Sunshine on a Cloudy Day!

Sing along time:

I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day. When it’s cold outside I’ve got the month of May. I guess you’d say What can make me feel this way?
My girl (my girl, my girl) Talkin’ ’bout my girl (my girl).

I’ve got so much honey the bees envy me. I’ve got a sweeter song than the birds in the trees. I guess you’d say What can make me feel this way? My girl (my girl, my girl) Talkin’ ’bout my girl (my girl).

My Girl – The Temptations

A while back we covered  the topic “What is a cloud?”  For a refresher here is the link.

Since that time the term cloud has become quite pervasive in our society.  Apple introduced the iCloud and Microsoft’s Windows 8 commercials talk about why the cloud is very important to your personal life.  What exactly is the iCloud?  iCloud stores your music, photos, documents, and more and wirelessly pushes them to all your devices.  iCloud automatically and securely stores your content so it’s always available to your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or PC. It gives you access to your music, apps, latest photos, and more from whichever device you happen to be using. And it keeps your email, contacts, and calendars up to date across all your devices. No syncing required.  Here is a picture:

Why is this great for a consumer?  You no longer have to synch your devices to your home computer.  If you take a picture on your iPhone it is immediately available on your iPad or your Mac.  If you add a new contact, it magically appears on all devices.  Download a new song, movie, podcast or any other content from the iTunes Store and it is automatically stored in the “cloud” and accessible by you anywhere you have a wireless or networ connection.  Your stuff wherever you are. No longer a need for huge hard drive to store this stuff.  Put it in the cloud, access it on demand.  Very cool indeed.

What’s the big deal about cloud computing for companies?

Cloud computing makes it super cheap for anyone to access enormous computational resources. Rather than spending thousands to own your own computer and networks, you can rent all the power you want for however long you want, when you want it.  Companies can grow really big before they need to invest in their own data centers (Groupon started on Amazon), or they can quickly expand by putting a new service in the cloud. Examples include Pinterest, which uses Amazon Web Services, and LivingSocial, which uses Rackspace. Cloud computing is an internet-based model that does not bog down your server and no software installation is required.Some businesses offer cloud computing services whereby one may purchase only the services used.

What are the different technologies that are considered cloud?

  • Software as a service (SaaS): This is an application delivered over the Internet as a subscription. It is not installed on a company’s servers or on a person’s PC. When the term “cloud” is used for consumers, it typically means SaaS such as Dropbox or iCloud.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS): This is where you want to build your own cloud application but you want to rent everything you need including the platforms like Java, Ruby or .Net. Examples of PaaS include Google App Engine, Microsoft Azure, and’s Heroku.
  • Infrastructure as a Service: Here you rent the hardware (server with operating system, storage, and networking) and upload your own applications.  You share the hardware with other renters. You only pay for the computer resources you use. Amazon AWS is the biggest.
  • Private clouds: This means a company has built its own version of a public cloud to use for itself. When enterprises remodel their IT systems to the cloud,  they can become more efficient.
  • Hybrid clouds: This means that a company is choosing to store some of its applications in its private cloud and using a public cloud for spill-over. A retail company could, for instance, rent extra space on an IBM retail cloud in December when transactions spike. In the old days, a company would have to buy more servers to be ready for those spikes, even though they would sit unused for 11 months.

What’s next for businesses?

As IT leaders become more and more comfortable with the security in the cloud, large companies will be able to dramatically advance their customer knowledge and be able to communicate with you in a much more personal way.  For example, over many years, large retailers have acquired many smaller businesses that had their own technologies and customer databases.  In many cases, based on costs and internal priorities, many of these systems still run as stand alones inside of these companies.  Meaning, they have never been able to learn if you as a customer has transactional or loyalty relationships with other companies that they may own.  One of the first things that can be done when moving to the cloud is to develop an integrated customer data base from all existing companies within their portfolio.  This will start the journey of the parent companies having a 360 degree view of their relationship with you, leading hopefully to more loyalty and revenue from you.

Talk about transforming a brand with a negative image “It is going to be cloudy today” 😦 to “Use your cloud today” 🙂 – Now that is great marketing.

Enjoy the day.