Let’s Not Take On-Demand for Granted

by Dave Hannon

July 19, 2011

By Dave Hannon


While watching Sanjay Poonen’s recent YouTube video outlining SAP’s portfolio strategy (after being gone on vacation last week, I had to find out what all the buzz was about), I couldn’t help but note the synergy between a core part of his message – the power of on-demand – and the delivery method he chose in which to deliver it – YouTube.

For those of you who haven’t seen Poonen’s presentation yet, take a look here. It’s a clear, up-front overview of SAP’s solution lineup, including a good look at where SAP is focusing its efforts going forward. (Fellow blogger Scott Priest wrote a great review of the presentation here on ILN as well.)

When Poonen describes SAP’s Business ByDesign on-demand product lineup, he emphasizes that it’s “possible for customers to use this as a platform to build their own applications or platform as a service.” Here, I think, he hits on the key benefit of on-demand: the ability to make robust technology more accessible and more manageable to a broader user base. It’s an area that I think, frankly, gets overlooked when we consider the major IT innovations in the past decade.

On-demand, I would argue, has revolutionized IT delivery so much that we’ve taken it for granted. We’re not impressed by it. We expect it. We forget that on-demand has really “Netflixed” the IT delivery game, changing the model and the way people look at IT, especially from a cost and ROI perspective.

For example, stop and think about the YouTube technology Poonen leverages to deliver his presentation. If I showed you the quality of this video 15 years ago and told you it could be accessed by anyone, anywhere at any time, no pauses, no glitches, you would have thought it was impossible. But today, we take YouTube for granted – we watch kids post videos before they can ride a bike. We just assume when we hit “play” that video will be there for us, along with any other of the thousands we can choose to play on-demand. Amazing.

But on-demand has not seen its heyday yet. It continues to advance into areas we never would have imagined and combine with other technologies to streamline IT even further. As Poonen points out, SAP’s Business ByDesign portfolio is focusing on specific business functions to provide the right functionality in the right model, and perhaps most amazing of all, integrate natively with on-premise or traditional applications – no “duct tape” required, as Poonen puts it.

So the next time someone asks you what’s had the biggest impact on IT in the past decade, sure you can point to mobile, and analytics blow us away, but I’d urge you not to forget the impact that on-demand has had, often behind the scenes, when you’re not even thinking about it.


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