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WSO2 Enterprise Integrator 3 min

Beware of 800-pound gorillas in the IT world

RZW pasfoto 2020
Ruben van der Zwan
CEO & Co-Founder
gorilla monkey ape zoo
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gorilla-monkey-ape-zooThe 800-pound gorilla, is an English expression signifying a dominant market player. There are jokes about them like “Where does an 800-lb. gorilla sit?” Answer: “Anywhere it wants to”. We have seen a number of these 800-pound gorillas in the IT world over the last two decades. Microsoft was one of them. Google was one of them. Facebook is one of them. The difference between IS and WAS is (as it were): perception and progressing time.  A dominant player in the past can be up ended by a nimble player. Some gorillas are now no longer considered as such or we have grown accustomed to them. Perhaps bigger or newer gorillas arose.

Cloud Computing

In the area of cloud computing Amazon is the 800-pound gorilla. Its market share, technological advancements and sheer deep pockets it’s the organization to beat for a number of offenders in the cloud computing space like Microsoft with Azure and Google with its cloud platform. But in a sense, that’s nothing to be worried about. Competition between organizations is as old as the proverbial way to Rome.  But the 800-pound gorilla is not always well behaved.  When dominant players use their strengths to push players out of the market becomes a different story. I want to make something absolutely clear, as far as I know Amazon does not engage in such activities.  But in the past we have seen a number of cases against gorilla’s were not that well behaved.  The gorillas themselves of course see it quite differently.  They do nothing wrong they are simply making it easier for other people to use. But if the gorillas are making it simpler, for instance integration of additional services with their offering makes it harder for competitors to compete. Integration can be harder if done from the outside, the perspective of a vendor.

One choice is no choice

Gorillas are bad for you.  When other vendors are forced out of the market because they cannot compete with the big guy it results in less choice.  The choice of one is really no choice.  That is why I would rather have three or four equally good players than one that is dominant.  The beautiful thing about our IT industry is that there is almost always choice: databases … pick the one you like. Operating systems, Windows or a plethora of Linux distributions. Ok, there is less choice in that area because the binary nature (it is Windows or Linux). Message Queues: go ahead pick from Enterprise grade solutions like Solace, other vendors or any of the open source solutions. Regulators like the EU Commissioner for Competition are the forces that can force unfair competition to stop. They have not shied away from imposing fines on gorilla’s including some very stiff fines.

Research

So, choice is good for you because you can compare vendors on their merits. Because you have requirements and some vendors will score good on some of your criteria (and budget) and other ones they score less at. That choice also includes open source solutions that create less vendor lock-in. Take for instance the situation that you want to select an Enterprise Service Bus solution. After some research (for instance our ESB Selection Guide) you create a longlist of vendors that fit the bill. You continue to send out a small survey to the vendors on the list or even research them yourself. The top vendors will be on your short list and in the end your will end up with an ESB that fits your requirements, organization and budget.  It also allows for a best of breed collection of services and technologies. You pick the ones that best fit your needs and since IT is everywhere in the organization (I dare you to name a department that does not use IT, really). You also do not want to put all your eggs in one basket since that creates an unhealthy dependency.

The IT landscape has always been heterogeneous, with all of its drawbacks and advantages. It is also what enables us to do what we like to do with the choice of vendors that we see most fit for the jobs.

I wouldn’t want it any other way! Start your research today and download our  ESB Selection Guide.