Gartner has identified 14 alternative delivery models that will completely transform the IT market in the next five years – and if IT leaders don't start using them, they may find themselves left behind by the business.
Advancements in technical areas are presenting a scenario that offers new ways to deliver, package and procure IT, and these alternative delivery models have the potential to dramatically change how IT is accounted for.
At the highest level, alternative delivery models are approaches to acquire, package and deliver IT in nontraditional ways. Traditional methods of IT acquisition and delivery are wrapped in well-honed internal processes whereby IT develops or acquires technology (hardware or software), deploys it, supports it and retires it.
Even when part of the IT service is outsourced or handled offshore, the provider runs the day-to-day service and may own part of the assets. The client IT function retains most of the risk and responsibility for the overall design and management of the technology lifecycle.
"Traditional practices of technology life cycle ownership, where the organisation buys, configures, manages, optimises and retires technology for its own use, are being questioned as to their efficiency and effectiveness, so alternative delivery models for technology and services are emerging," says Mark Margevicius, research vice-president at Gartner.
"Alternative delivery and acquisition models include new channels for acquisition, use and payment. In some organisations, alternative models involve only users
and business units, bypassing the IT function.
"Market excitement over Web platforms, software as a service (SaaS) and other IT utility services will only intensify, and this will increase business buyers' appetite for these new options and services. During the next five years, a broad set of new and alternative IT delivery models – already used by aggressive Type A organisations – will become mainstream."
Claudio Da Rold, vice-president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, adds: "Today's environment enables a level of IT decoupling and modularisation never before available. Technologies such as virtualisation and Web 2.0, as well as mobility and ubiquitous computing, allow for extraordinary changes in how IT and business services are delivered.
"This accelerated change and the associated market excitement will affect the business and technical spheres. Drivers in both areas are converging to create a new market order where traditional and alternative acquisition and delivery models coexist."
This is the first list of models that Gartner considers to be alternative in nature. The list will be modified as markets, technologies, processes and customer change. Gartner analysts said more-aggressive customers may already be using a given model for an extended period of time, and as such, may view that model as traditional. For the most part, these "outliers of adoption" are not mainstream, thereby warranting inclusion on the list.
The 14 alternative delivery models include: business process utilities (BPUs); infrastructure utilities (IUs); storage as a service; grid computing; communications as a service (CaaS); utility computing; capacity on demand; remote management services; SaaS; Web platforms; community source; software streaming; software-based "appliances" (SBAs); and user-owned devices.