Over the last few years daily papers as well as weekly and monthly magazines and
the media have been heralding “digital U.S.,” “digital Europe,” and “digital Asia.”
America and most countries of the European Union are already wired. They score
highly on access to broadband, while Internet has become a household word. But
this is only part of the new environment that is evolving.
In the five and a half decades since the first commercial applications of digital
computers at General Electric’s factory in Louisville, Kentucky, we have passed
the stone, copper, and steel ages of computer technology. We have developed at a
rapid pace successive generations of hardware but at the same time hardly reached
adolescence in software development. Consequently, many user organizations have
found themselves in the midst of the software snarls.
Now we are entering into the software age. Programming products available
as commodity packages came to the market in the late 1960s and brought computer
applications out of boyhood. Twenty years later, in the late 1980s, software
was in its teens, thanks to the Internet. However, all this is past. Today, another
two decades down the line, adulthood may come to applications programming
through onDemand facilities, also known as software as a service (SaaS).
OnDemand is a generic issue in cloud computing; cloud computing is a strategic
inflection point in information technology. Not only applications software but
also platforms, infrastructure, and enabling services—in short, all four pillars on
which the cloud rests—may be onDemand, as contrasted to the onPremises practice,
which has dominated IT so far.