Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Advantages of Cloud Computing - Part I

Sometimes swapping explanations for advantages can be a better way to get a point across.  Such is the case with a recent article that appeared at CloudComputing.sys-con.com.

The site lists the six advantages of Cloud Computing as:

  1.  Reduced Cost
  2. Increased storage
  3.  Highly automated
  4. Flexibility
  5. More Mobility
  6. Allows IT to shift focus

These advantages are meaningless unless we can put them into a context that can be directly applied to the convenience store industry in particular. What good is it to know about a new technology unless it can be explained as to how it can be applied in my environment? How will these advantages affect me? 

Part I sets the stage for a discussion. In Part II we’ll talk about the first advantage, ‘Reduced Cost’… and please, if you have comments or questions, asked them here. Discussions about new technologies give us all a free pass to appearing ignorant. Even though we have been involved in some form of Cloud Computing since 1990, we admit we enjoy a great deal of ignorance on many subjects, Cloud Computing being one topic where we continue to learn every day. There are no experts. Henry Ford said in his autobiography, “The minute one gets into an ‘expert’ state of mind, a great many things become impossible.” The fear of appearing ‘stupid’ in front of one’s peers is probably the number one reason people fail to learn, but if we don’t venture out into unknown worlds, we can only hope to be dragged alone by the herd, picking up the scraps as they are left behind.

Ignorance has its’ advantages. When I began programming computers in 1978, I learned by reading IBM technical manuals -an exercise akin to being strapped to a chair, having your eyelids surgically removed, and forced to watch 1,000 re-runs of ‘I Love Lucy’; but the one advantage I had, I did not know the rules that limited other, more educated professionals. Likewise, you may have a great advantage as well. If you are encumbered by the chains of being an expert in the mainstream philosophy of information technology you may have to work hard at putting your ‘engraved in granite’ opinions on hold and begin thinking outside the box, because everything you thought you knew about computers may be about to change.

In our book, “Turning Convenience Stores Into Cash Generating Monsters,” we talked a lot about ‘Technology Impact Analysis’, the process by which one maintains a constant awareness of new technologies that pose both strategic advantages and competitive threats. Cloud Computing is not just a new buzzword. It’s a game-changer, and not learning as much as you can might result in a deadly mistake. 


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