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Investing in Alternative Solutions for Delivering Technology




Feb 5, 2001


Don Britton

[Guest commentary from Don Britton]

While I believe investments should be made in alternative solutions for delivering technology, I do not feel that today's ASPs/MSPs can solve the issues faced by nonprofits. The problem with ASPs/MSPs is that they typically only solve one issue. That issue is a specific software application. Even if an ASP/MSP does provide the nonprofit with an application that they cannot live without, nonprofits cannot use it if their computers or IT systems are inoperable. Subscription Computing companies have started to appear. These companies try to further solve more of these issues by providing not only software applications but also Internet connectivity, hardware, support and more, all from one organization. However, today's Subscription Computing companies are not scalable and I do not feel they can cost effectively solve these problems to stay in business. Their solutions are infrastructure intensive, not centralized and very hard to maintain.

A project that I have developed over the past four years changes how we look at computing today. Today everyone focuses on the computer as the issue and not on the actual computing itself. What I believe will work is to take things back to the mainframe days, whereby all the processing is centralized and distributed through the Internet for multiple organizations. All the desktops become dumb terminals no matter where they are in the world and everything is centralized into one location except for the desktop itself. This leverages a qualified support staff and more, creating a scalable solution and large economies of scale. It also allows the use of any computer and other resources that would be donated to the nonprofit to run today's applications, even on a computer that is ten years old. The use of alliance partners can help organizations build a non-infrastructure intensive environment and effectively provide all IT needs at a very low cost. The main issue that still needs to be addressed is training the end-users to bring them up to speed with today's technology. An alliance partner could potentially provide for training as well. Although this approach solves many of the nonprofit's issues, the loss of control over their systems is an appreciated concern that will be alleviated over time as a relationship is built.

Don Britton
Network Alliance, Inc.

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