Yesterday, I attended one of the first meetings of EuroCloud. As you might imagine this is a Europe-wide organisation dedicated to promoting Cloud Computing. For purposes of the blog the cloud could be defined as 'available anywhere on the web 24/7' plus 'changes are made once, for everyone'. This covers everything from Salesforce.com to Google Apps.
In a CIO White Paper IBM discuss what the Cloud is. They seem very bullish about transition to web based services. In fact they report that in the Global CEO Study 2008 “Many [CEOs] see the necessity of capitalizing on new delivery channels made possible by the Internet. They are rethinking how they acquire and deliver services and where those services reside. Nearly three-quarters are looking to form external partnerships”
As you visit the 2010 websites for companies like SAP, Oracle and IBM you begin to realise the reality of these reports. More and more organisations are seeking to use the web to provide services. The change management issues are of course tremendous. The big question is ‘How do you shift to a new business model?’
One of the participants at the meeting who had moved their software business to a Cloud Computing basis while retaining the ability to sell licenses and services to those customers who still want them. The business units experiencing the fastest growth where those who had totally embraced the new model and stopped selling licenses. For decades organisations who have tried to ‘have the best of both worlds’ have landed up ‘having the worst of both worlds’. So you may need to leave the past behind and totally commit to the new.
One of the ‘rules’ generally of major change is you can’t build a new culture using the old ways of working. But it’s not that easy as Cloud Computing throws up issues like How do you deal with legacy customers? How do prevent your business being commoditised?’ How do you sell in an environment where customers are supposed to find you?’ But for sure the businesses who will be successful will be the ones who move as much as they can to be aligned with the requirements of the new business model.
Watch this space.