The conclusion of new research from T3i-reported on in this eWeek story-is that demand for hosted telephony and a menu of applications among various size companies is far greater than originally thought.
The report suggests that the increasing familiarity of businesses with software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms is an element in the movement. That makes sense. The re-emergence of SaaS (its first incarnation was as application service providers, or ASPs) and its success has convinced more people that various platforms and applications don't have to be fully supported in the corporate data center.
Acceptance of this premise leads to results that T3i got. eWeek says that IT and telecom decision-makers are growing more comfortable giving up some control and letting the hosting company bundle connectivity with other services. The study says that the way decision makers are approaching the subject in general is changing. The best evidence is this sentence, which groups hosted applications with two of the biggest current buzzwords:
The research found that the selection criteria for hosted applications has shifted with growing awareness of SAAS (software-as-a-service) solutions and cloud computing.
The bottom line is that various overlapping approaches -- such as host services, SaaS, managed services -- have been legitimized and now are respectable tools in the IT and telecom toolkits. It took time, but important steps usually do.
This CNET piece is based on an interview with Rajesh Jha, the Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Exchange. It delivers the same meta message: More companies are comfortable outsourcing mission-critical tasks. In this case, the job that is on the table -- e-mail -- is big. Jha seems to be protesting a bit too much about how Microsoft is comfortable with the move of many Exchange customers from on-premise to hosted scenarios. The most interesting single fact in the piece says is that the next version of Exchange-Exchange 2010-was developed first as a service and secondly as an on-premise platform.
The hosting sector-which had its annual conclave earlier this month in Washington, D.C. -- consistently makes news, though it rarely is dramatic. For instance, DoubleHorn Communications this week introduced Hosted Enterprise Email, which includes a variety of productivity applications, and FuseMail said that it would make a hosted archiving service available next month.
The hosting sector has been around for years. It seems to be gaining new life as even risk-averse IT folks grow more comfortable with the basic concept of letting go a bit.