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In 321 BC, the Samnites defeated a powerful Roman army at the Caudine Forks, a narrow canyon surrounded by mountains. To humiliate the defeated, the Samnites forced the Roman prisoners of war to pass under a yoke, considered the greatest form of humiliation at the time. Later, “Caudine Forks” came to be synonymous with a “canyon of shame” and used as a metaphor for a disastrous event. The term grew to mean when a company, organization, or individual encounters great difficulties or challenges. Over time, the Caudine Forks theory continued to evolve and Karl Marx elevated it to a philosophical problem and scientific methodology. Today, the theory still offers significant practical guidance.
Companies also face “canyons”, or chasms, at important stages. Those that cannot cross them will be trapped and lose market opportunities. Businesses stand at the brink of the intelligent age, facing a gathering surge of new technologies and new applications. To cross this chasm, they need to eliminate gaps and turn their passive position into an active one. But to complete such a formidable task, choosing the right cloud service partner is critical.
At the two-day China Info100 2020 summit in August 2020, Huawei Senior Vice President and Vice President of Huawei Cloud & AI BG, Zhang Shunmao, spoke on “six ecosystem chasms” facing enterprises and how HUAWEI CLOUD Stack can help add intelligence to the enterprise armory.
In his book Crossing the Chasm, best-selling author Geoffrey Moore sets out how businesses and products will lose market opportunities and fail if they cannot cross the lifecycle chasm. But by crossing the chasm, an enterprise (product) opens an upward channel that allows it to occupy a dominant market position.
Today, both high-tech and traditional firms need to confront various chasms that lie ahead of them. New technologies, such as cloud, AI, 5G, and IoT, and applications are rapidly iterating and traditional IT architecture can no longer keep up. Moreover, many businesses worry that new information architecture will become outdated as soon as they deploy it.
We need to understand the current situation of intelligent enterprise transformation – in other words, what “chasms” enterprises face. According to Zhang, “As companies move towards intelligence, they will encounter chasms in six areas: applications, data, capabilities, talent, technology, and the industry ecosystem.”
The application chasm: Companies accumulate many legacy IT assets that cannot be discarded when building new information architecture, because it’s impractical to tear down and reconstruct everything. Therefore, how old and new systems can be integrated and coexist is a difficult question for intelligent enterprise transformation.