Organisations will have to rethink their entire business plans in terms of a shared network between employees, customers and partners in the next few years, according to Ray Lane, president and chief operating officer of Oracle.
But, Lane says, that doesn't necessarily mean they should install a mass of network computers.
As the leading proponent of the network computer, or NC, Oracle once urged organisations to abandon the PC model and install NCs instead. Lane said this week that any kind of device, including PCs, can be attached to the network, as long as data and applications are stored on central servers.
"This has never been about PCs versus NCs," Lane said, adding that Bill Gates is "naive" if he ever thought the NC concept revolved around the NC device.
Any kind of device connected to a network can be considered an NC, including a PC, Lane went on to say. The most important thing about the NC concept expounded by Oracle is that applications would no longer reside on the desktop and would instead be stored on application servers, connected to large central databases, Lane said. This is already happening in organisations around the world, he said.
"I don't see a lot of demand today for client/server applications," Lane said. In the next few years, all applications will primarily move to the server, with thin clients on the devices connected to the network, he said. "The term 'rolling out software' won't be used anymore," Lane continued. Instead, software will automatically be made available to users over the network.