Alternative IT: Software's New Reality

Oct 16, 2009


Oracle CEO Larry Ellison mocks cloud computing as typical IT trendiness—nothing more than a new name for processors, storage, databases, operating systems, and other software delivered over the Internet. “What are you talking about?” he shouted during a recent interview at the Churchill Club, captured on YouTube. IT’s as bad as the fashion business, he said: “Chanel last year had fuchsia; now it’s called puce.”

Yet there’s a very good reason that Ellison’s raising his voice. Something has changed in the attitudes of CIOs, something that starts with cloud computing but ripples beyond, and it’s happened just over the past year or so. CIOs are increasingly open to new, alternative IT operating models, which also could mean new vendor relationships.

A grinding recession, paired with new choices in terms of online software, mobile computing, outsourcing, open source, and more, opens the door to this change. In particular, CIOs are rethinking significant parts of their software strategies, considering alternatives to conventional licenses, maintenance, and fee structures, as well as alternatives to lengthy internal development cycles, complex customization, and long global rollouts and upgrades. All that rethinking isn’t brand new, but one suspects Ellison knows there’s a much greater sense of urgency among customers.

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