Cloud Juice Hypothesis

Posted under: From the Blog 20th of April, 2010

After many hours of cloud fiddling, I am blown away by how much free stuff there is. There must be substantial available value in the cloud for organisations that can manage the conditions that cause precipitation of that value. And this is not a hopeful rain dance, more like a proactive squeezing out of the cloud juice. It strikes me there are several key factors – getting personal the way the cloud expects, using Boomer/Gen Y partnership, taking a lean view of the organisation’s real secrets and hence genuine requirement for confidentiality, among others.

Cloud services are mainly geared to the individual person and their needs, so taking organisational advantage requires cultural shift to get personal. To empower the individual to take responsibility for personal productivity and for exploiting the services available to that end. If uni students can use gmail, why can’t staff? With basic guidance individuals can access Gbs of free storage, and numerous general purpose services like email, calendar, media and other filesharing, personal profiling,  social networking and a growing raft of innovative others.

Cloud services are generally free and far superior to the equivalents offered by internal IT groups, due to the massive economies of scale of the internet. Save a few bucks but more importantly have staff accessing the latest cloud innovations. Have you tried Google Labs? Guidance to the more practical of these services and their fastest easiest use is the issue. My experience suggests leverage of around 60-1, ie it often takes about an hour (for a baby boomer like me) to work out how to do something that only takes a minute to do – ONCE YOU KNOW HOW. So how can we accelerate the transmission of this knowhow?  Where do we find the cloud tour guides?

Gen Ys have substantial practical experience with cloud services, but only superficially and without the Boomer’s understanding of organisation and management (of operations, services, projects, risk, etc). So one of the conditions for greater value from the cloud is a closer partnership between GenY with their  skills with the tools, and Boomers knowledge of the context for their application. A Gen Y can point me to the latest hot video conversion freeware without me needing to research. Hands up if you know what VLC is. Bonus points if you know the latest release. So there is a unique opportunity for reciprocal mentorship between GenY and Boomers. With my Boomer approach to risk I am able to build redundancy into my use of the services eg my gmail is backed up automatically by hotmail.

To get most value from the cloud, an organisation becomes a more open community of persons accountable for their productivity. At its core an organisation has real secrets about brand, IP, strategy, capabilities and other elements that differentiate competitively, and with their workers, cause revenue. Generally low cost cloud services are not secure, or handle security clumsily. To get the most out of the cloud, confidentiality should be seen as a cost that is only afforded where genuinely necessary to protect real secrets. Techniques like encryption, closed groups, even private clouds are all possible but add cost, or reduce economies to the use of cloud services which would often otherwise approach free.

Fastest takeup of cloud services appears to be in small knowledge businesses like consulting, marketing. So I am planning to experiment by establishing a small consulting business and running it entirely on free cloud services. Cloud Juice, or something like it, will be set up as its own identity, brand etc over the next few weeks, and use relevant available cloud services as  a free standing identity, linked to its community of workers and clients. Please let me know if you are interested in consulting services or this research.

More than enough for now. Please feel free to post a comment.

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