It seems like Software as a Service is finally come of age. All the major vendors are offering their enterprise software in ‘on-demand’ versions. And there is a whole host of companies developing applications that were designed to be delivered on-line, along with consulting groups focussing on configuring those applications and integrating them with in-house applications. Telstra and NEC are both launching SaaS offerings, with single sign on to multiple applications. And even companies like Amazon now offer platforms as a service (PaaS), allowing you to subscribe to the use of computing power on which you can develop your own services and ramp them up as demand requires.
Just like in the evolution of the provision of electricity where companies built their own power plants and eventually bought their power from the grid, hardware and software services are migrating to a utility model, whereby users pay for the resources they use, rather than having to build all that capability in house where the capacity is often under-utilised and requires constant maintenance and upgrades.
What a massive change this will mean to traditional corporate IT departments in the next decade!