Overheard: Word of the Day

Aug 11 2008   6:03PM GMT

Tag: You’re IT! Meet Pam Baker

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

Last week we tagged Pam Baker!

1. Pam, when did you first discover your love for technology?
I’m the cat that curiosity is always stalking! I love to learn new things and technology is constantly about new things, so it’s a natural match for my questing mind. There is much to accomplish but only one lifetime to do it in; technology allows us to super-speed our accomplishments to roughly double the time we actually have. Combine the lightning speed action with the continuous intellectual exercise, and you have the reason I’m addicted to tech!

2. How do you earn a living?
I am a full-time freelance writer who also does significant analytical work as a contracted analyst for various research firms, most notably for UK-based Visiongain using the pen name Pam Duffey, but also for several other research firms. I also do “big picture” consulting work, meaning I help start-ups and tech companies figure out how to make money from their great tech ideas. I repair the disconnect between great adoption rates and poor monetization.

3. What keeps you up at night?
Fear of human nature. Technology within itself is neither good nor bad — the humans wielding it however are often both. Greed is growing at an unprecedented rate while compassion, decency, and respect for privacy are wilting everyday. I fear what the man behind the curtain may do to the munchkins of the land if left unchecked. To many of our so-called over-seers and governmental regulators are far too ignorant of technology to properly protect the people — and they too are a mix of good and evil. In my opinion, human nature is the scariest thing out there.

4. What do you do when you’re not working?
I play hard. Not being one to tackle anything half-heartedly, I go after pleasure with the same gusto that I tackle a work project. Generally, I love to travel and learn new cultures whether that’s in another state or another country. Once there, I try out just about anything the locals enjoy. Told you, the cat that curiosity stalks!

Downtime at home, I enjoy great sci-fi movies, books of all kinds, my wonderful dogs, and long walks through the woods. Pretty sedate really.

5. You’ve looked in your crystal ball and have seen the future of enterprise IT. What does it look like?
A greatly diminished data center as everything goes Software as a Service (SaaS) and to cloud computing. Companies will crystallize their efforts to their core competencies and outsource everything else; hosted everything will rule the day. Unified communications and universal compatibility will make everything easier to do and use. Vulnerability, however, will sky-rocket because of this.

Outsourcing things like contact centers to foreign countries, however, will crash and burn as great customer service once again becomes vital to bottom-lines and companies realize that “cost per contact” is not nearly as important as “outcome per contact.” Using locals in contact centers for any given region is the only way companies can achieve the customer satisfaction levels they need to boost sales and brand loyalty, so expect offshore outsourcing to revert to near-shore and onshore outsourcing. In fact, some of that is happening now.

Nanotechnology will finally burst through the manufacturing obstacles and devices and hardware will become much smaller, better and faster, further reducing the size of the data center, the impact on the environment, and the cost of IT.

Google and Apple will eventually break the U.S. carrier stranglehold, possibly Yahoo will have a role in that as well, and the U.S. will finally see more benefits in mobile technology than we imagine today. That too, will further change enterprise IT. But until we get our carriers to play ball, mobile’s not going to be much more than it currently is here. Mobile advertising here is going to fail, largely because of carrier shortsightedness and their fear of becoming “dumb pipes.” It will take years before companies will be willing to try mobile advertising again after that, but they will eventually, and the second wave will be tremendously successful because carrier obstruction will be dealt with and because new business models will make mobile advertising more lucrative.

Broadband speeds in the U.S. will finally come up to par to other countries, once we eventually get around to redefining what constitutes “high-speed” broadband. Broadband issues will become paramount as companies turn to more telecommuters worldwide in order to satisfy their talent needs and lower energy needs. Enterprises will push hard for the change — and get it — as they learn from the global marketplace how badly out-of-whack the U.S. is, comparatively speaking.

The same is true with SOA. Only the U.S. sees SOA as a reuse advantage, other countries see it as a business process advantage. Because of this, U.S. based companies are not realizing the full benefits of SOA, but that will change in the near-future.

That’s just a few of the changes I see coming.

Bonus Question: If Stephen Spielberg was going to make a movie about your life, what would it be called?

It would definitely be an action movie, most likely a sci-fi movie too because the role technology has in my life, and a bit of a thriller since even I never know what’s going to happen next, lol, so maybe it would be called “The Wonder-lust Chronicles” or “Chaos Trapper.”

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