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The IT industry is about to enter a period of rapid shifts just as significant as those that happened at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Navigating this inflection point will require vendors, ISVs and solution providers to work together.
The importance of partner communities, especially around open source, as a way for everyone to be successful in the coming "Information Revolution" was the top theme of both Red Hat and its President and CEO, Jim Whitehurst, at the 2013 Red Hat Partner Conference, being held this week in San Diego.
Whitehurst, in his keynote officially opening the conference, said the partner community was all-important to Red Hat.
"You are in our mission statement. ... That mission statement was developed from the bottom up, not from the executives," he said.
Whitehurst, who called himself a student of history, said the current massive changes in the IT industry as it shifts away from physical assets to services and the cloud is every bit as significant as the shift the world saw at the dawn of the Industrial Age.
Between the years 1 A.D. and 1750, output on a per-capita basis grew a mere 50 percent, which Whitehurst said was essentially unchanged. During the start of the industrial revolution, from about 1750 to 1870, per-capita output doubled, he said. However, since 1870, it has consistently doubled every 30 years despite wars and economic depressions, he said.
Whitehurst said three things happened around 1870 to cause that massive shift, including the introduction of standardized parts, the development of the internal combustion engine, and the introduction of transport services.
Together, they made possible the introduction of mass production and the ability to transport goods from where they were made to where they were sold. "When those three things came together, we saw a revolution in output," he said.
Whitehurst said he would argue that the IT industry is starting to see the same situation today with the Information Revolution. This information is being driven by the Internet and mobility, similar to the "transport services" of the Industrial Revolution; by microprocessors, or the "engine;" and by cloud computing, or the "standardized parts."
NEXT: The Information Revolution Will Require Collaboration