15 Jul 2011 Office 365 and the need for a new purchasing paradigm
Microsoft 365 is now out of beta and it promises to give google docs a run for their money. But what will the migration of desktop applications to the cloud mean to IT usage policies and what impact will this have for IT buyers?
There are some examples of companies saving $millions by moving lock, stock and barrel to google docs. It’s a no brainer isn’t it? Why pay Microsoft when you can work in the cloud for free? Well it isn’t quite that simple. There’s functionality issues, security issues, risk issues and as far as cloud services is concerned some fairly serious and complex commercial issues. When your IT infrastructure is outsourced to the cloud, housed on multiple servers distributed globally potentially, amongst numerous services providers, how many points of failure are there and have you got them all covered.
So moving to the cloud isn’t such a no brainer either from an IT policy point of view or a procurement point of view. But now that fully functioning standard desktop applications like Microsoft office is moving to the cloud how are you going to stop it?
Let’s step out of denial for a second and recognize that purchasing and IT usage policies rarely dictate practice. Today, for many people, owning a smart phone means that they have more technology in their hand than they do on their work desktop and businesses are increasingly recognizing that it makes sense to take advantage of this by allowing access to email for example via personal smart phones. How long will it be before workers begin to take advantage of their cloud based office apps to work remotely and access the same services from their desktop. It’s already happening of course and it’s forcing the hand of IT and procurement.
Rather than trying to dictate the pace of change, IT procurement need to adapt to this new world very quickly because change is going to happen quicker than they’d like. It will require a new IT procurement model and IT buyers will need new tools and disciplines to ensure that their company’s assets remain safe, that their users are property served and that they take full advantage of the new world.