The cloud is not what you think it is

Talking with technologists, customers and business it seems that most of them are hanged up on the possibilities to save money by leveraging the price pressure that comes with hyper-scale. A valid reasons indeed. But what I see get’s lost is the possibility to disrupt their markets, to create new revenue streams and earn a buck.

Why the cloud is really amazing.

While Amazon started it’s journey into the cloud with Infrastructure as a Service they, Microsoft and others have not stopped with providing easy and quick provision of geo-distributed virtual machines. They have added services that gives businesses access to advanced platforms that would require huge up-front investments and long implementation projects would they build it themselves. For software as a service this even more true.

What is amazing with the cloud is not the cost cut that hyper-scale will give you, but the things you can do on a hyper-scale platform. Technologists should focus on creating services and applications that not only run on the cloud but leverage the possibilities it brings. What can you build with the power under your fingertips that you couldn’t before? What business models could follow?

Cloud as an enabler

9There are several services that rely on the cloud to realize it’s value. NetFlix are using more then storage from AWS, Skanska is utilizing Azure Service Bus and Electronic Arts extended beyond CRM with force.com service cloud. These are all examples where cloud services gave agility into the creation of these companies client solutions.

That this is disruptive to the IT-industry is evident if you discuss the term “rogue IT” with IT-departments. Today business can hank out their credit card and buy a CRM solution or Office suite without even involving IT. Consultant firms can offer to provide solutions as a service and circumvent IT all together.

For businesses this is a dream come true. IT is more often then not seen as a road block and most of us technologists have felt the frustration.

In the conversations I have with my customers today – saving money on cloud is not their main priorities. They questions they ask are things like:

  • “Can cloud help me come closer to my partners?”
  • “Can I be more agile and respond quicker to industry changes using the cloud?”
  • “Can I get smart insights on my customers using cloud technology?”

Admittedly, the price point of storage and virtual machines are extremely attractive. Moving machines into the cloud will quickly save money and this is easy to communicate. IaaS will continue to be part of the cloud offerings. But to enable new business models and new solutions that was not feasible before, this is where the true power of the cloud is,.

Earn money on the cloud

Start asking other questions. Ask the same questions as my customers do. Start to think about how architecture could benefit from actor-based programming in a cloud setting. What is it that makes media services appealing? How could the Azure service bus be a disruptor?

It is when you ask these questions that you will find ways to earn money for the business, not only save them a buck.