'Charge Back' a Key to Utility Trend
One of the key parts of the utility computing concept that many think will drive the trend is the ability to do "charge back," which allows IT departments to divide the costs of providing servers and storage among a firm's various business units. The big question is, will the concept of "charging back" accelerate the use of utility computing?
According to Fredrick, charge backs are already a part of IT today; however, he says, many companies just spread the cost across all the departments, with everybody paying into the pool. "This 'one size fits all' approach does not work well and sometimes fails to adequately support a particular part of the business," says Fredrick.
"It will become the business line managers, in conjunction with IT professionals, that will drive new technology adoptions and innovations to continually lower costs," Fredrick continues. "Charge back systems reward innovation and improve the return on technology assets."
However, with that said, Lauffin disagrees when it comes to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and says that charge back will not have any bearing on the progress. "Charge back is already an established protocol at most large companies and has been for several years," he says. "With smaller companies, the concept of charge back is irrelevant in that they typically have no capacity for it," he elaborates. Mussman agrees and says that the concept of utility computing will probably never be embraced by SMBs because they do not have the financial resources necessary to support it.