Saturday, September 13, 2014

Alfidi Capital at KPMG Technology Innovation Executive Summit 2014

KPMG held its periodic Technology Innovation Executive Summit this week in Silicon Valley.  I scored an invitation because, hey, let's face it, I'm all about innovation and I'm totally executive material.  The photo I took of my badge came out looking lame, so forget about seeing proof.  My genius is all the proof anyone needs.  I'll share my own observations instead of blindly recapping the summit.  

The firm's newest Global Survey on emerging tech trends is due out very soon and we got a preview of the results.  I won't repeat any specifics here, so read the full report when it's available.  I didn't see any consensus on which tech would drive consumer spending.  I got the impression that big enterprise clients in non-tech sectors are not super-savvy on spotting tech trends.  I did not see any real consensus on challenges facing enterprise IT integration.  The diversity of sectors canvassed in these types of surveys means different sized corporate clients have different IT needs.  

Any enterprises that thinks digital currencies (aka Bitcoin and others) will significantly disrupt banking and payment systems needs to wake up.  US-based enterprises have seen the most media exposure to Bitcoin and are aware of the IRS' regulatory response.  Other countries are clueless about Bitcoin's uselessness as a currency.  Maybe the rest of the world anticipates something better coming down the pike after Bitcoin, or maybe they're just ignorant.  

I do not expect serious IoT monetization to come from verticals closest to the consumer.  The next financial crisis will destroy consumer spending for years.  That places me at odds with some enterprise thought leaders.  They should look for IoT driving security and surveillance spending instead.  

The KPMG panelists following the survey results were definitely thought leaders in mobile, cloud, and enterprise IT.  The power budget limitations in IoT are obvious, which brings me back to my point above about IoT's limitations in an era where the consumer can't drive spending.  I look forward to IoT devices that scavenge energy from their ambient environment.  

Converging DevOps and the cloud drives a continuous process where every developer's code upload triggers a deployment of new enterprise tech.  Security still gets lip service but no one is making the connection with this DevOps capability.  CIOs must make it a continuous deployment priority.

I need to revisit Bitcoin enthusiasts in light of the panel's mention of cloud and document sharing.  There is zero analogy between digitally signed documents and cryptocurrencies.  The docs aren't governed by a blockchain that multiplies the computing resources needed for processing every time a new document is created.  It is crucial that IT professionals make this distinction before they look like fools by claiming block ledgers add transparency or security.  

I'll close with a quote from one panelist that really stood out:  "Computer science students don't learn coding anymore; they just move objects around."  There's a wake-up notification for all of the fad-chasers jumping on the coding literacy bandwagon.  Moving objects around means symbolic logic and systems analysis take educational precedence over programming languages.  Future CIOs should take note.  I have no intention of restarting an entire educational cycle just to learn code.  I'd rather keep coming to these thought leader summits, where I learn more anyway.