The benefits of lock-in (redux)


* Apologies to those of you who RSSed an unfinished draft of this posting this morning. This was due to a lack of attention on my part *

I was musing during last nights upgrade to iTunes 8 of the benefits of ‘lock in’. If your company is using Microsoft Exchange 2003 + Office Outlook 2003 or maybe Lotus Domino 6.x + Lotus Notes 6.x you are lagging 5 years behind the curve. The future for you and your company is lack of access to resources from platform owners, business partners and market skills which in turn will make your environment less supportable, old-fashioned and potentially at more risk of failure.

Of course you could go for a SaaS solution and then be guaranteed to stay current with the rest of the world (or at least your host’s world). But in a environment that half the world is on, let’s say Google Docs, and Google gets a patch wrong (it happens), then half world looses connectivity all at the same time (some pressure to fix bugs!) or content is screwed up.
Lots of people worry about the mono-culture of Windows and the potential major points of failure it offers, but it is potentially just as true for the new kid on the block, SaaS. 
I suspect there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ here just different areas of risk.
The future offers us many exciting new models of operation and capabilities but just like the brave new world of ‘Windows’ in the early 90s, they all have their drawbacks.

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