"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
- Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC),
maker of big business mainframe computers, arguing against the PC in 1977.
Today, however, almost every home in every street has at least one computer (and maybe a smartphone and tablet!). In a relatively short space of time, we have moved from industry leaders not been able to imagine how important personal computing would become to computers becoming a pervasive, essential commodity.
In the last five years, as Cloud technologies have moved into the mainstream, the rate at which IT is becoming commoditized has increased considerably.
The latest generation of IT tools are 'born in the Cloud,' making them readily available to all sizes of businesses regardless of the size of IT budget. Enterprise grade IT tools which once gave larger businesses competitive advantage, no longer have the same impact.
With more companies moving to the cloud and embracing cloud technology it's becoming harder to leverage technology to gain a competitive advantage.
Here are my top 3 IT tools that once gave a competitive advantage, and were only available to the limited few with a big IT budget, but are now available to all businesses.
Ten years ago a business that needed corporate email were buying a server and some heavy-duty software, and then hiring someone, at considerable cost, to deploy it over the course of several weeks and maintain it in the long-term. Now, any business can acquire a feature-rich, enterprise-grade email solution in 15 minutes with just a credit card. Definitely now a commodity.
2) Video Conferencing
Once the exclusive domain of companies that could afford the expensive dedicated hardware solutions costing a small fortune!. Now a ubiquitous commodity. Not just due to the video camera that is built into laptops, iPads and smartphones, or free online services such as Skype, but due to that the underlying technology that drives video conferencing no longer is being limited to costly patent protected, trademarked software and devices.
3) File Storage and Sharing
Businesses have traditionally made significant and regular investments in file servers to centralize and control data and to give employees the ability to share files. Over the last twelve months, providers such as Microsoft and Google are including large amounts of storage space as part of their productivity tools. These tools include a wide range of functionality (much more advanced than the legacy file server), at a very low cost; now the once expensive server-based file share is a commodity.
So as technology becomes commoditized and cheaper, more business can adopt better technologies. Widespread adoption means that a company must derive a competitive edge from how they use a service rather than from just having the service itself. Hence the business must adapt to new ways of working enabled by cloud and change business processes to make the best use of cloud technology. This transformation will be what separates the winners from the losers.I believe that cloud aggregation is the key to this. Answering the key questions to the future success of IT procurement and use:
- How to manage multiple users with multiple cloud services from multiple vendors?
- How to enable usage across the organization and make sure the appropriate IT tools are available for all users?
- How to get best value from your IT budget?
Thanks for reading