SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Tom Nolle
Tom Nolle is the president and founder of CIMI Corporation and the principal consultant/analyst. Tom started his career as a...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Tom Nolle | December 16, 2011 |

 
   

A Tale of Two Clouds?

A Tale of Two Clouds? There's the "old cloud," and then there are applications that don't represent IT hosting shifts, but instead are stuff you can't do today but could do in the Age of the Cloud.

There's the "old cloud," and then there are applications that don't represent IT hosting shifts, but instead are stuff you can't do today but could do in the Age of the Cloud.

In the survey of enterprises that I did this spring, I attempted to quantify the cloud opportunity in a different way. Like others, I'd looked at how much current IT spending might be shifted to the cloud, and the number has been consistently about 24% of the total, a bit over $250 billion per year worldwide. Impressive to be sure, but is that the right perspective to take? I asked enterprises to provide some data on the applications of cloud computing that didn't represent IT hosting shifts, stuff that they couldn't do at all today but could see themselves doing in the Age of the Cloud.

This turned out to be a good question, as proved by the fact that enterprises told me they couldn't answer it within the survey timeline. They'd not considered it before, they said. They proposed to give me their answer in the fall, and they came through. Their number? Almost three times as much cloud revenue could come from new productivity-based enhancements. This assessment, if true, signals a potentially huge change in computing. It's almost like there have been two clouds and we've been watching the least interesting and rewarding one.

For the last decade, enterprise IT has been mired in a productivity slump. Never in the history of IT have we not ended one cycle of innovation (what we might call "the Internet Age" was the last one) without starting a new one. In each new cycle, new productivity benefits drive IT spending to grow much faster than GDP. In 2002, we ended a cycle of innovation at the bottom as always, and we've never gotten off it. For all the hype about clouds and tablets and changes, IT spending for the last decade has simply tracked the "average" level of post-WWII growth. At the best times of the past, we exceeded the contemporaneous track of overall growth by more than 1.6 times.

The reason for this detour into statistics is that in our survey, we found that the enterprise estimates of the "new" productivity opportunities for the cloud would be almost exactly the difference between a "good" technology innovation wave and the current trend-line spending. A lot of vendors will make a lot of money if the enterprises are right.

Another fascinating truth about these numbers is that they're based on the presumption of greenfield apps to support productivity. Infrastructure- or platform-as-a-service doesn’t create a new app model, it just creates a new place to run old apps. The "true cloud" apps will have to be a form of SaaS, which means players like Salesforce may have a major leg up on players like Amazon or even Microsoft.

There's another really tantalizing question waiting out there: What are these apps and what exactly is the implementation model for the "new cloud"? I can't answer that one because enterprises aren't very good at strategizing things that nobody is currently offering. I do think I can read a couple of facts about this brave new world into their responses, though. The ones that stand out are mobility and personalization.

Enterprises say that the biggest change in their productivity paradigm for IT comes because mobile broadband lets them push computing support to the very place and very time that the need arises. We don't have to run back to our desks to research something, we simply ask a question. That implies a lot more intelligence in the application architecture. We don't run an app (Google) and ask it something. Instead we ask something and the cloud invisibly runs stuff to answer the question. We're never aware of the process or even the processes that support it.

The personalization stuff arises because people have different skill sets and practices, and if you're going to push cloud smarts into their laps at their moment of need, you better push it in the right way. This has to be more than just mashups to make a worker-specific GUI, though. It's clear that enterprises see the worker having an app-like or Siri-like interaction with an appliance, which then delivers information. This means that the cloud has to understand context. If you think about it, the information needed to make that possible is there. Location-based services (LBS) can tell the cloud what customer is being visited, the calendar appointment can say what’s likely to be discussed, the organizational chart (and past practices) can alert the cloud to who the worker might be expected to collaborate with to get an answer or move the ball on a sales call...you get the picture.

Another interesting point about this is that the whole new wave of cloud-ness could be an overlay on traditional IT apps, even ones running in the data center. The enterprise may have shown us how to create a cloud vision that can jump over the pain of trying to induce transition of current apps--something that will be done only if extravagant savings can be proven. The "old cloud" actually lowers IT spending by shifting it to a cheaper platform. The new cloud raises it dramatically by creating new benefits.

Everyone is wondering whether 2012 will be the Year of the Cloud. I’m wondering which cloud it will be the year of.





COMMENTS



August 16, 2017

Contact centers have long been at the leading edge of innovation in communications technology, given their promise of measurable ROI and the continual need to optimize customer interactions and sta

July 12, 2017

Enterprises have been migrating Unified Communications & Collaboration applications to datacenters - private clouds - for the past few years. With this move comes the opportunity to leverage da

May 31, 2017

In the days of old, people in suits used to meet at a boardroom table to update each other on their work. Including a remote colleague meant setting a conference phone on the table for in-person pa

August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.