New waves of technological innovation lead to new businesses for IT-delivery. These new businesses use very fast and ultra large scale models to deliver IT-services to consumers. These businesses deliver infrastructure like high volume processing, storage and network facilities within minutes at rates of a few cents per hour usage. Consumers can access virtual PC-s in virtual LAN-s at any size for any period of time on demand using protocols like RDP (Remote Desk Top), which gives the user a local experience of high capacity. On top of this infrastructure other businesses deliver application functionality at the same ultra large scale. Amortizations are spread over huge amounts of users world wide connected over the Internet.
In every enterprise time-to-market as well as IT-costs are continuously under pressure. As emerging new businesses promise - and currently start to prove - to dramatically cut down time-to-market and costs, the enterprises' IT-departments must prepare for change. Although the change will be fundamental, it is not realistic to rely on a big bang.
To deliver application functionality and platform services to the enterprise, policies need to be established with regard to:
A. In-house delivery
B. Outsouring to partners
C. Consuming services from the cloud
During the next 5 years a hybrid situation will evolve with changing weight from A to B to C. Many organizations already witness the change from A to B, starting with consuming housing services and evolving to consuming hosting services.
To guarantee flexibility and interoperability in a hybrid context - which will last for a long time, if not "forever" - extensive platform standardization is required. Three subjects will dominate the CIO's agenda for the next couple of years:
- Platform standardization
- Sourcing strategy
- Commodity utilization
1. Platform standardization
Application platforms (a framework essentially consisting of Portals, ESB-s, DBMS-s, Application servers, Web browsers) and infrastructure platforms (essentially offering OS, network, storage and underlying hardware) need to be highly standardized in order to allow easy interoperability and scalability and flexible deployments. These platforms need to be based on open architectures to allow for seamless integration internally and externally.
2. Sourcing strategy
Delivery will be outsourced to specialized parties, whose core business is IT-delivery. The enterprise can take advantage of the competences and efficiency of scale of specialized suppliers. Focus will change from own in-house delivery to orchestration of delivery by multiple sourcing partners.
3. Commodity utilization
Platform services and application functionality is emerging from the cloud. PaaS (Platform as a Service) and SaaS (Software as a Service) will become available instantly on demand and on a pay-as-you-go basis with automated fast-scale facilities. Global scaling benefits of tens of thousands of highly standardized virtualized resources lead to huge cost reductions with hardly any pre-investment for the consumers. After a level of trust has been established with regard to performance, availability and security, enterprises will massively embrace these offerings. Small organizations and start-ups with little or no budget and hardly any legacy will be the first ones and are already consuming these services today.