Cloud Computing is NOT the future

An interesting announcement from Rentokil today that they are moving 35000 users to Google apps… I think this validates that Cloud Computing is not a thing of the future, it’s here today and is delivering value to business right now. Too many people think it’s something that will be happening, sometime in the future…

cloud

Although they do expect to make significant cost savings, what’s interesting is that this is not simply about cost reduction. The fact that Rentokil is a global business, means that cloud computing can provide them with many advantages that may be difficult to achieve with “on premise” software, such as:

– global data distribution: when you log on from the office in Bangkok your user experience is similar to when you are back home in London (as long as the Office has a decent Internet connection) – because your data is always “close to you”. With traditional “in house” IT this cna be pretty costly to achieve because you need to replicate your data globally. In the Rentokil case, Google does the heavy lifting for them at a much lower cost due to their economies of scale.

– continuous innovation: with in-house IT infrastructure, any new stuff needs to go through a lengthy testing and deployment process before being rolled out. This cost time and money, and takes too long. With cloud-based apps these can be tested by the provider and implemented when ready, for all their customers on a regular basis. Typically, cloud vendors add in new features and capabilities every few weeks. Think about this in relation to corporate IT systems – what version of MS Office are most large enterprises running – Office 2010? Office 2007? No – mostly Office 2003 which is now over 6 years old.

– “innovation economy” – what I mean by this, is an economy of scale whereby all Google’s customers can benefit quickly, from new capabilities introduced to the product. Unlike a traditional software vendor, Google can quickly get a view of what is working well, or not-so-well, with parts of their offering, because everything is running on their infrastructure. Once an update or new feature has been tested and released, it is instantly available to all customers globally. It’s not something that an IT team has to concern itself over, so their time is freed up to consider how their business can use these new features, rather than just implementing them. Most “cloud vendors” have these short release cycles: Salesforce.com (cloud CRM) and DimDim (web conferencing)  release new stuff every month, blueKiwi Software (social networking for enterprises) releases new features approx every 2 weeks!

Here is what Rentokil says are the key capabilities for them.

  • Google integrated chat and video features to support training & improve productivity
  • Powerful personal and shared calendars
  • Consolidation and standardisation of a single mail system and address book
  • Improved collaboration within and between divisions and functions
  • Automatic email translation and real-time translation in Google Talk

The last one is very understated – automatic translation of chat is a huge thing for a global multi-national corporate. Now technicians in vietnam can chat with technicians in slovenia, both in their native tongue rather than a “corporate standard” such as English. Awesome stuff.

Anyway – it’s good to see these things becoming a reality TODAY for enterprise computing.

I.T. teams can no longer ignore that these things are happening – instead they must figure out how they should be using cloud computing in order to further the goals of their business.

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