For people working in IT, a similar transition is rapidly taking place. For some people, they may view the burst of new Data Center building announcements (here, here, here, here, here, and many more) as just a new phase in IT evolution. But I actually believe it's something bigger than simply the natural trends of Moore's Law.
I've been using the phrase "21st Century Bits Factory" for about six months now because I believe this new trend toward hyper-efficient Data Center facilities and operations is a similar tipping point to what we saw in the manufacturing industry decades ago. But instead of making cars or widgets, these giants factories are creating products, commerce and business value through 1s and 0s. The businesses they support are almost entirely driven by the value of this data, so the businesses are beginning to invest in their data centers with laser focus.
On a side note, I had the opportunity to visit a number of factories in China a couple of years ago. There were two elements that seemed to be very consistent in many of the factories:
So what does all of this mean to the IT industry?
The factory had been given the goal of trying to reduce their physical footprint by 30-50% every 12-18 months. Not only did this mean they needed to reduce the number of steps to create the unit, but potentially find new ways to do it in a small space. This might means new tools, different ways to store inventory, etc. The new space would be used to take on new production lines for the business. [Image if IT organizations had that mandate. What new doors could it open for the business?]
The factory managers were constantly pointing out unique "best practices" that the factory workers had created themselves, in response to motivating factors (usually $$ bonuses) to improve the productivity of the factory. Sometimes these resulted in better products and sometimes it reduced costs or time to completion. [Image if IT organizations were measured by those metrics, instead of primarily on uptime? Could their experience drive better products? Could their experience enable new business opportunities or business models?}