
Business IT is becoming more personal through smarter software, and consumer IT is becoming
vastly more scalable through increased digitization of our lives.
Business Applications

Todays business applications are process-centric: users learn to run a particular process. As work
becomes more knowledge-intensive, though, tomorrows business applications may become
people-centrichelping people make the right decisions or perform a certain transaction.
By 2020, Generation Ythe first generation to grow up with the internetwill make up as
much as 50 percent of the workforce. New business applications will need to be DfY, designed
for Generation Y. Business applications will have to be fully collaborative and based on sharing
information rather than on the traditional hierarchical reporting structure. Enterprise 2.0
structures will simply be the normal way of workingnot only within the enterprise, but
throughout the complete value chain. Extensive outsourcing today has already shifted the focus
from hierarchy to value chain, and this may further evolve to include suppliers, customers,
partners, and other stakeholders working together in virtual communities.
Due to increased standardization and consolidation, IT ecosystems are getting bigger.
Megavendors keep adding components to their portfolio, and small independent software
vendors contribute as well. These contributions, rather than being complete applications, could
consist of drag-and-drop components, mini-applications, or templates made available to business
application users through app stores, similar to consumer IT. Vendors could give access to these
app stores to their customers, and customer organizations could provide access to their users, to
simply pick what they need.

IT 2020: Technology OptimismAn Oracle Scenario

Once this app store infrastructure is in place, business applications can borrow from another
trend in consumer IT: the long tail. This concept describes the many kinds of music, films,
books, and so on that are out of date or not very popular with mainstream consumers, but that
have a dependable group of fringe consumers, providing a profitable business via the internet.
The same idea can be applied in business. Currently IT departments only have time and
resources for applications that support the most important value drivers, ignoring all the other
areas that could contribute to an organizations success. Ideally, business applications would
evolve into a set of components that could lead to truly self-built applications. Self-built
application frameworks would be feature-rich, lightweight, and they could be built for a single
purpose or event. However, these self-built applications would need to be self-documenting as
well, to enable auditing and comply with regulations.
These predictions foresee business applications borrowing from the consumer world, and in
addition the reverse could also take place. In 2020, households may come equipped with a home
resource planning (HRP) system. All physical home equipment could be connected to it, such as
security, lighting, heating/air conditioning, and kitchen equipment. The HRP system might offer
inventory management and refrigerator replenishment through online ordering. It may also
include productivity capabilities such as to-do lists and calendar management, and might provide
a personal health model to link workout schedules with what the user been eating and drinking.
The HRP systems finance module would handle all banking business. If certain expense
categories got out of control, the system would apply business intelligence algorithms to calculate
what needed to be done, for instance, in energy management, to get back on track.
The washing machine finished its washing cycle at the same time the bagels popped from the
toaster. Both sent data to the house hub. The toaster, being a newer model, registered the
actual energy consumption and the fact that the bagel setting was used.
Devices

Today we talk about a work/life balance, but in 10 years, the focus might shift to a work/life
blend. Today we already use VPNs to work at home, and crucial workflows and other businesscritical activities could become integrated, via mobile devices, into at-home life as well. Just as
global enterprises have a 24-hour working day, we may move toward a set of devices that enable
us to work in chunks of time, wherever and whenever needed. Devices make sure we are always
on and have all functionality at our immediate disposal. Many devices are already diskless, and
currently use flash memory. Other techniques, such as phase change memory, will improve
speed, scalability, and the lifetime of memory chips.
The trend toward multifunctional mobile devices is, of course, already all around us. Boarding
passes and movie tickets are already routinely displayed on PDAs. Services, such as public
parking, already experiment with mobile phone paymentsyour portable device also could also
become your digital wallet. The list of uses for devices far surpasses that of Batmans belt.

IT 2020: Technology OptimismAn Oracle Scenario

However, today most uses are personal in nature. Our essayists expect devices to become truly
collaborative.
She downloaded the cafeteria menu into her device and it recommended a choice based on
body-mass index, genetic profile, and the other food she had already eaten this week.
Today, if you lose your PDA, it is nothing short of a disaster. Is your address book backed up?
And what about all your apps, music, and other multimedia content? In the years to come
content could be stored not on desktops, tablets, PDAs, and so forth, but in the cloud, serviced
by a public datacenter. Computing could become not device-centric or Web-centric, but peoplecentric. Your settings, preferences, software, and data could follow you no matter which
computer or device you use, independent of screen size and back-end platform. You wouldnt
even have to own all the devices anymore; device as a service may emerge. A general-purpose
device, combined with the HRP system, could become a life controller.
User Interfaces

The work/life blend could be further shaped by user interfaces. What is common in the army
and in aerospace already could trickle down to civilian business. Online simulated game-style
training could allow employees to learn new jobs through low-risk direct practice. But our
prognosticators saw this as only the beginning. Gamespart of consumer ITcould be at the
forefront of business innovation, particularly in the design of user interfaces. The desktop of the
future might look like a traditional deskbut be entirely projected. There could be a projected
inbox and outbox on our desk, and projected documents that we move and work with and put
into projected stacks, all based on hand movements, as pioneered in games technology today.
Active polymers can turn any surface into a display, so our desk would simply be wherever we
choose to sit down.
She made a gesture to connect her mobile device to the hotel entertainment system,
in order to get more work space.
We could incorporate 3-D glasses, which by 2020 may well have become a very stylish designer
accessory. In fact, the inside of the glasses could even project images directly onto the pupil. The
technology for this already exists, but it hasnt been commercialized yet.
Datacenters and the Cloud

Cloud computing can dramatically lower the upfront investments required to run an IT
operation. Like many other business innovations, it will trickle down from large corporations to
smaller businesses and personal life. For instance, in developing countries, a farmer with an
inexpensive computer could benefit from advanced business intelligence applications, so he
would know what crop to bring to the market and the best price to ask.
Web-based clouds today are application-centric. We store pictures in a different place than where
we store our backups, or contact information on our mobile phones. Once clouds become

IT 2020: Technology OptimismAn Oracle Scenario

people-centric, the datacenters hosting those clouds could become trusted brands themselves.
Datacenter superbrands could merge emotional and technical dependence on data storage
services. Brands could compete on performance, available space, quality of the analytics to
optimize use of the data, and the availability of user communities.
Datacenters could themselves become more virtual. We could see hard disks become obsolete,
replaced with direct accessible memory. Todays servers already supplement traditional storage
with flash memory; in the years to come, memory could be the main storage medium. By creating
a conglomerate of interconnected boxes, each contributing distributed RAM and self-managing
clusters, we could see a virtual datacenterone big machine. Cloud computing could lead to
what might be called sky computing: enabling interactions between clouds. However, not all
business and private data will move to the cloud; there will always be information over which
youd like to have full control.

Convergence of the Real and Online Worlds


In the early days of e-commerce, we saw the first convergence between the real world and the
online world. The most successful business models were clicks-and-bricksa strong online
presence combined with a solid physical delivery. Since then, the online world has grown so
ubiquitous that it is part of our personal identity. Today, on YouTube we can watch couples
getting married and updating their Facebook status while standing at the altar.
The internet is in a constant state of development. In 10 years, we might see a whole new
internet, redesigned for higher speed and truly based on bidirectional real-time communication
and collaboration instead of merely information exchange. Perhaps the biggest impact on society
would be in education. Through cheap access, illiteracy could be wiped out, and children and
adults could learn from teachers around the world, at the pace thats best for their individual
needs. They could access classes from home or a common area. To paraphrase a popular saying:
It takes a global village to raise a child.
Sensor Networks

Despite heavy process automation and enormous achievements in operational excellence, the
bulk of end user effort is still in low-value data entry. Countless millions of keystrokes are needed
to keep systems up-to-date. By 2020 we could see smart, self-powered sensors with locationbased services and connectivity that could ensure that most business events are captured
effortlessly and automatically. Business processes such as order-to-cash and procure-to-pay could
become fully automated. No cash registers in supermarkets, fully automatic replenishment, and
just-in-time delivery at home.
With sensor technology breakthroughs, the number of sensors active at any moment could easily
reach the billions. Sensors do not have to have a fixed location; they could be an integral part of
your clothing, your valuables (so you will never lose your PDA again), your car, all the goods you

IT 2020: Technology OptimismAn Oracle Scenario

consume, and more. There could be sensors even in our bodies, connected to a medical hub,
alerting doctors in case of emergency.
I am spotting Mr. John, in an ambulance. He waves his hand at me. The remote health
monitoring system had alerted the hospital last night about a probable cardiac arrest for
Mr. John in the next 45 hours. Forewarned, the doctors were well in time.
The concept of objects communicating with each other is often referred to as the internet of
things, and it may be a reality in 2020.
Technology can also be a true force for democracy. Today it is already possible to follow an
airplanes flight tracking system on the internet; with a sensor network, and cameras in all our
devices, it becomesfor the first time in historyeasy for citizens to directly follow what
authorities are doing.
Business Intelligence

The more we live in the online world, the more our virtual actions can be measured. And in the
real world, sensorstracking where we are, enabling targeted advertising, for exampleadd to
the exponential growth of available data. Business intelligence tools must be able to deal with
these massive volumes of data; however, analytics also may become more accurate because it is
easier to automate online measurement and collect sensor data. But the interaction between BI
and people must be richer than just tracking. The tools of 2020 must also be able to seamlessly
harness the wisdom of crowdsa new concept todaycollecting and analyzing the opinions
of many in regards to a specific forecast or event.
Augmented Reality

Augmented reality as it is used today includes applications with which we plot some simple
information on top of what the camera on our device can capture, such as a map that includes
the location and price of houses for sale in the area, or directions to the nearest Starbucks.
We expect entirely new ways of augmenting reality, based on the same principles as todays
applications, to emerge. Imagine, for instance, real-time language translation. In a truly global
working environment, the workplace could become more multilingual. This will require much
more than a simple translation of words and grammar in multiple languages.
Some claim, following Moores Law, that in the imagined world of 2020, a US$1,000 PC could
rival the computational complexity of most mammals, and artificial intelligence might finally
become a reality. Once we can no longer distinguish between a computer doing translations and
a live person speaking our native tongue, technology will have passed the Turing test.

IT 2020: Technology OptimismAn Oracle Scenario

7:00 p.m.: Went out to have coffee with a new friend I met at the virtual section of the
Wacken Open Air Metal Festival. I got a ticket at the virtual stand and used my
Hyper3D Gear to hook myself in. My Jukebox account, a social network that profiles
members based on their musical preferences, indicated that a guy standing at the virtual
back row was a close matchwe live in the same neighborhood.
Identity Management

Not long ago, a persons identity was defined by physical traits, character, and place in society
(family background, circle of friends, gender, job, and so forth). Today, a persons status in
society is based on a broader set of attributes, such as computer literacy. A recent job
advertisement sought a marketing executive that had at least 50 followers on Twitter.
Who we are in online words becomes part of our identity as well. The names we choose, and the
avatars we build, represent sides of our consumer behavior too. Organizations must be able to
deal with the (multiple) identities of users that access their systems. Some organizations already
have a single sign-on for all of their business systems, but single sign-on is likely to become
equally important outside the firewall. In order for the real or online environment to
appropriately respond to user, unified identity management is needed. As a result, a users
identity should no longer be embedded in an application or enforced at the firewall. Going
forward, each individual must have and be in control of his or her own personal master record,
and decide who can access it. In this way, individuals will be able to quickly and seamlessly
positively identify themselves to any person or organization. The access key most likely will be
biometric in nature, identifying people based on their fingerprints, iris scan, voice, or other
personal identifiers. Today, the government of India has already started a project called UID
(Unique Identification) to create a database of more than 1.2 billion people.
The Virtual Company

Imagine a company that sells content online, runs all its processes and systems in the cloud,
works only with contractors, interacts with customers via the internet, and doesnt even have a
clear ownership. Such a company has no physical presence at all: it is truly a virtual corporation.
Weve seen early examples of that in virtual worlds such as Second Life, where buying and selling
property became a true economy, including an exchange rate between Linden dollars (the
currency in Second Life) and real-world currenciesan activity that even triggered tax authorities
to look into import and export taxes, given the size of this virtual economy.
Although there are many companies that do all their business via the internet, so far none has a
legal virtual status; these companies still need a real-world address for tax and other purposes.
Legislation and regulation will have to change in order to recognize a company with a truly
virtual identity.
One particular area that needs attention in the virtual world is digital copyrights. It is often said
that information wants to be free, and research shows many if not most members of Generation

IT 2020: Technology OptimismAn Oracle Scenario

Y do not feel that downloading music and movies is a criminal activity. Currently two business
models have proven to be successful: free access for consumers, with the service paid for by
advertisers, and mobile applications. In the years to come, new business models will need to
emerge that make it possible for virtual companies selling virtual products and services to thrive.

Convergence of ICT with Other Areas: Healthy and Energetic


Information technology and communication technology have converged into what is often called
ICT. In the years to come, we expect to see ICT converge with two other areas as well:
healthcare technology and energy technology.
IT and Healthcare

Organizations in the healthcare industry need IT to support their processes. Pharmaceuticals


have ERP and CRM systems to run their operations, use BI to analyze data, and use project
portfolio management software in drug development programs to keep projects on track. But
healthcare has more special needs for IT. Our essayists expect to see IT and healthcare
technology converge: they imagine robotic arms performing surgery more reliably than surgeons
can, eventually being operated remotely. They also expect to see sensors used inside the human
body, continuously collecting and transmitting data as part of preventive medicine. We are
already seeing early brain/machine interfaces, in which prostheses respond to input from the
nervous system.
But before all that is a reality, IT is expected to have an impact on drug development as well. Just
as diseases are caused by a complex combination of factors (genetic, environmental, and
behavioral) the development of cures should also be segmented and interdisciplinary, to enable
personalized drugs (designer pharmaceuticals). To achieve this, great advances in genetics (DNA
data) and proteomes (the full set of proteins in an organism) are needed. DNA and proteomes
are already expressed in terms of data and data structures. Healthcare technology requires
advances in data modeling and data mining, and brute computing power increased by orders of
magnitude. Another improvement to drug development could come through translational
medicine, a discipline that aims to makes the development process more parallel in nature, so
that medical effects (clinical trials), economic aspects (production and distribution cost) and
behavioral viewpoints (is the drug being accepted) can influence each other during the
development phase. This requires well-integrated and deep analytics. A complete discipline in
itself, healthcare (information) technology could see incredible breakthroughs in the years to
come.
Green IT

The development of green IT is expected to go through three phases. Phase 1 is what we are
facing today. IT must become more energy-efficient. In some organizations energy management
has become the responsibility of the CIO already. Some servers are being positioned as

IT 2020: Technology OptimismAn Oracle Scenario

particularly energy-efficient. In the hardware space, low-energy storage is possible via arrays of
idle disks that are available for archival storage. In some organizations, the heat produced by the
datacenter is already used to heat the rest of the building, or even to heat water for the
community.
In the second phase, on our way toward 2020, IT must be a driving force behind more energyefficient practices. Some utility companies already offer personalized home pages for individual
customers that detail energy consumption patterns throughout the hours of the day and seasons
in the year, and the mix of renewable and nonrenewable energy being consumed. In 2020, the
home resource planning system could provide an energy-management module that connects this
information with a homeowners personal finances. Currently, supply chain management
applications already offer optimization techniques for fuel-efficient goods distribution. One
could even foresee a world resource consumption system that, supervised by the United Nations,
monitors world resources utilization.
This phase should be followed by a true transformation, in which IT becomes the driver to
generate and distribute energy more efficiently. This third phase is based on new hardware and
new types of analytic software. Photovoltaics, a method of generating electrical power by
converting solar radiation into direct current electricity using semiconductors, comprises a tiny
fraction of power-generating capacity today, but it is already the fastest-growing powergeneration technology in the world.
The smart grid infrastructure already exists, but by 2020 this may well be the norm. Todays
energy infrastructure is a one-way street, delivering energy from supplier to consumer. The smart
grid makes it a bidirectional process. Energy is not only consumed; locally generated renewable
energy is also contributed to the grid. Although energy distribution today is still largely low-tech,
smart grids are fully IT-operated and optimized. This optimization ranges from analytics to align
demand for electricity with operating and maintenance plans for wind turbine farms, to an
intelligent and adaptive metering system.

Hang On, Wait a Minute...


The technology optimism scenario described here also pose serious issues. There are tough
problems to solve before the trends we sketch deliver net value. For instance, with all the new
sensors and devices, what happens with all the old ones? Information overload is a real issue
today already, to say nothing of the serious need for security.
E-Waste

The enormous amounts of discarded sensors, devices, and computers could become a real
environmental issue. A solution could come from the cradle-to-cradle concept, already applied to
hardware through the recycling of old computer parts into new ones. Cradle-to-cradle could
become the norm for hardware manufacturing. Manufacturers should look for less

10

IT 2020: Technology OptimismAn Oracle Scenario

environmentally unfriendly materials to use in batteries, computers, and devices, as well as


further investing in ways to prolong battery life.
Information Overload

The sheer amount of data available is an ongoing issue, and is potentially growing even faster
than computer and internet infrastructure capacity. If datasets become too big to be copied
within reasonable timeframes, physical travel plans will need to be made for transport. In a sense,
data collections start to behave like objects in the real world, and even become like individuals
imagine each data collection as a single, unique entity, with its own personality.Two collections of
data may be similar or related, but they can never be identical. They can be permanently damaged
or even destroyed. They grow older, mature, and even become sick. Their complexity may be so
great that their behavior (such as response to queries) can become unpredictable. They would
then require datatherapeutical assistance to become healthy again. This could open a whole new
market for datadiagnostic tools.
Intelligent contextual compression, which goes further than todays compression techniques that
look for common patterns within files, could move the trend in the opposite direction and look
for common patterns between files. In this way, music and movies that overlap 100 percent could
be stored only once and simply referred to when needed. It is even possible to imagine, for
example, such contextual compression detecting the massive overlap of all the pictures taken of
the Golden Gate Bridge by tourists, and storing only the small differences, such as the person
standing in front of it.
Moores Law is bound to continue for a while, so processing power keeps growing. Innovation
may come from GPUPPs (graphical processing units/parallel processing). GPUs, already heavily
used in game technology, make it to advanced analytics in data processing too.
Security

Originally said by Franklin D. Roosevelt but more well-known from Spiderman: With great
power comes great responsibility. With connectivity growing and society depending heavily on
IT, security is of paramount importance. Security means confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
It must not only shield your data from being accessed inadvertently but also protect society from
cybercrime. Every type of crime in the real world has or could make its way into the online world
as well. Security should not be only a part of risk management; it must become a business
enabler, part of an organizations performance management.
Today most cloud applications share a server with other applications, probably from other
companies, a principle called multitenancy. As more confidential and sensitive enterprise data
moves outside the firewall, the need to audit and ensure compliance becomes even greater.
Security needs to become less programmatic and more declarative and heuristic in nature.
Programmatic security is embedded within a specific application or device. On the basis of a
password or other means of identification, people have their digital identity access authorized or

11

IT 2020: Technology OptimismAn Oracle Scenario

denied. Increasingly, business users and consumers travel through many systems, spanning
multiple organizations to complete a transaction or when searching for information. Overlaying
security and single sign-on structures shields the complexity of the security of many systems, but
doesnt solve it. Declarative security means that the applications simply declare what security
measures they require, and the master identity management structures negotiate the access for us.
Heuristic security goes one step further, examining user behavior and detecting irregular
actionssomething credit card companies already do today. Heuristic security requires heavy
real-time analytics. In hyperconnected environments, firewalls must move away from the
network and the application level, and move to the end of the stack: end-user devices.
Legacy

With innovation coming from consumer IT, business applicationsas stated earlierwill have
to be DfY (Designed for Generation Y). Combined with the adoption of gaming technology as
part of user interfaces, this is nothing less than a new business computing paradigm. Current
business systems can be wrapped with collaborative functionality and better user interfaces, but
at some point they must be redesigned. This could be an easier process than the paradigm shift
from client/server to Web-based systems, but massive numbers of systems still will be
considered legacy. CIOs should feel pressure to replace old systems and migrate to new ones, in
order to be able to invent entirely new business processes and business models and to embrace
many new requirements.
Legacy and version management will be an ongoing process. As different applications and
devices evolve at their own speed, there are bound to be version issues. Expect find and
resolve to become part of plug and play.

The Biggest Journey Starts with the First Step


2020 is still a long way away, and many steps need to be taken in order to even get close to the
collective vision outlined in this paper. But even the biggest journey starts with the first step.
Here are some examples of what might happen to get us there.
20112012: Knowledge management reappears as a trend. Briefly popular in the 1990s, the time
is now ripe for it. Business processes are so knowledge-intensive that the system-centric
approach to process management is becoming obsolete, replaced with a more human-centric
view. Knowledge management, which never lived up to its promise as a silo set of technologies,
becomes integrated into business process management. A unified communication and
collaboration standard based on XML emerges.
20132014: Search becomes more active. A new servicelets call it Youis introduced,
based on predictive analytics. It finds information for you the moment you want it, and actively
puts together information packages on topics in which you are interested. You can create a

12

IT 2020: Technology OptimismAn Oracle Scenario

variety of avatar personalities for privacy reasons and integrate them into your identity
management. On-demand has become the default option for companies to deploy new software.
You had 24 e-mails overnight. I was able to prepare your responses to all, except one
request for a dinner date at the usual place with Francesca. What is the usual place?
20152016: Telepresence solutions with real eye contact are the default on every desktop. Global
banks offer borderless accounts. Green computing is still a theme. Of the top 100 largest
economic entities, more than half are now corporations, not countries. Governance structures
between corporations and governments emerge, tackling wider economic, social, and
environmental issues. Oh, and the Oracle14 database is a huge success ;-).
20172019: More people work from home than in an office. The first mobile phone chips are
implanted into humans. Blending becomes the term for the next generation of social networks,
attending events online. 3-D glasses, active polymers, and holographic desk imaging emerge in
the workplace.

Preparation, Not Prediction


We cannot predict the future, but we can prepare for it. Most likely the scenarios we imagine are
inaccurate. In fact, a completely different scenario may play out. Two alternatives:

Where IT now is all about creating an open world where everything and everyone can
communicate in a seamless way, other factors may change that presumption. For
instance, economic protectionism, polarizing politics, and stifling legal issues may create
a closed world, where the value of IT is based on exclusivity. Only the privileged may
get access to certain information, and communities may change from being open and
inclusive to being by invitation and nomination only.

A world of heterogeneity and disparate levels of maturity might emerge. IT may evolve
linearly and slowlynothing new compared to today. If we are to compare what is
possible with what is implemented in todays corporate IT systems and extrapolate out
ten years, we may see slow adoption of new technologies and in some places even
slower implementation. Economic circumstances may drive a cost reduction scenario.

That is all not the point.


The goal of scenario building is not to be right. Thinking in terms of scenarios opens our eyes to
possibilities and forces us to shift away from our daily problems, helping us to consider longerterm issues.
Put the "T" Back in IT

No matter how the future plays out, it seems very likely that there will be an increased emphasis
on hardware. Devices and sensors will play an important role in some way. People, business, and
society at large will likely become more dependent on technology. Connectivity is bound to play

13

IT 2020: Technology OptimismAn Oracle Scenario

an even more prominent role, increasing the need for investments in IT infrastructure. Security
becomes even more important, ensuring that connectivity, whether it is exclusive or open, is safe.
The trend in IT management so far has been to favor business skills over mastering technology.
This trend may very well be reversed. CIOs with a strong technical background may have an
advantage. Other companies may see an increasing need to appoint a chief technology officer.
Keep Your Options Open

Although the general trend toward convergence is clear, less is known about how things will
converge. Consideringor even better, creatingmultiple scenarios will most likely reveal that
the rate of change is holding steady or increasing, and coming from the world of consumer IT.
Business IT as a result will have to become more reactive. In addition, connectivity demands
mean that increasingly organizations are not fully in control of their infrastructure choices: they
must respond to global or specific demands.
Technology lifecycles seem to be shortening, but investments in infrastructure are often made for
the long term, and can be irreversible. A situation of high uncertainty and high irreversibility calls
for an options-based strategy. In such an environment, it doesnt make sense to debate what
strategy is right or wrong; the only viable solution is to have a strategy that can adapt to whatever
the future brings. Scenario building is a way to test such strategies.
1984

The scenario we describe, technology optimism, shows technology responding to critical human
issues and leading humanity to a safe, happy, and meaningful future. However, if we extrapolate
many of these trends one step further, or if the possibilities that are opened up by new
technologies are used in the wrong way, we might see a bleak totalitarian future, like the one
described in George Orwells 1984. Sensor networks and implants track peoples moves
wherever they go and whatever they do. Through centralized datacenters to which we have
outsourced all our data, authorities have access to all our dreams, thoughts, communications, and
so forth.
Whenever technological boundaries are lifted, new moral and ethical dilemmas emerge. Should
new and powerful technologies be forbidden, regulated, or restricted to ensure that they dont fall
into the wrong hands or get used in the wrong way? Or should we accept negative consequences
because of the overwhelmingly positive impact that new technologies could have? Often driven
by public sector and academia, discussions such as this have been prominent in regard to many
technology advancements, from GPS systems to stem cell research. But business has a social
responsibility as well. In order to be ready for any IT 2020 future state, CIOs should be prepared
to engage in moral debate today.
Create Your Own Future

The future is a consequence of the choices we make. By considering and creating scenarios,
organizations can become more aware of those consequences, and can drive their own futures.

14

IT 2020: Technology OptimismAn Oracle Scenario

Being active in determining standards, participating in bodies of governance, and driving next
practices directly help to point us in the direction we want to go. And it is not always necessary
to be the leader or even an early follower. History shows that the ones who hang in there and are
determined to get the timing right are the most successful. In order to get it right, organizations
should explore the following questions:
What is the potential business benefit of emerging technologies?
How do these technologies fit in your current landscape as well as future architectures?
When will large-scale implementations become economically feasible?
Which uses of technology will differentiate you from your competition?
Which experiments today meet your short-term economic needs and offer a sustainable
long-term contribution?
With these questions in mind, test your IT strategy against various future scenarios. The more
your strategy can adapt to whatever scenario comes true, the more future-proof your
organization will be.

Acknowledgements
The IT2020 teamFrank Buytendijk, Oracle vice president and fellow; Aaron Lazenby, editorin-chief Oracles Profit magazine; and Kevin Walsh, Oracle senior vice president, product
developmentwish to acknowledge the contributions of all Oracle employees who contributed
to this project.
Thank you, John Abel, Nemier Al-Shawi, Tino Albrecht, Marcel Amende, Cristian Anastasiu,
Ross Armstrong, Akhil Arora, Christian Bandulet, Anurag Batra, Michael Bechler, Harald
Behnke, Gerald Bellot, James Bertouch, Vinay Bhatia, Matthew Bialock, Richard Bingham,
Cristian Birladeanu, Peter Boglo, Raymond ter Bogt, Gary Born, Frank Bradley, Bill Bridge,
Adrian Caliman, James Caron, Luke Carroll, Cesar Castro, Brian Chan, Yvan Cognasse, Michiel
Contant, Dan Conway, Michael Counsel, Steve Cox, Iain Curtain, Ashish Dave, Alan Downing,
Nicholas Drew, Lalit Duggal, Omar Elkerdany, Jean-Christophe Feraudet, Gabriele Folchi,
Douglas Forbes, Micah Friedman, Elias Gargallo, Luc Glasbeek, Constantin Gonzalez, Arun
Govindaswamy, Juston Grochoski, Kishan Gunaratna, Hari Gutlapalli, Emanuel Halapciuc,
Zahir Hassan, Toby Hatch, Michael Hawkins, Paul Heathcote, Tim Hickey, John Hite, Jeongki
Hong, Mike Howard, Farhan Ibrahim, Fumiko Ishii, Krupa Iyer, Javier Jimenez, Joe Jorczak,
Vladimir Karagioz, Abdal Khan, Kheam Khan, Orgad Kimchi, Lars Klumpes, Hrishikesh
Kumar, Kanupriya Kumar, Vik Kumar, Bruce Kyro, Mike Lafleur, John Lazo, James Leask,
Patrick Lemartret, James Maholic, Gogie Malathu, Goutam Mandal, Andrea Manganaro, Robert
Marchant, Francisco Maroto, Bryan Meek, Wolfgang Meidenbauer, Mario Mendoza, Michael van
der Merwe, Plinio Monteiro, Rihit Motiani, Katerina Mpalaska, Matthias Mueller-Prove, Robert
Murphy, Sureshkumar Muthukrishnan, Senthilkumar Narayanan, Yiannis Nasios, Dhirendra

15

IT 2020: Technology OptimismAn Oracle Scenario

Negi, Mike Nelson, Erik Nielsen, Sharma Nitin, Cara ODriscoll, Desmond ONeill, John
ORourke, Thomas Oestreich, David Olivencia, Andres Pagarand, Nirmala Palaniappan, Vijay
Panuganty, Wayne Parry, Pankaj Pathak, Paul Perkins, Adarsh Pete, Jorge Pinzo, Florin
Postolache, Steve Prescott, Effi Psychogiou, Ken Pulverman, Cristian Raceu, Anjana
Radhakrishnan, Sundar Ram, Roland Rambau, Tarek Refaat, Peter Reiser, James Roberts, Serban
Rojancovschi, Kevin Rowan, Bill Rushmore, Vijaya Sarode, Aditya Saurabh, Mohamed Sayed,
Hubertus Schmidt, Duncan Shores, Lupita Sisneros, Roland Slee, Marc Sluijs, Peter Smith,
William Soley, Constantine Steriadis, Nilesh Surana, Garret Swart, Thomas Teske, Paul Thaden,
Deepak Thuse, Gabi Trauvitch, Abhijith Unnikannan, Alejandra Vargas, Swati Varma, Andreea
Vasiliu, Michel Villette, Dave Walker, Annegret Warnecke, Hans Wiggerman, Elizabeth Wilson,
David Woolford, Xingxing Xu, Nigel Youell.

16

IT 2020: Technology OptimismAn Oracle


Scenario
Authors: Frank Buytendijk, Aaron Lazenby,
Kevin Walsh

Copyright 2010, Oracle and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Published in the U.S.A. This document is provided for information
purposes only, and the contents hereof are subject to change without notice. This document is not warranted to be error-free, nor

Oracle Corporation

subject to any other warranties or conditions, whether expressed orally or implied in law, including implied warranties and conditions

World Headquarters

of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. We specifically disclaim any liability with respect to this document and no

500 Oracle Parkway

contractual obligations are formed either directly or indirectly by this document. This document may not be reproduced or transmitted

Redwood Shores, CA 94065

in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, for any purpose, without our prior written permission.

U.S.A.
Worldwide Inquiries:
Phone: +1.650.506.7000

Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Fax: +1.650.506.7200
oracle.com

10036922