Ovum describes this as "on-demand". Its model comprises three layers. First is the technology, ensuring the user has adequate computing, storage and other resources, to meet their fluctuating demand.
Gary Barnett, IT research director at analyst firm Ovum, said this uses technologies such as virtualisation and dynamic provisioning, but it can become expensive if the user is required to buy a four-CPU licence, just in case they have to use more resources.
Second are on-demand applications, which have not yet seen mainstream success. "We are quite a way off doing this [properly], as licences need to be addressed and products need changing," he said.
Third are on-demand business outcomes, where the user needs to solve a business issue, for example, accessing specific customer data within half a second." There are many ways of doing this, but commercial applications could be 10 years away.
He added, "There is a realisation that significant chunks of the IT infrastructure should be treated as utilities, for example, firms all need electricity. Once you've got your desktop PCs, there's not a huge amount that differentiates them. The one caveat is that if they break, they start to differentiate."