One of the radical changes we can expect from Internet 2.0 is that business end users will come to expect IT to provide the same types of services to them as they do to individual consumers. I'm talking about things like an enriched and consistent quality of experience, and the ability to acquire, locate, or consume over any electronic channel (PC, PDA, mobile phone, etc.). It also means greater transparency and choice about service levels and, maybe most importantly, the instantaneous provisioning and delivery of content, information, and processing.
That's not what end users typically get from IT. More often, it's an inconsistent, static quality of experience. Access and services are limited -- maybe they'll stretch and offer BlackBerry/mobile email replication. There's no transparency, choices are limited, and cycle times are anywhere from days to months for provisioning and deployment of new information or content.
However, neither end users nor enterprise IT organizations should despair. The beauty and maturity of the Internet 2.0 phase of IT can help enable quick, radical transformation of the old model to a more service oriented, instantaneous, and flexible delivery of IT services.
The evolution of Internet-based cloud computing -- applications, information, and content services delivered over a secure, Internet-connected infrastructure fabric -- can incrementally be implemented into enterprise IT operations in the form of an IT Platform as a Service (PaaS).
PaaS is quickly gaining momentum in visionary organizations, where "abstraction" of the IT platform occurs for users, applications, information repositories, content repositories, and networked system infrastructure.
Organizations immediately begin implementing PaaS by adopting "interactive infrastructure" that includes dynamic application service management, grid management, service hubs, and utility instrumentation software -- along with "interactive experience" technology of rich Internet application run-times, virtual information or content federation, and dynamic search capabilities. Firms that standardize their platforms by inserting these technology capabilities as "fabrics" can immediately and radically transform their ability to deliver services as needed anytime, anywhere.
Adoption of this concept is happening in financial services firms today (always an epicenter for innovation and aggressive technology adoption) and in the ecommerce space, where Amazon, Google, SalesForce.com, and others are providing various ensembles of PaaS capabilities that enterprises are consuming, using, and enhancing for delivery of services to their users.
PaaS as an enterprise platform is going to be the way that enterprise IT is delivered, just as "electricity over the grid" replaced traditional power generation. The big question now is, will it be an internally delivered platform or something from an external third party? We won't have to wait for Internet 3.0 to find out.
ó Tony Bishop, CEO of Adaptivity Inc.