The cloud puts greater emphasis on the ecosystem. Gone are the days of the end-to-end provider, where you get everything from a Microsoft or IBM. Todays cloud-born companies find one solution to offer and do it well, such as CRM, talent management or cloud infrastructure, and they encourage their customers to build around those platforms.
What Taleo is doing is cutting edge. Ive discussed cloud ecosystems with all of the big players, and Taleo is the first one to emphasize the ecosystem as a social networking tool.
They wont be the last.
An SMB can access and afford an array of solutions that would make the CIO of a Fortune 500 company, circa 2000, green with envy.
The flip side is that even small companies must be tech savvy, Sheth of Google said. Even the local flower shop must have a web presence. Actually, pretty much every business must have its own website, or risk losing customers.
Certain verticals demand an even higher degree of tech engagement. Consider restaurants. It used to be that you learned about good restaurants through newspaper reviews or word of mouth. Today, word of mouth is synonymous with Yelp. If you have lousy Yelp ratings, youre in trouble. Many restaurant managers actively engage the Yelp community to keep their ratings up.
Meanwhile, if business dips, a coupon in the local newspaper will go unread. Instead, they must launch and manage things like Groupon campaigns.
In other words, cloud computing is making pretty much every worker a knowledge worker.
Instead, you can sign up for Amazon Web Services or Google Apps for your infrastructure and development. You can link legacy computing devices to the cloud to save on hardware purchases. You can pay for the software you need on the go, and whatever projects you cant handle in-house, you can outsource cheaply.
Todays bootstrap startup makes startups of the dotcom era look absolutely bloated.
Many startups arent even investing in office space in the early stages. Why bother when your co-founders and early employees would rather work from home anyway? With the cloud, thats not just possible but often an advantage.
The analogy I like to use is climate change, said Weitz of Deloitte. As the climate changes, different breeds of animal prosper. Others go extinct. Over the last couple of years, we have seen established players realize they have to evolve. Theyve gone through the classic stages of denial, recognition and acknowledgement.
Today, every tech vendor has a cloud plan. You couldnt say that even a year ago.
Each tech revolution brings with it new behemoths, while old ones fade. IBM never recaptured the dominance it had in the mainframe days. Microsoft has lost ground to Google, which, in turn, is being pressed by Facebook.
True, many incumbents find their footing and do just fine. IBM is still a bona fide giant. Microsoft wont go away any time soon. Yet, behemoths like Microsoft and IBM will find that they no longer have the power they once had. Because they have to maintain and support legacy products, much of their attention is focused not on innovation but instead on the status quo.
Compare that to Google, which to a certain degree has been a cloud player all along. Google is still only a fledgling player in the enterprise, but it looks to be much better positioned going forward than the likes of Microsoft, IBM or HP because it doesnt have nearly as much baggage.
Google also had the foresight to institutionalize innovation. Googles 20-percent time means that developers will try out all sorts of wild science experiments, such as self-driving cars.
In an era where startups can be successful in a few months rather than a few years, expect ongoing innovation to be one of the most important traits that the new breed of tech animal must possess in order to succeed.