Some interesting reading here on the idea of a business going “Bedouin” –that is going about business with as little fixed infrastructure as possible.
Distributed teams, electronic documents, minimal installed software and more reliance on hosted applications and services. Perhaps business will soon be decentralized and sort of nomadic. Employees will have a laptop, a connection to the global voice and data network, and access to company applications hosted on the internet (in the cloud). A physical address is merely a mailbox for old fashioned mail.
Well maybe we aren’t ready to go Bedouin in the extreme, but the reduction in overhead costs (alone) are leading us down this general path. Already we are seeing the emergence of Managed Service Providers. While a company like Salesforce.com can be considered a Managed Service Provider, there is also the Managed Service Provider that has evolved from being a Value Added Reseller.
Rather than selling value added software, hardware, and onsite services as traditional VARs, these Managed Service Providers are offering small and medium sized businesses the same traditionally in-house IT infrastructure in a hosted manner, for less. The services these MSPs provide include things like patch management (for desktops), network monitoring, remote backup, and storage.
There’s a lot of money in it (for now). Customers are happy because the hosted solutions are cheaper than the current prices for the in-house IT alternative and MSPs are making very nice profits on hosted services that are much cheaper to deliver than traditional IT services, software, and equipment.
Steadily we’re moving towards a hosted world of IT services. Services will become so good, and so transparent that many of us won’t be able to fathom the complexity of hosting IT in-house. Watch in the next few years as layer after layer of IT ossifies into a comprehensive stack of IT services that we’ll access as easily as we tap electric power by plugging a socket into the wall.