Daily Archives: September 19, 2011

The Cloud is Full of Sweet Fluffy Dreams

If you want to win favour with the doctor, this is a good way to start. Over in the recent edition of the SIG newsletter, Kent Parker, COO of Ariba, wrote an article on how the Cloud represents a more scalable, efficient way to do business on a global basis because it requires no software, hardware or resources to deploy and time to value is near immediate. However, he noted that these rewards can only be reaped if the organizations providing these networked community capabilities transform in ways that enable them to deliver products and services that meet a completely new set of business challenges and customer needs. Otherwise, the benefit of the Cloud will remain nothing more than sweet, fluffy dreams.

In the article, Kent presented six new rules that companies need to follow if they are to transform in a way that will enable them to deliver the products and services that are required in today’s knowledge-based network economy. The first four were quite obvious:

  • break down application silos
    the goal is to connect all of your applications and let data flow through the lifecycle
  • make innovation a constant
    customers expect improvements on a rapid timeline
  • focus on quality
    because, simply put, no one wants cr@p
  • stay agile
    or you will be outmaneuvered by your competition

However, the last two were not and keys to success in today’s economy:

  • overhaul customer support
    In an always-on community, customers demand immediate, proactive response to their issues, particularly as they impact business commerce continuity. But if you’ve outsourced most of the function of internal IT to an external provider, then you need to make sure the provider is not only offering the service level guarantees, but that it has the competency to provide the necessary support. In the IT world, system restoration sometime between 8 am and 5 pm on the next business day is NOT acceptable.
  • redefine customer relationships
    Go-live is the beginning, not the end, of a customer relationship. In a network-driven cloud community, customers and other participants require more continuous, ongoing assistance with enabling and institutionalizing business commerce capabilities. A company that offers a cloud-based solution has to be willing to continuously work and support the customer on that solution. Or the customer will go elsewhere.