I came across this column from the Sunday New York Times by Randall Stross detailing his and Tom Siebel’s take on the slowing of IT spending. To Stross’ credit, he remarks that Tom Siebel “may well be wrong,” but like many who attempt to measure this market, Stross makes the mistake of lumping all spending related to technology and business into a single bucket. It results in an overbroad analytical brush that obscures the truth about spending.
I’ve disagreed with Tom Siebel in the past, and while I hate to disagree with him again, I take issue with his humble remarks that the glory days of IT spending are long over, or a supposed lack of innovation that’s taking place today. Granted Siebel was as instrumental and innovative a figure in the development of the CRM market as any, but in terms of his company, he was also at the right place during the right time.
I’ve heard some argue that cloud computing could lead to a second explosion in IT spending…which I don’t think will materialize. I think the problem is that the IT promise of the “post-industrial age” that Siebel refers to was never and still hasn’t been fully realized by the software solutions of the 80s and 90s, and as a result, has lead to the development of new, more agile deployment models and software packages that are focused on delivering more value and flexibility, as opposed to straight-up functionality. With that has come a more vigilant spending attitude by American businesses, which in the long run is a good thing.
History has proven time and time again that “end of history” assertions almost never come to fruition…the IT market is no exception. As long as businesses continue to have problems, they’ll provide the market with a endless incentive to continue to develop automated software solutions to try to solve it.