When did you hear for the first time about in memory systems? Today? Last year? 1982?
For me it was the latter. In 1982 I was invited to work with students at bremen university on developing a new type of computer programmes. We were still working with card readers, where a machine punches holes in cardboard strips to store binary information. The idea was to load data into a more permanent form of memory called EPROM (erasable programable read only memory). The issue was that at that time EPROM was used for permanent data to help a device start up correctly. Operating systems were to follow, but freely dipping in and out of that memory was not great ( as the name ReAd Only Memory indicated.
Today we are a lot further down the line, yet some issues persist. Locking issues in memory, slow write times, high availability issues due to difficulty sharing memory across systems to name a few.
So why are SAP, Oracle and co pushing in memory as if their life depending on it? Simply because it is likely true. Here the three core reasons as I see them:
1) IT and business is fed up with artificial walls between different IT disciplines like reporting, analytics, transaction systems, master data management. Business units don’t understand the need in the first place. But they don’t get what they want, so they create compromise use cases. Even worse they can only imagine what they can see. This limits them to current capability.
2) data volumes are growing out of control for traditional data bases. We are just shy of mainframe system query response times, which are unacceptable to businesses. Yet. Ills ting more data about more processes should lead to real time decision support. Yet few people have the luxury of a single view of the customer linked to analytics predicting cash flow when approving customer loans.
3) software as a service. The Customer relationship is heavily fought over. So how many people do you trust as a customer. 8 software vendors, 3 hardware vendors, 2 data centre outsourcers, 1 support partner, 4 system integrators, 1 strategy consultancy…or one on demand organisation not looking for capital investment. While more of a nirvana, everyone who cares about their customers relationship has to play in SAA.
Let’s not forget the need to innovate in this sector, through mobile in and you have yourself a strategy not unlike SAP’s or Oracles.
In the end it comes down to the ability to execute and integrate. It might take a couple of years before these things land properly, and another 3 before it is perfectly smooth, but unless your only concern is cost reduction you might want to start setting two resources aside to dabble and gt back to you on a weekly basis.
If you are a consulting company worry about project delivery. How many more years will you get projects to implement if everything is available as a service from the software vendors?
If you are a customer to these providers, how long will you get budgets to run your own kingdom? Imagine as a pharma company you can get all you process and reporting processes on demand, compliant and audit ready? What will differentiate you from your peers in IT?
If you are a software vendor, how will you cope with 0 upfront licence fee? How will you cope with. Es market entrances in your space, where people can simply migrate platform over night?
And who owns your data? Who is responsible for non compliance of your processes. What if your SaaS vendor goes bust?
If you are a hardware vendor what is your future? What is your future if you are a support service organisation?
There is nothing here that can’t be overcome. But thinking about these things now, trailing them, investing in building your own strategy rather than buying one later will pay dividends through trust of your peers, your ability to understand impact, and most importantly to get through the detail because that is where you can normally find the devil, right?