The difference may only be a small ‘s' but the implications are definitely large. Over the last 25 years IT Services have grown into a massive industry that, in B2B terms, has outgrown the equipment market in terms of revenues. We have seen IT Services companies grow, some major computer manufacturers morph into Services companies while others died completely and a few hardware manufacturers emerge to dominate their particular sectors. Are we now witnessing another seismic shift in the global IT industry?
The IT Services industry has been based upon one dominant premise; that IT was a complex and a critical component of business advantage. The complexity demanded expertise that most companies struggled to acquire and keep themselves, and business advantage seemed to suggest that you needed something different from your competitors. Most business leaders understand how key applications support and help them drive their businesses, but nearly all of them see the underpinning technologies and processes as unintelligible, expensive and largely unappreciated necessities. Well, that is all about to change.
Despite appearances, revolutions don't happen overnight. The idea of IT as a utility has been mooted for almost a decade, and IT consumerisation was being talked about as long ago as 2005. 2011 finally looks as though it is shaping up to be the year when Cloud, "as-a-service" platforms and the consumerisation of IT will take centre stage, bringing with them profound implications for the way businesses acquire their IT and the way in which vendors engage with their customers.
Sure, there are implications; for IT governance, for security, for service level management to name but three areas, and we'll be looking at these as the year progresses. In particular I am going to be looking at the implications for vendors in a number of segments; first up is the providers of infrastructure services. How will one less ‘s' affect them?