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Q&A: Utility Computing To Reshape IT Industry, Pundit Says

The way companies invest in and use technology is in a state of flux, according to business pundit Nicholas Carr. His 2004 book "Does IT Matter? Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage" set off widespread debate about the forces transforming IT’s role in business. And in a spring 2005 MIT Sloan Management Review article, "The End of Corporate Computing," he argued that the way technology is now supplied to businesses is fragmented and wasteful and will be replaced by a utility model led by a small number of large, centralized IT suppliers.

Carr has appeared as a business commentor on CNN and CNBC and has been published in The Economist, Fortune, Forbes and CIO Magazine. He discussed the shift toward the utility computing model and its implications for solution providers in an interview with John Roberts, CRN editorial research director.

CRN: How far along is the IT industry in progressing toward true utility computing?

CARR: I've actually been surprised at how much progress has been made over the last year, particularly in the increasing acceptance of the idea of utility computing. There's still a lot of debate about how broadly it will actually be adopted, but there has been a lot of progress in software, in the recognition of software service as a viable alternative in some areas. There has also been progress on the hardware side from suppliers that are introducing new types of utility services.

So even though I think the adoption of utility computing by businesses will go fairly slowly--because so much has been invested in the old "own it ourselves" model--my own sense is that adoption might go faster than I would have thought a year ago when I wrote the article.

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