I'm continually reminded of the tremendous diversity of enterprise technology needs. As analysts, we tend to focus on the "latest and greatest" developments, but the reality is that many enterprises are not ready to digest the latest technology solutions. In fact, I would submit that premature attempts to implement leading edge technology can cause serious problems and should be avoided.
How do you know if a technology update is premature? Look to the business side of the house. Are there major business pain points that cannot be addressed by the current technology? If so, IT should be looking to implement new capabilities. However, lacking new drivers from the business side, maintaining the status quo might not be that bad of a strategy.
In the past six months I've spoken with several $1B+ enterprises (some greater than $5B) that are achieving good business results using batch-oriented technology with the most sophisticated software being ETL tools. Hardly leading edge, but the important point is that it works.
Think of the need for advanced technology as a continuum. At one end you have financial institutions using logarithmic trading and high-tech manufacturers relying on real-time supply chain operations. At the other end of the spectrum you have many retailers and others still living in a batch dominated world. In between you have players in many other sectors with highly variable needs that rely on both real-time and batch processing to meet their requirements.
Don't expect this diversity to disappear anytime soon.
In a conversation with a vendor in the application portfolio management space the other day, we got on the subject of what "Cloud" means to them and by extension to their current and future customer base. My colleagues have written extensively on what it may mean to Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, HP and others, and our conversation began discussing the potential of cloud-computing from a vendor perspective - for instance: