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Could Technology Become a Scarce Resource, Too?

Every day, we hear and see how our planet is changing. The weather is becoming more unpredictable and destructive. Resources that power our daily lives are quickly becoming depleted – everything including gas, oil, and coal; clean water; nutritious, uncontaminated food; and life-supporting land. But is it possible that one day technology capacity and resources will be in short supply, too?

As humanity grows increasingly dependent on technology, some people are becoming concerned about the possibility of running out of computing capacity. This week’s episode “Future of IT Scarcity: Will We Run Out of Technology?” from The Future of Business with Game Changers, a special edition series of SAP Radio, addressed the current scarcity of IT and whether it will remain in the future. The panel featured Allan Krans, principal analyst and practice manager of the Cloud Practice at TBR; Phil Hassey, CEO of capioIT; and Jay Foard, VP of Solution Management at SAP.

It’s more rewarding to be complicit with scarcity than with excess

Allan Krans kicked off the discussion with his own personal observations about the current state and potential future state of the IT landscape. He stated, “When we look at the IT market, there are many things that are prevalent and will continue to be so. Hardware and software are widely available, and that likely won’t change. But, there is scarcity in the ability to connect the abundance of tools available today to real business value for customers.”

This trend will affect how everyone consumes technology in their professional and personal lives. The options for customers to create more efficient IT environments have never been more accessible and widespread. For many customers, it’s challenging to accurately measure efficiency, which is something that directly relates to the scarcity of IT resources.

To have a truly efficient market, customers need to make intelligent decisions, which requires more access to information and comparative data for delivery methods. “Pooling resources and consolidating volumes of information in real time enables more efficient use of scarce IT resources. The value shift towards technology such as Big Data and cloud solutions can help drive new growth, while expanding data collection and analysis,” commented Krans.

It’s always more fun to look into the sights of the sun

Phil Hassey continued the conversation by noting that human resource scarcity is about the ability to connect supply with demand and to identify the areas of gaps that can truly transform the distribution of skills. “Automation is rapidly changing the labor distribution dynamic, and long-term planning is needed to truly understand the implications,” he advised.

There is no such thing as traditional IT services anymore. Every business – no matter the industry, size, or location – must view itself as a software company. According to Hassey, “Technology is becoming easier for individuals to use – in business and at home. The ability to democratize technology to people of all skills and experience and to develop these applications and capabilities is what’s really needed.”

By applying internal and external services to provide the IT services and solutions the business requires at any given moment, the entire networks can better manage changes in operations; market requirements; and international, federal, and local regulations.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them

Jay Foard reflected how innovation is creating scarcity in IT resources. “Because of today’s movement towards innovation, there’s a consistent demand for learning the ‘latest and greatest’ technology to stay ahead of the curve. Technical resources are still innovating and moving away from commodity technology to be more competitive in the marketplace,” he explained.

In fact, universities are focusing on newer technologies and offer less training on legacy applications. This creates a scarcity paradigm in which the presence of commoditized technology is increasing, while fewer resources are knowledgeable about how to support or maintain legacy applications. New programmers, for instance, coming out of school are not interested in doing work related to traditional programming languages. As these legacy systems continue to be used, the gap in the ability to support them widens – and it will further grow as long as businesses decide to use them.

This situation becomes more prevalent as businesses expand into global markets. Foard observed, “There’s more strain on the IT organization and its ability to support growth. Business leaders want flexibility and answers to critical business questions quickly and efficiently. This means that the technology supporting business tools has to scale to unprecedented sizes.”

As innovation impacts the growth of legacy systems and the desire for significant growth and flexibility, it will become more difficult to find internal and external resources that can support the entire infrastructure landscape. IT organizations are then forced to ramp up their current infrastructure and increase their capacity with newer technology.

However, businesses can approach the scarcity of IT resources proactively by rethinking their short- and longer-term IT strategy and pinpoint how scarcity will impact it over the next few years. If decision makers foresee exponential growth of their underlying applications and diversity within their lines of business, plans should be readjusted as soon as possible.

To listen to a replay of this edition of the Future of Business with Game Changers series, presented by SAP Radio, click here.

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2 Comments

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  1. Stephen Johannes

    Actually the scarcity of IT resources is an artificial one that has been caused by social, economic and political choices.  Many of those choices prevent either the entry of new resources in existing markets.   It is a solvable problem, but fundamental human nature will prevent it from being resolved 😉 .

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