Looking Ahead to 2005

Fast Company peers ahead and comes up with 101 ideas. “It may be convenience or transparency or a new way to think about strategy. We think you’ll see ideas that will help you change the way you work or how your company does business. In some cases, you may just be able to adopt the concept itself. In others, you may be inspired by the soul of it.”

75. Software Becomes a Utility

Imagine if we all had to pump our own water and generate our own electricity. Primitive! Yet that’s what we do every day with our computer infrastructure. Every business re-creates the wheel every time it has to tie its financial software to its customer software. Now it’s time to turn everything into a service. Leading companies pursuing this idea are Softricity and Grand Central Communications. Grand Central, founded by CNET and Vignette founder Halsey Minor, promises “integration on demand” for Web-based services by creating a shared infrastructure that everyone can tap into. Sure sounds like the power company, but considering that it’s taken five years for companies to get comfortable with Web-based applications for sales and support, only the bold need apply.

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