Monday, 29 March 2010

BPOS, some wild guesses

BPOS, as you may already know, is Microsoft moving much of its Enterprise stack to the Cloud. SharePoint, OCS and Exchange BPOS can provide these services as fully Cloud. This will directly go up against Google's Docs, Gmail, and Talk.

Given how poorly Google has done in the Enterprise space this may not seem like a very good idea. But Microsoft is going to really push this thing and from everything I can gather Microsoft sees it as the future.

So what does it mean, if it works.

For an Enterprise you are going to be buying IT services more and more as subscriptions. This just carries on the outsourcing model of the past 10 years to a logical conclusion. For companies it means you will not have to have in house IT staff to do collaboration and knowledge management, which is probably the way it should be.

For any in house IT experts left with their own little domains, you better hope you are nearing retirement or retrain, because BPOS could be the last nail in the coffin of what once was a very comfortable life.

As for the current ecosystem of small to medium gold partners around Microsoft? Well this is a open issue, but I would say they are also toast. BPOS and all Cloud are going to push for larger organisations with more leverage. And as the same service is provided to more and more companies firms will start seeing IT more and more as a commodity, requiring less customisations and alterations.

Traditionally software houses have seen themselves like doctors or lawyers. You come in and tell them your problem and they figure out some way forward. Doctors and lawyers also have a pretty piss poor record of results, cost an arm and a leg, and usually make excuses for any failure namely the client did it. Sounds like IT eh?

In the future IT is going to be more like car makers, TV makers, or clothing stores. You go in to the store, go to the item you want and buy it. Maybe you try it on or test drive it but essentially you know roughly what you want and you buy it.

This movement has been the trend for some time. Take for example clothing. Traditionally you had to go to a tailor to be fitted for most outfits, over time more and more clothing went to off the rack until today the bespoke suit market is tiny. Bespoke is constantly reduced more and more to items that simply can't be mass stoked.

Actually everything is more bespoke than ever. Just in time production means that more of what you buy is then built for you rather then sitting in a warehouse than it was say 20 years ago. The thing is that it is bespoke but not customised to much of an extent.

IT is going in this direction. Architectures will mostly be scaled and secured in the same way autos are painted and primed.

This is an inevitable process of the marketplace and unless the state steps in to impose an old fashioned process upon IT it will happen. Look even at professions like medicine. Doctors do well for themselves but the real money is made by the companies that make the pills. A pill is medicine reduce to pure commodity, and its where the real money is.

Now playing sociologist for a moment the result of this will be that there will be more really rich people in software in 10 years than there were 20 years ago. Not just guys who make it with start ups, but also people with skills around global deployments, integration, managing back end clouds, etc.

But the IT middle class is doomed. Thousands of jobs in administration, support, installation, and programming are going to vanish. This will happen as IT becomes more and more important to every day life.

The process will be similar to the industrial revolution. And there is very little anyone can do about it.

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