Interesting to read of Google’s launch of the ChromeBook.
As corporates migrate their applications to the Cloud can they move away from providing corporate desktops or laptops to the end user? Provision of these devices and their support is a major corporate expense. Could we move to a position whereby ‘the expectation is that if you want to work for us you need to manage your own connectivity to the Internet‘?
This position has to major attractions:
- end users can use whatever device they want to use
- corporates avoid the cost of supply and maintenance of a fleet of end user devices
- the end of the ens user support desk as we know it
Many end users are completely frustrated by corporate guidlenes restricting how they can use their device, which applications they can download and install, the fact that their work PC is way below the spec of their home PC fleet. In many cases we operate Lowest Common Denomionator type thinking – the advanced user is restricted to that the LCD can use.
Corporates struggle to manage end users and struggle to meet their expectations. And there is a vast range of devices: PCs, laptops, notebooks, phones.
Much of the technology is there to enable this move. Many of the corporate apps (or the apps required to do your job) can be provided via the cloud. There are many relevant and effective security solutions.
Who would support end users in this scenario? A combination of the end user, the cloud providers and, to some limited extent, the corporate. It requires a mind set change – it becomes the end user’s responsibility to be able to connect to various applications (whatever device she/he chooses to use). This drives a different experience for the end users, the corporate and the cloud provider. But in the long run it will result in corporates investing more time in delivering solutions and less time in providing ‘free’ support. If you require a car to do your job it is your responsibility to have a car, maintain the car and use it safely for work. Why not the same with end user computing? Fleets of company cars are the not the only model.
It has struck me that in most cases of corporates ‘moving to the cloud’ they are left with a certain amount of on-campus technology – and for many good reasons, including file&print, legacy apps not moving to the cloud, specific security concerns. But do the same corporates target the required savings – in terms of reducing the space allocated, the requirement for air-conditioning, decommissioning older servers? William Clifford address this very point in his article in Forbes. Savings do not just happen – they need to be targeted and managed.
Great report in the Irish Times today of Tony Connolly’s success in Australia in conjunction with Deloittes. This is the type of entrepreneur activity which can get this country back on its feet. Well done Tony!
I guess it’s challenging for all of us who have worked for the last 25 years. In my final year in Trinity College Dublin I was writing Assembler for the Motorola 68000 chip. The Mac was about to burst on the scene. Since then I have worked in a Professional Service Firm, my own IT consulting business and with a number of start up businesses.
Many of us have come to think of the business entity as the key business unit – be it a company, a group of companies, a sole trader, a partnership. And businesses do business with other businesses – ordering, buying, selling, etc. And each business operates to a set of standards – standards to meet their own expectations and those of their customers. Many of the standards are driven, underpinned or enforced by external agencies e.g. State, Professional bodies, Insurerers, regulators.
The web has had all sorts of impacts on business – the emergence of online B2B abd B2C, major reengineering of processes and business themselves, globalisation on a par not expected.
And now the web is throwing new opportunities and challenges at all of us. In fact one can only wonder if we had had this web 10 years ago what types of businesses would have been built over the last 10 years? Which businesses would never have existed?
Even back in 1984 in TCD we were collaborating – as we worked in a group of three students to design our basic computer. We also collaborated on the cricket field as we set traps for opposition batsmen. And we collaborated in preparing for exams – through sharing of lecture notes, etc.
But what we are witnessing now is a series of developments – Social networking, Semantic web, the cloud – which when combined mean that those who do not collaborate risk being eliminated. We have often discussed the importance of knowledge management within the organisation – even between partner organisations. However the tools beginning to emerge now promise to facilitate collaboration and knowledge management on a scale previously unimagined – right across the globe, the web and time. ultimately traditional business practices and structures must be transformed to enable society to benefit from what’s beginning to happen.
McKinsey’s report of 15th April re cloud computing seems to be pointing out a few home truths re costs of cloud computing. In fairness there are now so many variations in cloud computing (and more to come) that generalisations become a little pointless. The Techcrunch review of the McKinsey report makes for interesting reading.
Seems to me that variants of the cloud have real appeal for smaller businesses, businesses not sure how much processing power they require for their web facing presences and business experimenting with new customer facing applications. Alos, wothout doubt, the ability to run ‘private clouds’ will have its application.
The offerings are global – and available (Amazon, Google, Salesforce, etc.). There are attractions particularly in terms of avoiding major capital expenditure, scaling the infrastructure investment as demand for the business application grows. The 'private cloud' is now also an option. There are concerns – how do I pick the right vendor, will it prove expensive in the long run? However it seems to me that for a country like Ireland and for entrepreneurs here trying to build out businesses to kickstart our serious challenged economy, cloud computing offers a great way to push forward, with limited capital outlay but all the scalability to build web/ global business.
Dion Hinchcliffe's well thought out piece provides a more comprehensive list of some of the pros & cons. Time to move forward.
Dion Hinchcliffe's talk at web 2.0 Europe
Dion reflects on the impact of 4 year's of web 2.0. He focuses on the move from 'push' to 'pull' systems. But much of the question is our readiness/ willingness to embrace and exploit the opportunity.
Who creates the value? (The network)
How much control do we have over our businesses?
How intellectual property works (creative commons…)?
Increases in transparency e..g in supply chain
Product development – we get that our customers tell us …but how do we listen to '000's of customers?
Operations – cloud computing
Interesting to think about the value proposition that is the data companies now. Would point business towards the unclaimed classes of data.
Tim O’Reilly (O’Reilly Media) gave a good key note at the web 2.0 Expo in SF, last month (see presentation). He has some tendency towards hyperbole e.g. in speaking of Web 2.0 using such phrases as: ‘a turning point akin to literacy, cities…’. However he has a number of well made and supported points.
The internet becoming ‘the computer’, the ‘global platform’, the trend toward the PC being just another device accessing the internet – is a valid observation. His phrase ‘harnessing collective intelligence’ has a powerful ring to it.
O’Reilly’s talk focuses on three ideas:
- Web 2.0 in the enterprise (enterprises opening themselves to the world in new ways)
- Web 2.0 evolving into cloud computing – the web becomes a reality for business
- The web, as an artifact of the PC, is going away
O’Reilly’s examples of the use of customer data by companies such as Google and Wesabe to provide relevant applications and services to their customers puts the gaunlet down to other businesses e.g. banks.