Originally posted on Gigaom:
Just thirty years ago, innovation in almost any category was measured in years, but today it’s measured in weeks or months. If you were to focus on information technology specifically you could even argue that change can occur in days — and that cycle will continue to accelerate.
But adapting and innovating in IT requires that you have a platform strategy that allows for heterogeneous adoption of technology at each layer of infrastructure. You also need simplified, cost-effective, real-time access to a wide range of partners and solution providers, otherwise known as your technology ecosystem. This group of providers will be a veritable marketplace of vendors that are proprietary and open source, but whom together create a combination of technologies and services that allow the buyer to mix and match for any solution requirement.
The technology ecosystem has always been important. Even in the days when a minority of companies had a single mainframe, you still needed parts, skills, power, data centers, tools, and ideas, etc. But that ecosystem was smaller and moved more slowly. The technology ecosystems of the 60s through the 90s tended to change over months or years, and our systems from then were more likely to be from a small handful of vendors. This simplified provider environment reduced dependence on an ecosystem of otherwise unrelated partners and vendors, but guaranteed your dependence on the one.