Monday, June 15, 2009

Eight ways that cloud computing will change your business

Eight Ways that Cloud Computing Will Change Business is a wonderful post by Dion Hinchcliffe. The synopsis of this article is that large businesses are laggards with respect to technology adoption for the simple reason that the cost of betting on the wrong horse is too high. However, sometimes new technologies are so compelling that this wait-and-see approach is trumped. According to the article:

"Cloud Computing is quickly beginning to shape up as one of these major changes and the hundreds of thousands of business customers of cloud offerings from Amazon, Salesforce, and Google, including a growing number of Fortune 500 companies, is showing both considerable interest and momentum in the space".

The article continues to spell out eight ways cloud computing will change business.

  • Creation of a new generation of products and services
  • New lightweight form of real-time partnerships and outsourcing with IT suppliers
  • New awareness and leverage of the greater Internet and Web 2.0 in particular
  • A reconciliation of traditional SOA with cloud and other emerging IT models
  • The rise of new industry leaders and IT vendors
  • More self-service IT from the business-side
  • More tolerance for innovation and experimentation from business
  • The slow-moving, dinosaur firms will have trouble keeping up with more nimble adopters and fast-followers

  • I have always argued that cloud computing will be defined by the bottom of the economic pyramid. Smaller businesses do not have existing and legalized corporate standards of quality, accountability, and security, and they can simply piggyback on the standards provided by the data centers on which they deploy. This provides them with a first mover advantage that doesn't waste energy trying to sell cloud computing solutions inside an already stressed IT organization of a large enterprise.

    Secondly, consumers in many ways are much more adaptable than enterprises. I am using Google or Amazon or AT&T but I don't get bend out of shape if my service experiences a hick-up. Take cell phone service: if you insisted on 99.999% availability, like many enterprise customers seem to demand, you couldn't use a cell phone. However, everybody agrees that a cell phone is a net productivity improvement. It is this consumer, conditioned by an imperfect world, that is demanding new services for their iPhones, BlackBerries, and Pres and is willing to take a less stringent SLA in exchange for lower cost and convenience. And there is a legion of startups that is willing to test out that appetite.

    Brand loyalty in this connected world is non-existent for the simple reason that most services are multi-vendor anyways. You get a Nokia phone on a Verizon network connecting to a Real Rhapsody music service to satisfy your need for mobility. I switched from Yahoo search, to Google search, to Microsoft search in a matter of minutes simply because either their UI and/or their results provided a better fit for my sensibilities. I find it wonderful that after a decade of technology consolidation and stagnation we are back to a world of innovation and rapid expansion of new services. And I believe that it is the consumer that will define these services, not the enterprise.