Are IT companies the only ones that can benefit from the cloud?


When I listen and read about cloud computing, the thing I notice is that it is all very tech centric. It is almost as if the IT business is the only one that can take advantage of this “new” technology that is at our disposal. But is that really the case or are there other beneficiaries?

As stated in my previous post on cloud computing (Is cloud computing leveling the playing field?) the IT companies, as well as, both SMEs and their bigger counterparts, can benefit from cloud computing. In reality, there are many more companies that can and will benefit from cloud computing. Traditionally, however, they lean on their IT partner(s) to get their IT landscape shaped and maintained. As long as they didn’t switch or saw the light it might take a while before the benefits of cloud computing will be obvious to them.

Customers of the IT partners usually have no interest in IT other than cost cutting and gaining functionality at high level. If they were tech savvy enough, they most likely wouldn’t need an IT partner to get their IT up and running and maintained. Platforms like BPOS and Google apps are starting to make their way to the attention of the customers, and are therefore gaining momentum.

The other cloud opportunities, like SQL-Azure and Windows-Azure platform, are not at that level yet. Once they are exposed to these capabilities it is my strong belief that it will drive their entrepreneurial spirit and it will drive innovation in their industries. Nowadays IT is a part of almost anything we do in life, but since the cost are still pretty high it is blocking innovation as well.

Cloud computing and the pay as you go billing associated with it will break down these barriers. IT will become the enabler of innovations beyond its own territory, which in the end will increase employment and drive economic growth. In the IT industry we have claimed for years that IT should be an enabler and not a driver. It however hasn’t been – and in cases where it has been, it was an expensive one.

It is my strong belief that many shelved ideas can be brought to life when the cloud benefits are exposed and shared with our customer base. The jobs of IT people will change from the geek that writes incoherent English in his editor to the business consultant with domain knowledge of one or more industries. He/ she happens to have incoherent English as an additional skill set to make computers do what the customer has dreamt up.

Business agility and innovation are the real benefits for our customers.  The customers in return will make our jobs way more interesting, because we get to participate in their domain and build a real partnership. I can see an exciting future that will be driven by cloud computing. Cloud computing without a doubt is a game changing shift. What the PC was to the mainframe, cloud computing is to the server / data center world and – who knows – maybe even for the PC in the longer term. The funny thing however is that the most resistance against cloud computing comes from the IT companies.

History repeats itself: the mainframe mini world also predicted chaos and anarchy when the PC gained momentum. We all know how that went…

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