Palmisano’s IBM

Dana Blankenhorn writes:

It’s mainly about putting computing back into the background of business life. Gerstner’s era was about computing in the foreground — PCs, the Internet. Palmisano’s mantra is “on-demand computing” — power and results that flow like water from a faucet.

But there is a problem. Computing isn’t really a utility. It’s not water, not electricity. Every problem a computer faces is different. Hardware and software still lack the flexibility of the human mind. Will they that ever change? Not under the current silicon, on-off paradigm. There is no intuition, there aren’t enough links between data points. There is no ability for silicon and software, by themselves to say “ah ha!” They can beat a man at chess, but only by knowing the man. No one chess program can take on all comers.

Rather than calling it “on-demand” computing, perhaps you should think of Palmisano’s concept as “background computing.” It won’t produce stars. It will serve the business, not lead it.


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