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An On-Demand World

By Alan Sears | Jan 23, 2011 | Business, Insights

Technology has radically changed our expectations of results over time, practically to the point where we expect instant gratification. We get our television shows and movies on-demand, we instantly tell the world what we are thinking and doing over social media, we communicate with our coworkers and partners on-demand over instant messaging, and we have on-demand mobile access to all these tools and applications on our smartphones. But much to the frustration of many CxOs, this technology revolution has been slow to impact the time to production of new services and applications their IT departments commit to spinning up to support the business.

Enter “the cloud.” Whether your definition of cloud computing involves software-as-a service (SaaS) hosted offerings from a public provider, or an on-premise private solution where a well-designed computing and virtualization infrastructure has abstracted the application from the hardware that serves it, the cloud has the potential to accelerate new service delivery for IT departments into the new on-demand world we live in today. Yes, consolidation of IT assets reduces operating costs, yes virtualization of servers reduces administrative costs, but I believe the true winning quality of cloud computing (public or private) will be its speed of new service delivery.

SAP’s co-CEO Hagemann Snabe was recently quoted as saying “On-demand has become more popular not because customers want to consume software over the Internet but rather because they wanted quicker time to value.” Many of us remember the quick ignition and almost immediate flame out of Application Service Providers (ASPs) in the 1990s. How was their business model any different from the SaaS offerings that are so successful today like salesforce.com? It’s not. So what has changed? Our perception of an acceptable time to value. Why wait 6 -12 months to order and build out a new server to run that new application when you can just provision another server instance on your public or private cloud and cut that time down to days or weeks? Our instant world of texting, smartphones, mobile applications, instant messaging, and social media has created our need for on-demand IT solutions. And cloud computing is here to stay.

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