Alarmist? Perhaps. Accurate? In one sense, but not in the most important sense. The Cloud is coming. Are you ready?
“Figures Don’t Lie” – Foghorn Leghorn
Consider the following true story: Company A and Company B are in the same business. Company A was formed in the 1990’s and has built a successful business and loyal customer base. Company B is a startup formed last year. It’s 2011. Customers everywhere are interested in saving money wherever they can. At the same time, no one is interested in losing value. One solution is to find companies that provide the same services for less money.
Company A maintains a computing center to manage email and financial data. They require three servers and networking equipment to accomplish this. There are licensing costs and backups must be performed, maintained, and tested. The servers require occasional maintenance and constant monitoring, so Company A has one full-time staff member to watch over things. In the end, Company A incurs an annual cost of $200,000USD for email and financial services.
Company B utilizes cloud services for the same functionality. They pay $25USD per month for email and $50USD per month for financial services maintained in the cloud. Licensing is included. Maintenance is included. Monitoring is included. Backups are included. The staff members work for the cloud services providers and Company B pays a fraction of their salaries each month. For equivalent email and financial business services, Company B pays $900USD per year. That saves Company B $199,100USD per year. Consider fifty 40-hour weeks comprise a work-year, essentially adding up to 2,000 hours per work-year. Company B can earn just as much as Company A while charging $99.55USD less per hour.
That is compelling.
The Cloud is a Game-Changer
When companies begin doing the math, pieces on the competitive game board move. New strategies evolve; some by initiative, others in defense. The new economics trickle through the marketplace and the game changes.
“What Do I Do Now?”
Many peers are asking this same question. Some out of fear, others out of concern, many are motivated by interest. In response, I borrow the title of the actual Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “Don’t Panic”. The game is changing, so learn the new game. There are two important truths to keep in mind about learning cloud-tech now:
- If you start right now, you are still early. This will not always be true but in September 2011, it is.
- If you start right now, it will be a struggle to get started. It’s easier now than it was in 2009, but it’s still not what one would call “easy”. This is a good thing. If it was easy, anyone could do it and everyone would be doing it. You will be ahead of the curve if you learn it now.
The cloud has a silver lining. But you have to be willing to climb the slope of the learning curve – even just a little – stretch, and learn something new. You can do it. And…
I Am Here To Help™
Over the next bit (that’s an intentionally vague Farmville term to describe an indefinite time period starting now), I will be posting a series of articles about using cloud-tech.
Change is inevitable. Change in technology, even more so. If I can learn this, you can. Let’s roll.