“May You Live In Interesting Times”

No, this isn’t a reference or play upon words relating to our current British political leader, but an English expression purported to be a translation of a traditional Chinese curse or threat – yet one that seems particularly pertinent at the moment.

Is it me, or do others also sense an enormous time of change taking place in every facet of life?  In every area – technology, politics, the world order, sport, humanity, commerce, it seems “All Change” is the norm.

If we choose just a couple of areas to examine, the change and its ultimate consequences become quite remarkable.  Having already mentioned British politics, let’s start there.  Having been a child of the 60’s growing up in the 70’s, bombings and acts of gross terrorism became the norm for us.  Atrocities seemed commonplace, such as the Birmingham pub bombing, the bombing of the Conservative Conference in Brighton and the truck bomb outside the Baltic Exchange – all were part of the backdrop we grew up against in the UK.

We then seemed to have a few years of relative quiet through the 90’s, but more recently the acts of indiscriminate terrorism against non-military targets feels to be in sharp ascent once again.

If we examine politics, for the first 50 years of my life, in the UK it seemed we had a fairly stable two party system, with the government changing from Labour to Conservative on a reasonably regular basis.  That is not to say there were not coalitions, etc., along the way, yet it was reasonably stable.  In most recent times that seems to have massively and profoundly changed.

The final angle we will consider is retail; who would have believed that the bookseller Amazon would, within a few sharp years, have changed the face of retail entirely, also becoming a catalyst for the change on the high street that has left many shop units abandoned.  Shoppers instead have opted into the select-and-buy-online-today and have-it-delivered-to-your-home-tomorrow shopping experience of the 21st century.

It is the very same company, Amazon, that lead me to the point of my rambling.  Who would or could have thought, that this very same “bookseller” would have profoundly changed the IT market forever.  The recent spate of “seismic scale” changes within our industry have simply been remarkable.  HP, one of the oldest and most respected businesses in our industry, has profoundly changed its model into the “Enterprise” culture that I have discussed before, whilst casting its “Consumer” brand elsewhere.

IBM are absolutely not the company in format or activity that they were a decade ago, and Dell and EMC has fuelled one of the most remarkable consolidations in the history of our industry.

So what did Amazon do?  Well in absolute truth, and in the context of IT, they are not solo protagonists – Google, Dropbox, Microsoft, Ebay, and others, have also participated in a large way; yet Amazon were probably both the initial change agents, and the first company to align the IT capability with the retail execution quite so exquisitely.

This is the sector that we all now call the “Cloud”, and despite its infancy it seems to be in full steam consolidation as we speak.  Many early entrants have simply faded or consciously exited, and those with substantial but currently unfulfilled investments are tending towards a more vertical range of offerings.

It was therefore with great interest that I read the announcement over the last couple of days that Oracle have chosen to join the fray, not just in their own sector, offering a range of high quality Oracle platforms on a global basis, but to also seemingly want to join the “Hyperscalers Cloud Club”, with Amazon cited as a competitor.

Apart from the delicious irony of Larry Ellison having to announce his cloud offering after such a famous publicly shared “rant” about the cloud… (Checkout Youtube


It’s a joy to listen to once again – spoil yourself over a cup of coffee!)

It does represent a very significant moment when a company the size of Oracle announces it is getting “on the bus” as many others are “getting off”.  I am sure that a key driver for Oracle is the “Internet of Everything” opportunity that it has available by virtue of its position, but we will wait and see.

So in all this confusion and change what have we learnt?

  1. It is bordering on the remarkable that Dave Leyland managed to write this piece without applying a sporting analogy, despite the richness of opportunity, (Normal Service will be resumed shortly sports fans!).
  1. The first wave of the Cloud seems to be over, and already a consolidation is being enacted, the outcome of which is fully unclear just yet.
  1. It is probably impossible to do nothing in this rapidly changing market, as the “you snooze you lose” reality has never been stronger in terms of cost, agility and contender entrants within each sector.
  1. A bad decision can be a disaster – which has never changed at any time!

So we truly appear to be in a time of massive change.  Consulting with the right, independent expertise to help bring clarity and guide organisations through these “Interesting Times”, is paramount.

Let Accordant, with their expertise around IT Financial Management, and a Leadership Team that have collectively accumulated centuries of skills in IT Business Transformation, help you turn the interesting into the predictable.


Want to talk more, contact me at:  david.leyland@accordantsolutions.co.uk