Gartner IDs 14 Delivery Models that Will Transform IT

By Nicole Hemsoth

November 5, 2007

Gartner Inc. has identified 14 alternative delivery models that will completely transform the IT market in the next five years. 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. IT leaders must examine these models, or business units may implement these solutions without them.

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 life cycle.

Traditional practices of technology life cycle ownership, where the organization buys, configures, manages, optimizes 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, said Mark Margevicius, research vice president at Gartner. Alternative delivery and acquisition models include new channels for acquisition, use and payment. In some organizations, 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 organizations will become mainstream.

Todays environment enables a level of IT decoupling and modularization never before available, said Claudio Da Rold, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. Technologies such as virtualization 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.

The Special Report Alternative Delivery Models: A Sea of New Opportunities and Threats views these alternative delivery models, how they will radically transform the IT marketplace and the implications of an irreversible trend toward the industrialization of IT services. The report is available on Gartners Web site at www.gartner.com/DisplayDocument?id=529509&ref=g_SiteLink. This research includes the insights of more than 40 analysts and more than 30 pieces of research. A complete list of reports is available at www.gartner.com/it/products/research/alternative_ delivery/alternative_delivery.jsp

About Gartner

Gartner Inc. is the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company. Gartner delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is the indispensable partner to 60,000 clients in 10,000 distinct organizations. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., and has 3,900 associates, including 1,200 research analysts and consultants in 75 countries. For more information, visit www.gartner.com.

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