Go with the (Cash Flow)

In an interview with Victoria Barret of Forbes this week, IDC Senior Vice President Frank Gens predicted that 2010 would be “a transformational year for IT.” In particular, Gens discussed a potential economic rebound that would see IT growth return to 2007 levels, and a technological renaissance of sorts – “the basis for new leadership around mobile computing, cloud computing and emerging markets.”

I completely agree with Gens’ expectation that 2010 will be a watershed year for priming the future of the IT sector, but not necessarily because of stellar software sales or a new widget. In the wake of a unparalleled recession, preceded by more than thirty years of vendor-driven autocracy, we’re now wise enough – and some would say disillusioned enough – to realize that maintaining a herd mentality when it comes to product adoption and deployment is counter-productive. For years we were sold on huge, enterprise-wide solution suites (ERP comes to mind) that sent our data to silos and hundreds of thousands of our dollars to vendors up-front, even though we knew inside that not all of these applications were necessary, that some of it was merely bloatware. We feared becoming beholden to large vendors and their suite upgrades but we went along with it because that’s just how it was.

Well, in 2010, that’s not how it has to be. Gens likened the old-school model of on-premise installations to pouring concrete and letting it set “for four or five years” as opposed to the cloud computing model, in which you can pay as you go, consume only the elements of a product that you feel you need and execute your company’s objectives with some degree of freedom. Of course it’s a monumental financial relief to not have to pay for unnecessary add-ons, but more importantly, using on-demand solutions is testament to our level of engagement in how we run our businesses.

The good news is that in today’s environment of cloud computing you don’t have to be a fortune 500 company with a multimillion dollar IT budget to get the benefit of the latest revolution in computing. All you need is a little time to put together the list of companies that best suit your requirements, a web browser and you can get started paying as you get value right now. If the past decade has taught us anything at all it’s that everything in IT is transitory – as soon as something is determined as the “new ideal,” it is on its way to being dethroned.

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