Has anyone else noticed that in high tech this is the $100 year? I’ll give you two examples of why that Franklin is the bill that changed tech for good this year. And I’ll offer up one idea why the next century note you spend may be the best IT investment you make in 2008 and the one that will drive the vendors crazy.
Remember the $100 laptop from MIT’s Nick Negroponte and the one laptop per child organization? Well the laptop in its current design costs about $200 and has received more abuse from the Intel’s and Microsoft’s of the world than even my poor coffee spilled, airplane seat crunched, slid off the Starbuck’s table Thinkpad. Sure it was too ambitious, incorporated too many new technologies, relied on government purchase promises rather than real money and was guaranteed to incur the wrath of Intel and Microsoft as the $100 OLPC went with AMD and open source.
But you know what? Along the way that $100 laptop changed the laptop business. Now you can get a really decent laptop for a couple hundred dollars, Intel and Microsoft are being dragged into a low end price war and those new screen and security techs pioneered by the $100 laptop are going to show up in all our systems. And that, my friends is $100 well spent.
Next up is that $100 barrel of oil. You can join me in grumbling about the cost of gasoline and government officials offering up platitudes rather than programs, but that $100 oil will change tech in ways only starting to become visible. Let’s start with tossing out all those racks of servers and replacing them with, what?, a mainframe. What about office parks offering you a common well built, protected server center as a new amenity. Or how about skipping the office park altogether and designing businesses to be based on workers operating at home rather than offering home-work as an option. Lots more changes to come but that $100 oil will be the tech driver in 2008.
And my final $100? How about this. While vendors have been falling over themselves to offer you virtualized hardware systems, the software side of the business is still stuck in license schemes from the last century. I don’t think you should pay more than $100 per user per month for all, and I do mean all, of your software licensees including email, remote access, CRM and security. That’s right, one Franklin per employee per month paid to one source. Let the Business Software Alliance chew on that idea for a while rather than putting up rewards for your users to drop the dime on you for being forced to use confusing and out of date software license programs. Where are the channel providers willing to take all the licenses for a business and wrap them up into one $100 per user per month deal. Franklin’s advice of a penny saved is a penny earned could be the best advice ever given to a software industry stuck way, way in the past.