Spark Unplugged

I have been working on a publication to wrap up Spark called "Spark Unplugged" which pulls together all the discussion that came out of Spark. In the process I wrote a introduction:

A scant six weeks on from Spark at Las Vegas and it’s truly amazing how much discussion has ensued about Web 2.0, SOA and the future direction of Enterprise software. There have been follow on seminal papers and blogs from Andrew McAfee, John Hagel and Nicholas Carr as well as our own Spark Alumni of Phil Wainewright and Dion Hinchliffe.  All these are pointed to from the spark blog along with the original articles in this publication and their associated links. I recommend you go to HTTP:// for more detail and to keep up to date on this important topic as it evolves. 

My takeaways from Spark and the ongoing discussion is that the IT industry is going through another one of those massive changes that we see every decade or so. Originally computing was mainframe centric and all about control and management. The PC radically changed that model and brought computing to the masses with user centric control. Strangely enough the internet swung the pendulum back to the center and was again about enterprise control and ecommerce. Now we are seeing the internet of participation and the user centric web become the latest incarnation of user control. The changes we will see over the next few years will be as wide ranging and impactful as with the earlier dislocations. 

Whilst these changes will be very significant to society, business models and architecture the impact on technology will be of a lesser order. We will still see most of the technologies we have today in use going forward and the concept of services and service orientation will be key; however many of the more centralized architectures and technologies such as SOA or ESB will become less important or indeed irrelevant. Architects are going to have to focus much more on how to help the business navigate rapidly and successfully through this sea change than on how to stitch together technology if they are to be a key part of the organization of the future. 

It has been my privilege to have been involved at the beginning of the Mainframe, PC, Internet and now the Community web. I am pleased and excited that I and Microsoft have been part of the initial discussion with the Spark event and am looking forward to taking the discussion so far to start to build the real community web of the future. Feel free to email me at or follow my blog at if you are interested in joining Microsoft and I in this creation.


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