Is Salesforce.com already legacy IT?

The more I think about it, the more I feel that we need to rethink what “application” means.

The IT industry – and therefore “application” – has been defined by businesses’ need to acquire IT assets. The roles companies play in the industry have accreted around this need, as I’ve pointed out before{{1}}.

[[1]]Business models for the old rules of IT @ PEG[[1]]

The big shift we’re seeing in the market at the moment is a move from companies wanting to acquire IT, to a need to engage services enabled by IT. I know, for example, one airline that has externalised flight planning and pays per flight plan, rather than worrying about the tools need to support a team of flight planners. It’s a capability and process centric view, rather than a technology centric view.

If we follow this line of thought through then we quickly realise that the future of IT in business will be determined by the need to knit together a fabric of IT enabled services, many of which will be obtained externally. I don’t need a project portfolio management solution, I need a portfolio management capability backed by the tools and skills required to make it work. I don’t need a CRM solution (SaaS or not), I need a sales management and reporting methodology (Holden? Miller Heiman?) supported by technology to enable it to scale. It’s outside in thinking, rather than inside out.

What will the industry that accretes around this new need look like? If we look at many of the current on-demand / SaaS vendors, then they could best be described as enterprise software, but in the cloud!. Take the old model and make it multi-tennanted. We should probably call this Cloud 1.0 (where MySpace was social media 1.0). Cloud 2.0, however, will be something different and might be just over the horizon, rendering the current incumbents obsolete, legacy while they’re still young.

Posted under: Business-Technology, Cloud & SaaS, Strategy

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2 comments

  • Will Kriski on 2011-11-15 at 10:57 pm said:

    As an IT contractor, it never fails to astound me that companies continue to do IT projects themselves when it’s not their core business. They rarely have the competency and are often reinventing the wheel (same features as many other companies). It seems to be based on tradition but also control and security. Most clients also think they have custom requirements.

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