Ray Ozzie is an innovator and evangelist of collaborative platforms and cloud computing. His career spans Lotus Notes, Groove, and Microsoft (he tookover Bill Gate’s role at as Chief Software Architect after Bill stepped down to focus on The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation). On October 25, 2010, Ray Ozzie celebrated the five year anniversary of a memo he wrote to Microsoft colleagues and then shared with the world. The 2005 memo described what he called The Internet Services Disruption. He highlighted the growing importance of Internet services and service-enabled software. He was looking at what Google was beginning to do and pondering what Microsoft should be doing. Five years later he’s preparing to leave Microsoft and felt the five year anniversary would be a good opportunity to again consider the future in a public way. In the new memo, Dawn of a New Day, he takes a more integrated view of how we use technologies in our organizations and the increasing control we expect to have. By moving in this direction, his view of the future has a subtext of the need for systems savvy: We all must be able to weave our technologies, methods, and people into new ways of working to be effective. As he said in 2005, and I’m sure would agree today, there is no silver bullet. He invites us to imagine a “Post-PC World” of continuous services and connected devices. Not hard to imagine as I look at my smartphone. He acknowledges that we have some of this today, but pushes us to imagine if we had it everywhere, all the time. Be sure to read to the end of this excerpt. See if you hear him talking to you. I hear him talking to me. I hear him pushing all of us to be systems designers at whatever level is appropriate -- we don’t have to be technology experts, that’s the point. The future he describes is one where the technologies allow us to do what we want, when and how we want, and this makes systems savvy all the more important. (Emphases from the original.)
Whether in the realm of communications, productivity, entertainment or business, tomorrow’s experiences & solutions are likely to differ significantly even from today’s most successful apps. Tomorrow’s experiences will be inherently transmedia & trans-device. They’ll be centered on your own social & organizational networks. For both individuals and businesses, new consumption & interaction models will change the game. It’s inevitable. To deliver what seems to be required – e.g. an amazing level of coherence across apps, services and devices – will require innovation in user experience, interaction model, authentication model, user data & privacy model, policy & management model, programming & application model, and so on. These platform innovations will happen in small, progressive steps, providing significant opportunity to lead. In adapting our strategies, tactics, plans & processes to deliver what’s required by this new world, the opportunity is simply huge. The one irrefutable truth is that in any large organization, any transformation that is to ‘stick’ must emerge from within. Those on the outside can strongly influence, particularly with their wallets. Those above are responsible for developing and articulating a compelling vision, eliminating obstacles, prioritizing resources, and generally setting the stage with a principled approach. But the power and responsibility to truly effect transformation exists in no small part at the edge. Within those who, led or inspired, feel personally and collectively motivated to make; to act; to do. In taking the time to read this, most likely it’s you.