It's Time to Think Bigger When it Comes to Cloud
Insurance Experts' Forum, March 9, 2011
In my recent post on “Cloudify a Mess, Get a Cloud Computing-Enabled Mess,” we discussed the risk that new approaches to IT such as cloud may amplify or exacerbate existing bad management practices or dysfunctional corporate culture.
However, Jamie Gladman, senior partner at MyContentsClaim.com, begs to differ with this dire prognosis, pointing out that cloud has transformative effects that extend its value far beyond simply cutting costs.
“It's truly the democratization of the business Web,” he writes. While he agrees “that moving clutter from one closet to another you will still likely have a messy closet, the strategic importance of the cloud provides an opportunity to declutter and reinvent.”
Jamie is on to something.
Cloud computing is an enabler of entrepreneurship and organizational transformation. The ability to access and build sophisticated and scalable systems can help flatten the organizational hierarchy, and push decision-making down to the managers and employees who deal with customers and production on a day-to-day basis. Cloud services open up new possibilities and opportunities for developing an entrepreneurial culture within organizations, as well as spurring new ideas for start-ups. More than anything, such services are paving the way for the composite or loosely coupled company, which may be an entity that exists purely as an aggregation of third-party services, provided on an on-demand basis to meet customer demands. Most of these services will be passed through as software-as-a-service, both from within the enterprise and from outside.
Cloud computing is pushing some software vendors to change their models to component delivery, and makes plenty of room not only for small start-ups, but also for development shops within traditional enterprises that have great ideas.
Jamie agrees we're not thinking big enough when it comes to cloud. “If you are not measuring the probable and vast cloud assets such as improving the customer-connection, customer retention vs. acquisition, and so many others, then this is a short-sided view of its impending growth,” he relates. “Yes, the cost savings study alone should be enough to get ones attention, but virtualization of non-core apps, mobile-ready Web, customized/personalized user interfaces, innovating antiquated processes and allowing SMEs to evolve along with their customer's expanding social behaviors is without a doubt the future. What the cloud can deliver to a small and medium, as well as even some large enterprises, is the ability to improve the customer experience was once only available to the richest companies.”
Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.
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