Nick Carr and I agree on the concept of utility computing and how it should manifest itself in software and hardware as services. I disagree with him (like here) about the time to market. While utility/SaaS computing is the focus in his forthcoming book The Big Switch, I see tortoise like speed in the way larger outsourcers are deploying those models.
So he sees an industry milestone when Cap Gemini announces an initiative around Google apps. Cap briefed a few Enterprise Irregulars today, and I was eager to see how a major outsourcer has embraced utility/SaaS concepts. But I heard little of that. They emphasized it was less of a cost play, more of a collaboration play especially to bring "disenfranchised" employees on the shop floor and elsewhere for who no one licensed MS Office tools for. More about "innovation" in their desktop support practice, and expansion to handle PDAs and other devices beyond PCs.
Google Apps provide a bunch of functionality, hosting, storage all for $ 50 a user a year. Outsourcers like Cap charge that much a month for help desk, desk side type services. I was hoping Cap would tell me how Google has inspired them to change their own delivery model. But there was little of that. Like I have written about EDS before - little overt change in their own business model.
Two of the biggest spend categories in technology are in outsourcing services and in telecomm services. Vendors in both categories do not really innovate much but instead pounce on innovations in software, hardware to sustain their large revenue streams. Till that changes, Nick's vision will remain a stretch goal for the industry.