I am doing some research on a big contract the British government-associated educational consultancy Becta will be awarding in the fall, some details of which were announced July 7. The press release and backup documents said the procurement would:
Based on this breadth and depth, I thought Becta might introduce some new ways to acquire enterprise software (and I still hope it may). Any new approach would be meaningful for all large dispersed IT organizations in the 21st century. But my preliminary findings are that the Becta bid will result in an agreement similar to this one which was negotiated by the UK government for ERP, apparently for large organizations, and another similar agreement for enterprise software such as Becta wants for smaller departments and agencies.
If so, the UK approach is to acquire 21st century enterprise software the way software was acquired in the middle of the 20th century: Buy it from services and systems suppliers rather than software suppliers. I would rather see software acquired using a new approach: Make it as easy as acquiring electricity. (And some enterprising Becta bidder might still come up with such a proposal.)
You don't want to own your own dynamo. Depending on your size, you might have to have your own electrician on staff, but that's not ideal either. You don't even want to put up with the software equivalent of 15-, 20- and 30-amp circuits (or whatever the equivalent is outside the U.S.). That is, you want to do away with the typical need to use different technologies for personal-productivity, back-office and front/extra-office enterprise software.
You can call it "cloud", but 40 years later, I still like the term Utility Computing that some MIT guys came up with. In the 21st century, you want it all a plug-in away.