I’ve been working to a model over the last year that considers how the emergence of SOA, web 2.0 and SaaS/Managed Services will change the way in which businesses are composed and executed. In order to address the timeless question of ‘how to start’ I’ve decided to pull my thoughts together here into a series of posts that address the thinking I’ve been doing. I’ll start with some of the key drivers that I feel are pushing us towards a sea-change in business models before going on to give my views on how the resulting shake out will coalesce.
Some of the key themes I’d like to highlight are:
- The importance of thinking about ‘services’ and ‘service provision’ at the business level and not just at the technology level; to me SaaS (and indeed managed services) are just a subset of the real emerging trend (i.e. the outsourcing of business capabilities to more specialised and focused providers);
- The increasing commoditisation and ‘infrastructural’ nature of technology – as we’re able to express business capabilities as consumable services we will increasingly want to buy business results (i.e. measurable outputs) rather than the underlying technology that we would require to create these outputs for ourselves. This will have serious implications for software and IT service providers (both internal and external); and
- The emergence of the Internet as a global service delivery platform and the resulting disaggregation of business types into those concentrating on specialised services, those concentrating on infrastructural capabilities and relationship enablement and those concentrating on helping service providers to be as effective as possible. I call these businesses ‘Service Providers’, ‘Service Aggregators’ and ‘Enterprise Integrators’.
The challenge for CIOs and their IT departments – as well as for IT service companies like mine – is to recognise the shifts occurring in the market and to remain relevant by helping our business colleagues source and integrate appropriate services from specialised external providers at the time of actual need. This increased level of abstraction is going to be a tough journey for many IT professionals given an ability to buy technology and services on a results basis. Hopefully I can give some pointers during the current series of posts to the way in which I believe these changes will play out and how IT stakeholders in particular can position themselves for the future.