Recent reports from Gartner point to the shift of IT asset ownership from within the business enterprise to outside the enterprise, representing a structural change in the IT market, where IT is massively scalable, standardized, and delivered as a service, signaling the next generation of asset-lite computing. As such, organizations will not necessarily need to own and construct all the technical components (such as servers, PCs, networks, storage, applications) to gain IT functionality. Instead, IT functionality is accessed from a third party, in a similar way to how utilities such as gas and electricity are purchased. Under this utility service model, organizations will not own and/or build IT. They will pay strictly for IT functionality and/or its use.
The IT asset-lite trend contrasts to the traditional approaches that corporate IT and IT departments have taken in the past, typically involving internally owned/operated/developed technology assets (people and technology), usually customized to the needs of that particular organization. The emergence of outsourcing was the first step toward a more asset-lite approach, with organizations turning over management of IT to a third party.
According to Gartner, the primary reasons for the organizational shift to external IT assets include cost and resource efficiency, speed to access, as well as demand for scale to meet peak demands, and the flexibility to scale down. For certain services, IT functionality is most effectively or efficiently gained in a prebuilt way, but not necessarily prebuilt within or for the enterprise. An asset-lite approach also promises to make certain IT services more reliable and more affordable for buyers. Elimination of the need for the user organization to continue to invest in and customize solutions (often dependent upon a search for scarce and/or expensive talent) assumes an IT service provider’s nascent experience in investing in, developing, optimizing over time, and pricing prebuilt solutions and best practices.
In this coming evolution, organizations will also have the option to control technology assets that have left the enterprise; they will be able to buy specific IT functionality (computing, storage, applications) as a service, or fully functional processes (payment services, sales, expense reporting, accounting, CRM) as a service.
Essentially, Gartner analysts have identified the asset-lite trend in how businesses will purchase, deploy and care for enterprise applications in the immediate future as a buyer’s market, characterized by low switching costs, more choices from more providers, and an era of IT services delivery in which the enterprise owns its data and little else. This will free up assets for doing the things that the enterprise is best at—producing and selling its products— allowing matters outside of the immediate expertise to be handled by a supporting team of specialized experts.
LTI has an established tradition of accomplishing exactly what Gartner is suggesting, having successfully and consistently assumed the role of developing and maintaining computer systems for their customers, providing state-of-the-industry processes and techniques to increase customer capabilities while reducing cost and overhead.
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