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Industry Outlook Customers Want Products that Make their Lives Simpler A t a recent IBM sponsored technol- ogy event in New York City, a senior executive started his briefing with a statement from an IDC Futurescape report: “One third of the Top 20 companies will be disrupted over the next three years because they are not moving fast enough.” Rapid change is the new normal in a global and flattened business landscape where disruption can occur from three people working out of a garage or when a large company decides to move into an adjacent market. For instance, Goog- le’s recent decision to compete with Amazon Web Services for ‘on-demand’ supercomputing resources. Great products that meet mission-critical needs Customers want products that make their lives simpler. Services, system integration and workflows are all nec- essary components of a solution, but great product design can move those elements to the background. Think about the navigation system on your phone or in your car as the product you use every day to get from point A to point B. As a user, you just want to Stuart Blundell Director of Strategy & Business Development, Harris Geospatial Solutions 26 • Geospatial World • January 2016 type in the location and let the magic happen. The complexities of GPS triangulation, routing algorithms, and wireless services are all involved, but they stay hidden in the background. Using that paradigm, our focus is on building great products that meet mission-critical needs, whether it be secure network communications or weather satellites, and that satisfy that innate need for customers to make their lives simpler. Great product designs will always trump an alternative solution requiring extensive system integration. Hardware is and always will be key in delivering a “platform” for developing higher-margin software and related information services. Similarly, ad- vanced space payloads and related ground processing infrastructure serve as a platform for geospatial Big Data analytics. The economics of moving data, processing and hosted services to com- mercial Cloud providers has become an accepted norm. The pace of change in technol- ogy in this space is phenomenal. Key drivers behind the concept of ‘sharing’ are open source Cloud platforms as a service [PaaS] providers, such as Cloud Foundry, as well as the real shortage of skilled workers in the areas of cloud computing and data science. There are only so many of these people in the job market and the competition to hire them is intense. My hunch is the concept of “sharing information infrastructure” will continue to evolve around these principles of open source PaaS and commercial Cloud services from major heavyweights.