Innovation without permission

June 30, 2008 at 11:09 am 1 comment

What a cool phrase…

Below, I cut and paste some excerpts from some interesting articles and sources on Software as a Service (SAAS) like Google Sites and the effects it is having on the software industry and the traditional role of IT in the corporation. 

The Big Switch, by Carr (Author of IT Doesn’t Matter) was an insightful book pointing out the similarities and differences between today’s increasingly wired world (as in the Internet and the Web and computing power) and yesteryear’s increasingly wired world (as in electricity and means of production and distribution).  Pointing out the evolution of electricity to a utility, Carr makes the analogous prediction for ‘computing power.’  And his arguments are persuasive.

Software as a service (SAAS) is making inroads into corporations, for example  With SAAS like…[companies] wouldn’t have to buy software licenses or maintenance contracts, or invest in new servers or other equipment.  They wouldn’t have to hire consultants to integrate their systems.  Their marketers and salespeople could simply launch their web browsers, click over to the site and start working.  All the software code and all their data resides on Salesforce’s computers.  And when the program needs to be upgraded, the new version simply appears….

Other corporate software as SAAS:  

·        CRM: RightNow Technologies

·        Managing personnel: Employease

·        Transporation: LeanLogistics

·        Business Intelligence: Oco

·        Banking services: Digital Insight

·        Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): Workday, NetSuite,,,,

SAAS sales are booming and will by 2011 account for 25 percent of the business software market.

As utility computing advances, companies will have to make decisions about what to hold onto and what to turn over to utilities.

Smaller companies will have strong economic incentives to embrace the full utility model, most larger companies will need to carefully balance their past investments in in-house computing with the benefits provided by utilities.

They can be expected to pursue a hybrid approach for many years…

In the long run, the IT department is unlikely to survive, at least not in its familiar form…. 

Business units and even individual employees will be able to control the processing of information directly, without the need for legions of technical specialists.

A related article from eweek by Rapoza

The rapid growth of the so-called Web 2.0 technologies has put free, powerful, and easy-to-use tools at the fingertips of everyone, including your employees. And outside of personal use, these services are also being employed to get work done in your company.

Workers are collaborating on data in Google Spreadsheets, chatting with a contractor on AOL Instant Messenger, or even using SAAS (software as a service) project management tools like Basecamp to complete vital projects. And in many if not all of these cases, these tools are being used without the input or knowledge of company IT staff (to workers, that’s the beauty of these solutions).

But this can cause problems for all parties involved. Employees who run into network or other problems that prevent access of now-vital services will find an IT department unready to provide help or support. And IT departments are now dealing with new points of access where malware can potentially enter the company and vital company data can potentially exit.

IT staff should make sure that external services are part of any discussion about application needs for employees and departments. User surveys can help with finding out what external services are being used, along with network tools that will display actual usage statistics.

External services and SAAS applications are only becoming more popular and are touching more and more vital company areas. If you don’t know what’s being used and who is using it, you can’t manage it.

And another eweek article by Donston

Web 2.0 is broadly defined as a category of products and a way of working that is collaborative in nature and provides an open means of sharing information. Products that fall into the Web 2.0 category include blogs, wikis, RSS and social networks.

According to the eWEEK survey, blogs and wikis are the most broadly deployed apps in this category. When asked which Web 2.0 technologies were deployed at their organizations, 49 percent of respondents said blogs and 48 percent said wikis. RSS came in a close third, selected by 43 percent of respondents.

Innovation without permission:  One of the benefits to many Web 2.0 technologies—or drawbacks, depending on how you look at it—is the ease and speed with which they can be deployed. In many cases, the IT department isn’t needed at all.

There have always been rogue implementations of technology in companies…. But today it’s much easier to do a lot more without the help or permission of IT….Think about the department in your company that’s using Google Apps to collaborate….No one had to ask IT to get those apps up and running.

….some Web 2.0 technology vendors that are pushing mashup solutions as a way for business users to augment or even circumvent IT and build their own applications.

That model, he said, is being driven by the “millennials” in the work force. These twenty- and early-thirtysomethings have grown up with the tools to set up their own networks, write their own blogs, create their own widgets and so on. They’ve never had to ask for permission to do any of these things and certainly don’t want to now that they’re in the workplace (especially when they may very well know more about Web 2.0 technology than many of the IT staffers).

The concept of innovation without permission surely sends chills down the spines of most IT managers.

The Web 2.0 apps most widely deployed without IT support and company consent? Blogs and wikis top the list.

An article from Chemical and Engineering News, May 26, 2008, “Up From the Desktops

The leading suppliers of personal and business information technology—Microsoft, Google, Dell—are making a move in the life sciences laboratory….with approaches that range from enterprise search, electronic lab notebooks (ELNs), and Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS).  Why?… they are on every desktop. They are on every document that opens.

It’s a good bet that anything that Google does will follow the SAAS example of Google Apps and Sites.  LIMS in the cloud.


Entry filed under: web2.

Wired notes How I Found Keeping Found Things Found

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