The biggest change, for both workers and companies, is a move toward what we call “the human cloud.” In the same way that high-speed Internet access disrupted the corporate IT market, creating a “cloud” of web-enabled infrastructure, the human cloud is shorthand for how the web has disrupted the way we work. Companies rely on dispersed teams to get the best talent available regardless of location (or price) and many are using crowdsourcing and other innovative means to achieve their goals.
If you look at the speaker list for Network 2010 there is not a single speaker from the IT Services industry. Isn’t that disappointing. Offshore is the dominant template for the IT Services industry today. And Offshore is the Human Cloud. Distributed teams around the world plugging in to collaborate to build or troubleshoot systems or carry out business activities. The industry should be defining the future of work. But it is not even at the table.
How are offshore projects run today from a collaboration standpoint? Fifteen years ago the tools for collaboration were email, phone calls and weekly status reports in MS Word. Aside from desktop sharing is it much different than that today? The quality of the phone lines are much better now and occasionally you’ll have a video conference for a sales meeting. But that’s it, isn’t it? Companies try to get clients to log in to their extranet collaboration apps and then when they don’t they quietly bury them. Design is still done by flying people over. And application support is all based on email. Please tell me if it’s any different.
I know a lot of this inertia is because of the resistance to change of corporate clients. But IT Services companies must take the lead. This is your business. Better collaboration leads to better outcomes for both you and your client. Its gotta be worth a better effort than what we’ve seen so far.