The smog of SMAC

The IT industry, supported by the finest acronym generators known to mankind, have ground out yet another acronym.

This time it’s SMAC which implies that the aggregation of Social, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud are somehow likely to coalesce to produce transformative value. The fact that the word SMAC is a registered trademark in Australia, France, Italy and possibly other countries is besides the point. Its use, when associated with direct or indirect commercial gain could find users in breach of the respective trademark legislation.

The reality is that the Social, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud is only a small part of the spectrum of technologies available to the enterprise, and bounding the discussion of cost, risk or value to any specific subset is more about marketing this ecosystem than communicating with business stakeholders in everyday terms.

Presenting non IT executives with yet another tech-centric acronym may in fact only further distract Boards and non IT executives from making technology decisions that are relevant and appropriate for their organisation – not only right now, but also for the future.  This is especially important given the trend to federate the various elements of enterprise technology away from the CIO or IT department.

The identification, validation, selection, implementation and operation of the spectrum of new, disruptive and emerging technologies should still receive an appropriate degree of due diligence, irrespective what acronym it is known by.

For those with significant real-world experience in both the business and IT realms, know that no two enterprises are identical (unless they are based on a highly prescriptive replicated franchise model operating in the same market, for example), and as such, each enterprise’s instance of a particular IT solution vary.

Light up

Enterprise IT has its analogy in the visible light spectrum.  From the organisation’s perspective, and at a conceptual level:

  • It washes across almost every aspect of  the organisation;
  • You need it to see where you’re headed;
  • It’s hard to explain in simple terms;
  • When broken apart, it takes on a range of colours, each of which are really useful for a range of purposes;
  • Everyone has a preference and is often associated with an emotion;
  • The interpretation of the actual colours is open to opinion; and lastly
  • The constituent colours cannot exist in isolation – rather they are one component of the whole spectrum.

Question is, where in the complex spectrum of IT solutions, technologies and services does the remainder of your enterprise technology alphabet lie?