Monday, May 9, 2011

Innovator's Dilemma

Cisco CEO had an interesting article out today and he wrote: "Security, quality-of-service, ease of management, media-awareness, energy efficiency, mobility and the ability to provision next-generation business models are not incidental applications of the network."   John is quite insightful on where the next wave of the innovation will be keen on.

John went on with "Some believe that networking will become an incidental technology; a utility for connectivity; that a ‘quite good’ network will be ‘good enough’." and challenged big time networking technology cannot be just "good enough".

I personally set a very high standard to make sure I don't build a "good enough" product however all of us including John need be careful and do not fall into "innovator's dilemma".    Great technology always starts with covering limited use cases (hence not "good enough" for mainstream use cases of the time) and will catch up and become "great enough" for the mainstream (hence sooner or later the legacy technology will become an "overkill" from both pricing and functionality perspective).

We saw this in the compute industry: the mainframe to PC transformation, and now the PC to Cloud transformation, and in the networking industry we will see the same disruption.

Anyhow, the bottom line is that a "great" product might not be good for all use cases, and don't call it "good enough" only because it is serving limited use cases.

I respect tremendously what Cisco has done to the networking industry in the past few decades.  Cisco's dilemma is a typical "innovator's dilemma" and will be interesting to see how the battle unfolds.  Interesting time for Cisco and interesting time for the entire network industry.

No comments: