High Five – Cloud Computing Daydreams

From Bob GilesHigh Five from Handshake 2.0:

Reading Peter Fingar's Dot.Cloud: The 21st Century Business Platform Built on Cloud Computing felt like sitting in my car in a cloud of daydreams, waiting for the light to change, and getting bumped by the car behind me.

I didn't know whether I was safe, being assaulted, being joked with, or delighted that I wasn't injured.

Fingar spent about 80 of his 235 pages discussing what a "cloud" is.  A very specialized use of the word, a "cloud" nevertheless suggests the enormous scale and dynamic of his topic, a diverse, variable, present-and-rapidly-developing business platform that has within it more coordination, collaboration, and decision-making power than ever before.

Dot.Cloud suggests the business potentials ahead as the cloud develops. The cloud, as imagined, does not yet exist (maybe so on a small scale as "grid computing"); there are parallels and possible small models; it's a deeply (rather "multi-dimensionally") changed way of doing business.

Knik Glacier Storm by Dianne Roberson Hendrix - Used with permission
Knik Glacier Storm by Dianne Roberson Hendrix @alaskaartist
(Used with permission)

That changed way includes putting the customer at the center of the total system (all of the cloud), destroying current practices and organizations and flows of authority and control, and responding positively to globalization. It has to include a newly-designed platform of endlessly accessible hardware, software, and data, (machine clusters) – largely autonomous – for serving customers and collaborating with suppliers and other partners. Fingar thinks the cloud - a special combination of services, platforms, and basic computer work, and changed internal business operations –  will have an impact on society of the magnitude of the Internet. 

The fun of reading Dot.Cloud was in challenges like:  "…to realize the full potential of this new model, the technology industry needs to think about the cloud as a platform for creating new services and experiences that we have yet to imagine."

How can we build into our devices, networks, and software "a higher level of intelligence"?  Continuous analytics? How will businesses themselves be more like the technology itself, more adaptable, more interwoven, and more specialized? Fingar speaks of electronically-connected virtual project teams; systems that identify most profitable customers, accelerate product innovation, optimize supply chains and pricing, and identify drivers of businesses. 

Other challenging statements:  "Best-run companies [because of cloud presence and influence] are  no longer sellers to their customers. They are buyers for their customers, reaching out to networks of producers across the globe to deliver compelling value," and  "The learning process is, in and of itself, the ultimate business process."

Fingar moved from a technology bent to enterprise organization and administration in later chapters, perhaps more different and demanding than the technological changes imagined. He finished with 17 action ideas to consider for answers to the question "What to do?"  They substantiate an exciting mental walk in a cloud about The Cloud. I expect I'll be hiking there again.

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Thanks to Cameron Nouri of Mailtrust for his tweet:  "This is the best video I have seen to date on what cloud computing is (produced by Salesforce)."

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Robert H. Giles, Jr. writes High Five for Handshake 2.0, a business news and Web 2.0 services enterprise of Handshake Media, Incorporated, a member company of business acceleration center VT KnowledgeWorks. 

The opinions Robert Giles expresses are solely his own and are not necessarily shared by Handshake 2.0 or its clients, sponsors or advertisers. 

Feel free to follow Robert H. Giles, Jr. on Twitter @Bob_Giles

Robert H. Giles, Jr. is a Virginia Tech Professor Emeritus with a vision for a rural land management system.  He writes two blogs, The Survivalists and Faunal Force. 

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