August 26, 2013
    Had an epiphany this weekend... not sure what the trigger was... but I started thinking a bit more about the phenomenon of commoditization... of *anything*...

    Really happens when something (anything, even a BRAND!) is "commoditized"... well... it occurred to me that the natural human (systemic!) reaction has a couple of key elements.

    First: you simply stop any/all analytic thought *about* said commodity... it becomes completely banal, generic even... it loses its (original) meaning.... think Kleenex(r)... yeah, it's still a brand, but most folks I know don't even know it that way (similar to Xerox in a way)... not really (necessarily) harmful perhaps, but it sure hurts the extraction of VALUE from the commodity!

    Second, and more germane I think to IT is this: because it is "taken for granted", and it's individual cost drops asymptotically towards "free" (and that doesn't mean "nothing"!) - people and systems simply start using more, and more of the commodity... the "barriers" have decreased to the point they are no longer barriers...

    And when that happens in IT (in fact it has always been this way), it leads to unmanageable and costly "sprawl"... followed by a (new - ha!) "wave" of "consolidation"... and onwards... Make something cheaper/faster to use and, shazzaaam, it will get used ever more! (Duh!)

    All because we aren't measuring and optimizing what is really important: what the commodity is actually accomplishing/delivering in terms of it's business value.

    So, it's all about the "business unit of work" - is it getting done as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible?  Or, is it slowed - or stopped - by the lack of something critical...