“Inflection Point: War and Sacrifice in Corporate America” by Traci Medford-Rosow (Pegasus Books, 2015)


Inflection Point: How the Convergence of Cloud, Mobility, Apps, and Data Will Shape the Future of Business examines how businesses can leverage the trends occurring, and changing, every day in the information technology (IT) field. It examines the success and failures of businesses impacted by inflection points. Written in terms the average layman can understand, Inflection Point is a fascinating look at the birth and transformation of IT trends in the business world.

I couldn’t help but compare Inflection Point to Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, which examines trends and why they become popular in society and popular culture. In much the same way, Scott uses former Intel CEO Andy Grove’s definition of an inflection point: “an event or a series of interrelated events that result in a significant change in the progress of a company, an industry, a sector, an economy, or even a nation,” which is very similar to Gladwell’s definition of a tipping point: “that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.” While Gladwell examines this phenomena from a sociological perspective, Stawski examines it from an IT and business perspective.

Scott breaks down how companies can anticipate inflection points within their respective industries and how they can stay ahead of the trend wave. Additionally, he provides real-world examples of businesses that have succeeded or failed, based on their ability to recognize and adapt to inflection points. He highlights steps taken by companies whose CEOs or COOs have embraced changes in technology and taken their companies to the next level while their competition floundered and failed.

He provides a detailed explanation and description of cloud computing and encourages companies not to worry about ‘how’ it works, but, instead, focus on the fact it works and what the expected outcome should be. This is good advice for the average person as well as the CEOs and COOs of the business world. You don’t have to understand combustible engines to get in your car and drive.

Scott also does a very good job of addressing the issue of security with regard to cloud computing. In the age of compromised data, when everyone is affected by the IT breaches of Target and the government’s Office of Personnel Management, security should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind. He highlights that the majority of data breaches have occurred against businesses employing the traditional IT model. By breaking down the different cloud computing models, he explains how security can be leveraged at each level of useage.

Although written from a business perspective, Inflection Point is an extremely useful analysis of changing IT trends for the average person. Scott uses simple, easy-to-understand language to explain the current trends within the IT enterprise – cloud computing, Software as a Service, and Big Data. He incorporates real-life experiences from his personal life as a hobby sailor, as well as his professional life as a consultant, to draw analogies between how we use IT in our personal life and how businesses can use IT to further their interests.

First published in the San Francisco Book Review.

Originally written on April 20, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

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