The Ebb and Flow Of Virtual Technology

The history of IT has ebbed and flowed from centralized to de-centralized models. If you catalog the events in from the early 60’s when everything was done on huge rolls of tape, to the 80’s when the pinnacle of modern computing was the AS/400 and green-screens, to the 90’s when the client / server model made it’s debut to today when virtualization is in full swing, you notice one fundamental thread. The best practices of how to best use the available technology comes from business innovators, not the technology leaders. While technology tends to be ontological, innovation tends not to be. Innovators spin ideas 180 degrees out of phase for what the technology was supposed to do and because necessity if the mother of all invention, a new purpose is created for the technology resulting in the early adopters profit. It is the innovators of impact and the business leaders who make the decisions about how technology can or if ever will be useful. This means that it takes thought leaders to capitalize on the opportunities that manufactures provide. The guy who sold Bill Gates DOS, simply had no vision for what it could be. So he handed it over for 40k…he sounds dumb, but he’s not. He’s simply a guy that got paid a (what probably seemed like ) buttload of money for something that he just loves to do, which is create. But those guys don’t rule the world. SaaS is no different. What was invented as a low-cost licensing model for standard fat-client applications has now become a way of life and the strategy of the hopeful to develop streamlined and agile businesses.

Isn’t SaaS just another technology?

SaaS can, and will be for those who use it, more than just another tool in the bag of endless technology, service and software providers. I say thatĀ SaaS is a lifestyle. To truly embrace all that SaaS can do, is to understand that the technological world is and always will be evolving. And if evolving, the future is somewhat unpredictable, but highly profitable for the prepared. Furthermore the technology evolution is not simply speed, or efficiency anymore, rather it’s the ability to capture the essence of thought, as opposed simply it’s output. As well we could say that it’s about how ideas are formulated and the capturing the mechanics of that process and replicating them all across the corporation. Tactically this is evidenced because the low per seat costing model allows for widespread distribution of more apps, leading to enhanced functionality and purpose. You also see this strategically in the SaaS delivered applications likeĀ Jive, Social Context, KickApps and others. Social networking is making it’s impact in this world by training users in the SaaS model without them even knowing it. When we participate in myspace, facebook, youtube or other user generated content sites, we’re in essence making a business decision that SaaS is in fact the lifestyle of choice. And what’s their goal? They want to capture you, and make you the center of attention. The beauty of these providers is they have captured the most idealic driver that motivates us all. Power, Freedom and Fame!

Now Innovate!

SaaS is much more than a model, it’s a way of thinking. Companies can now be deployed in an instant, no more huge office payments, duplication of technologies, entire IT staff’s to manage all the duplication…the beauty of this is that social networking is doing all the training for SaaS providers and they [the users] don’t even know it! As a business owner you now have the ability to execute your entire business strategy, manipulate it it, grow it, or delete it, with a few mouse clicks. The attraction of a franchise is that all the “how-to’s” of success have been thought of, written down and delivered to you, now all you need to do is turn the key and provide the labor. SaaS is exactly the same! The resemblence of this model and how it ties with Social Networking is that the best idea’s always bubble to the surface and as your business grows, so does the adaptability of your tool; simply because more of people in the business can be involved. That is to say, that when you live SaaS, you can evolve your business strategy to providers that fit your business rather than trying to make square pegs fit in round holes, or waiting till next budget season to forklift upgrade your hastily purchased, mal-fitting fat software while trying to figure out a way to extricate yourself from your hosting provider. Companies are no longer required to, and soon enough, no longer be expected to re-spend IT dollars trying to support the business idea that they had with wasteful and inneffeicient software or hardware. The same abstraction of value that occurred to the AS/400 market, when the speed and mobility of business outpaced the technology, is exactly what is happening to traditional client / server models or even virtualization farms is happening today. I can deploy an IP-PBX in 10 minutes, why would I ever consider buying one from a Value Added Reseller. This puts business owners back in the seat of running the business, rather than the technology running the business.

Small to Medium businesses that don’t convert their lifestyle to reliable SaaS providers for their technology are bound to be left uncompetitive as our world digital economy continues to evolve into a single organism, no longer constrained by borders, but by simply the amount of effort and creativity thought leaders can produce.

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