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Re: IT Isn't (Just) Electricity

O’Grady, Gillmor, and Farber talked about the “IT is electricity” idea on the current Gillmor Daily. Farber has a good statement of the idea that goes (not an exact quote), “it’s not that IT people will disappear, it’s that they’ll be at a different location.” That is, to use the analogy, you don’t have the people who manage your electricity at the company, you have them at the power plant.

Certainly. SalesForce comes to mind. But my wondering still stands: will businesses be able to ween themselves from the level of customization they want in favor of the efficiencies of SaaS models? To use the analogy: in my mind, each company would want a different wattage for the devices they were hooking up to the grid.

Or, more likely, and getting back to the original point one company wants a toaster with two slots, another with 3, and some with 1. They all plug it into to the wall the same way, but they want their toast differently. So while you can get all the power technicians consolidated (thus saving money and increasing reliability through standardization), you’ve still got the problem of customizing how and why people are plugging their devices and desires into the wall. The same will hold for IT, except we might start just calling it “business.”

Categories: Enterprise Software.

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  1. I certainly would never disagree with you about whether there’s room for differentiation in the marketplace. But right now, a lot of that differentiation is happening on a client-by-client basis, rather than a marketplace basis; right now, if you want a 3 slot toaster, you go to Williams-Sonoma and ask a dude in a green apron where the 3 slot toasters are. You don’t call up Dualit and get them to make one for you.

    I think the fact that companies still *do* have to call up manufacturers and get customized software demonstrates some real immaturity in the marketplace; there are very few ways to get good information about everything that’s out there (present redmonk company excepted!), and we have a culture of wanting not to make do with anything that’s slightly out of line with our requirements We’re moving forward, slowly, toward a world where you shop around until you find a product with features you can live with and then buy (subscribe to?) that. But that’s not going to happen without a lot of resistance from the big software-customization houses that are out there. I think it’ll be a generational thing, with the people born in 1990 who have had access to the web and to web-based services since they were old enough to read truly driving the commodity-software-service market once they get old enough to make purchasing decisions for medium- and large-size corporations.