By Narinder Singh
As Appirio turns 5 this week and gets ready to celebrate all the great news and customer success from yet another fantastic Dreamforce, we wanted to take a step back and comment on an important shift we’re seeing in the industry: talking about “the cloud” as the means to an end.
That’s always been true, of course, but for the past 5 years, much of the conversation in the industry has been about if, when, and how to “adopt” the cloud. After all, the technology of the cloud is a big deal. Its a massive shift in how enterprises consume infrastructure, platforms, and business applications… consuming them “as a service” instead of running in their own data centers. It’s just like Nicholas Carr predicted in The Big Switch— on premise computing is like generating your own power from a water wheel, cloud computing is like plugging into a power outlet.
Now, the conversation is shifting to where the real impact lies: how this new technology is used to change business. That shift is equally dramatic. After all, think about a factory that runs off that proverbial water wheel– it has to be located next to a river, it has to have pulleys strung everywhere to get the power to workers. That’s just like your business–in a million unseen ways, the constraints of on-premise technology are limiting what your business can accomplish. Plugging that old factory into an electrical socket (thereby “adopting” the cloud), isn’t likely to result in much benefit, because none of those business constraints have been lifted.
To take advantage of cloud computing, you need to recognize the ways that your business has been boxed in by the limitations of your old, on-premise technology… and break through those limitations. We call that process “building a cloud-powered business,” and its a big shift in how companies are thinking about the cloud. You’ll hear a lot more about this trend from us later on his blog, on our website, and of course, at Dreamforce.
That’s because a cloud-powered business is just different: The cloud allows your business to do more with less, and makes you agile enough to adapt to changing market conditions. Cloud technology makes information available to an increasingly mobile, social workforce. For example, Yahoo! used the social capabilities of the salesforce cloud platform to build a global sales community that people are actually clamoring to use. This is much more than just a technology change– you need to rethink what’s possible when your business runs on the cloud.
Building a cloud powered business takes a lot more than just giving your employees logins to cloud apps. First of all, you need to bring together your different cloud services, and integrate them with your on-premise systems. You need a cloud-aware, or even cloud-centric, enterprise architecture, where you think about the governance, compliance, and risk-management of your cloud systems. You then need to rethink your business processes, removing the constraints imposed by on-premise technology. Finally, you need to give an increasingly mobile, social user base access to these business processes on any device, in a way that fits how they want to work.
This is a pretty intimidating task for even the most enthusiastic adopters of cloud technology. That’s why enterprises are looking for help from a new set of partners who specialize in building cloud-powered businesses.
That’s what we do here at Appirio. We have what it takes to help enterprises build a cloud-powered business. We have partnerships with the leading cloud vendors– Salesforce.com is even an investor in Appirio. We have the technology required to bring these platforms together, including the industry’s first cross-cloud broker technology. We have the technical experience to architect your cloud systems, both internally through experience gained though 1000+ cloud deployments and externally through our developer community. We have the functional expertise to make these cloud services work for your business, and the innovation required to build solutions that people actually use.
The great thing about next week? You don’t need to take our word for any of this. The success of Appirio’s customers is being celebrated at over 40 sessions at Dreamforce. If you’ll be at Dreamforce, come see first-hand what a cloud-powered business is like.