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Cloud Past, Present and Future

Cloud timeline

Cloud Past
Any fool can know. The point is to understand as Albert Einstein stated over 80 years ago. What started out as another major IT crusade started from a well understood position of technical positives but ultimately missed the point. You see Cloud wasn’t, and more importantly, isn’t about technology.

I was brought up with the message that experience is priceless and the great thing about the past is what we can learn but it only matters if we apply this. Very few journeys to new horizons can start with absolute clarity about the destination or what will occur on the journey. The point is we understand the purpose of the journey and what benefit it may bring to others. Whatever our purpose or focus from medical discovery, astronomical voyages or supporting the challenges we are presented with as a society, such as Ebola this year, Clouds have a greater purpose when applied if we learn as if we were to live forever.

Perspective remains one of our biggest challenges and we need to stand back more often than we do. In an ever-impressive world of posts and social media updates, it can be difficult to consider or even understand the destination or whom we can benefit. Stephen Sutton rightly touched millions of us this year, with his inspirational posts or Candice Curry’s “An Open letter to My Daughters stepmom” and many more. The point is the add perspective and help us understand more about ourselves.

Technically, Cloud enables. It enables us to do more, to help others and make a better world. In the past we have extolled the virtues of replacing CAPEX with OPEX, pay as you go, pay for what you use, bursting as needed and being evergreen. No matter what it is, you can have it “as a Service” but we have to give it a name each time. Let’s ask the question another way, what are we enabling and why but it must be as a Service.

Cloud Present
2014 brought us fabulous new, sophisticated eye wear, a new drone based delivery visionaries and wearable tech in abundance. It brought us UK floods like we have not seen in recent times, the highest level of parking fines ever recorded, more online mega named shopping days which we have already forgotten, till next year and a new wave of online security vulnerabilities!

The majority of e-commerce sites now operate in the cloud. Most of our personal data is stored somewhere in clouds as is every move and click we make. Wearable tech is great but how much do we want to and know is shared. Big Data is here, in every sense, analysing all our purchases and movements, our insane exercise patterns and driving journeys but what is the purpose. Once we move beyond the social media posts, tweets and followers, what does it mean and what actually is our destination and the true benefits we derive from this gift we call the present?

Well, let’s say we created a smart application that linked rising water levels to early warning systems for homes and businesses. What say we used location data to inform us of the parking conditions or terms based on our whereabouts? What say we linked the systems we are with, use and depend on with automatic updates to protect us. What say we electronically linked the sudden rise in reported medical conditions or humanitarian disasters anywhere in the world to government and awareness campaigns? Would this give us great purpose and meaning? Would it actually move us closer to understand how we benefit of the technology and how this can protect us? Of course.

So why not? What is stopping us in these applications to be better citizens? Might it be our application or truly understanding how we measure the benefits? It does not come as a service or with a funky LED output in front of us but it does have a point.

Cloud Future
So we need to establish points for Clouds. It must have a clear purpose. We need to help people understand this, What does it mean and where is it going? After all it is not how your start but how you finish.

2015 needs to add the 4 P’s. Slightly different from Kotler’s view but Cloud needs Problem, Purpose, Perspective and Points. In their January 2013 HBR issue of rethinking the 4 P’s the author’s challenged how trusted sources of advice and diagnostics must be reviewed. The point is we need to solve problems with Cloud otherwise it truly has no purpose. But we must begin with this in mind not technology trying to identifying problems to solve. This gives us purpose, and perspective for we can identify can we can resolve issues and how these benefit us all.

It is a really simple tool but it helps us keep it real and relevant. Unless we are applying what we know then it has no purpose or relevance for this is what people are purchasing – this is the point. Perspective comes from what we know, our experience and understanding. This is how we create the point of the proposal and proposition. What we present as the proposition is the proposal to solve the problem and the purpose of our products and therefore what our customer will purchase. We simply need to readjust our perspective to make Cloud real. No colours of the rainbow, no as a service, no named shopping days, just plain old simple perspective. So where’s the problem?

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Chief Technical Officer - Pulsant Matt graduated with an honours degree in Industrial Management and holds a number of other post graduate qualifications. He joined Astra Zeneca in 1994 and chose to develop his career in IT, working in several global consultancy roles within Microsoft and Perot Systems before joining Severn Trent Plc as CTO in 2000. Matt joined Digica in 2003 as CTO to accelerate the development of Mid-Market Managed Services; following the Computacenter acquisition in 2007, he became CTO. In 2011, he joined the Board at Pulsant as CTO.