For the past two years, I have been advocating PaaS as the future of cloud services and how developers are the face of the IT in the PaaS era. I have long argued that as PaaS takes over the IT infrastructure in the organizations, we will see a shift in who holds the key to the kingdom. In the traditional IT shops, Ops people were the face of the IT and business users and developers were “at their mercy” for getting things done. In the new PaaS era, Ops people will still exist but they will be in the background enabling the services that are needed to help developers build apps. The developers will be the new face of the new IT managing all their needs by interacting directly with the APIs. Whenever I mentioned about developers being the face of the IT, this is the point I was highlighting. Now many analysts firms have woken up to the fact that PaaS is gaining credibility and developers are getting empowered. Since many analysts have started lending voice to the developers are the face of IT theme, I think it is time for me to chase the next meme. This post is about how business users are the IT in the services driven world.
We are moving into an era where everything from infrastructure to platforms to applications will be consumed as services. In fact, at the application level, we have already moved from a world of monolithic applications to consumption of different features on different apps using different devices. As we slowly evolve into the services model (which at Rishidot Research, we call as Services Ocean Model), organizations will start adopting the Amazon’s service oriented architecture model of consumption. When this shift happens inside the organizations, we will also slowly see a shift where the entire IT will be exposed as services for the end users to consume based on their needs.
In such a world, IT will undergo a complete makeover. The Ops people will enable the infrastructure as services and their role will be about maintaining and monitoring these services in the background. Developers, who by then will go into the background (just like the Ops people in the “PaaS world”), will also expose their “applications” as services and they will be responsible for the performance and reliability of these services. They will coordinate with the Ops people responsible for infrastructure and platform services to achieve this goal. I have used double quotes for applications because the end product of tomorrow’s developers is not going to resemble the monolithic applications of today. It will be more like fine grained set of web services which will be consumed by the business users in any way they want.
The natural question is: when a business user is presented with a set of services like this, how will he/she use it effectively? I see it happening in the following way. There will be “application architects” (replace this with whatever name you want to use) who will build templates or recipes needed for different business functions and expose it as services. The business users will use a dashboard to build services either by using these templates or by putting together one on their own based on their need to achieve a specific business function. In short, the role of IT and developers will move into the background and stop with enabling, monitoring and maintaining various services. Ops will be responsible for enabling and maintaining infrastructure and platform services needed for the entire organization. Developers will take advantage of these infrastructure and platform services to build higher order services (especially, services around big data) and they are also responsible for ensuring the availability of these services. You will also have folks like “application architects” (or whatever term you want to use here) who will build templates or recipes for business users. They will also be playing their role in the background just like Ops and Devs. Business users will eventually build “applications” for their consumption using an user interface they are comfortable with. All the interactions between the service enablers and rest of the organization will be through APIs.
I hope I have articulated this meme well. Since “importance of developers meme” has already gained foothold among the pundits, I think it is time to go beyond that and talk about the empowerment of business users in a services oriented world in the future. As usual, I urge you to pick my arguments apart so that I can tweak and tune this model before others start talking about this meme 🙂