Travelblog 3.1 – Google Atmosphere

I spent a great day today at the Atmosphere event today, with a mix of speakers who opened up some interesting lines of discussion.
Above everything, I think that the recurring theme was that the challenges that the Cloud poses for organisations today is in the way in which the “democratising” effects of web-based services directly impacts on traditional models of management and leadership. This isn't any more a story about technology. It's a story about the way in which consumerisation (or commoditisation) of information systems and collaboration services is breaking down the ways in which corporations have driven control.
Don Tapscott gave a fascinating keynote. The culmination of Web 2.0 and the Net Generation is breaking down command structures, and forcing organisations to face the facts of an opening up of ways of working which depend on leadership being demonstrated throughout, rather than just from the top. Whilst younger members of the workforce (the Digital Natives) get this, the older (Digital Immigrants, and, let's be blunt, the Digital Refuseniks) are struggling to keep up. Tapscott's view is that we all need to live the new world – and although his quick Twitter response to a tweet I made about his presentation certainly shows that he's doing his best to keep up, I wonder how many of my fellow delegates do (let alone the extent to which the CEOs, CFOs and CMOs who we work with and for do).
Google made a few interesting announcements. Two-step authentication based on using mobile phones for one-time passwords looks an interesting development. Editing of documents on mobile platforms (including the iPad) is a great step forward in terms of usability, but will continue to pile on the pressure for IT management struggling to keep up with the requests for consumer devices in the workplace. Whilst the Digital Natives won't have a problem, Immigrants and Refuseniks who demand iPads are going to potentially place unreasonable demands on IT departments.
Tomorrow it's my turn. I'm presenting a couple of workshops about creating the business case for moving to Cloud. Should be fun…

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