Having IT Both Ways, You Bastards: Page 3

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It’s Getting Cloudy Out There

Small and mid-sized companies have embraced cloud computing for several reasons, including cost, flexibility, and the desire to define operational technology as a minor – if any – part of their core competency.

Even some larger companies have taken the plunge (or jumped into the ether) usually in pieces – a little SaaS here, a little HaaS there. One of the major strengths of cloud computing is the freedom it provides companies to think strategically about how they want to leverage technology. Instead of worrying about network latency and server maintenance, companies can focus on innovation, sales and marketing, among other revenue generating activities.

Picking from a menu is easier than creating one. Scalability is often just a phone call, text message or email away. The freedom from software maintenance, denial of service attacks, viruses and other operational headaches is a byproduct of cloud computing. Ultimately, cloud computing can save companies 20% - 25% depending, again, on the nature of the infrastructure, the number of users and the number of applications put to work. Time to plug into the cloud to see what it can do for you.

OK, so times are tough – and, candidly, they will get worse. Technology spending will fall dramatically in 2009 and maybe even 2010 and 2011. This is not a “normal” recession. We have been mismanaged by an army of greedy bastards who came close to ruining our economy. Sadly, this not only includes those who packaged and re-packaged (and re-packaged) sub-prime mortgages, but also the politicians who ignored the problems as they accepted money from any number of contributors interested in their re-election. It also includes the bastards on Wall Street who raped and pillaged the economy before and after the bailout. What a country.

The decrease in technology budgets is one of the many, many outcomes of all this accountability-free incompetence, greed, arrogance, and fraud that describes the recent past. Our industry will suffer for years because of what these bastards did and failed to do. Thank God that the dependency on technology has never been greater – so great, in fact, that no one can walk away from their technology infrastructures and applications and stay in business.

The challenge now is to make the right tough decisions in the right way, decisions that have two sides. The first side is about managing through this unprecedented crisis; the second side is about prospering when it finally ends. Technology trends can help with both sides of the equation. New delivery models, for example, can help us save money today and improve our efficiencies tomorrow.

Ending on an optimistic note, I’ve never seen technology trends able to simultaneously save money and make money in the short-term and longer-term. I’ve also seldom seem so much willingness to make tough decisions, though this may have something to do with how many houses are on fire.

Be careful out there.

Steve Andriole is the Thomas G. Labrecque Professor of Business at Villanova University where he conducts applied research in business fl‡ technology convergence. He is also the co-founder of The Acentio Group, a new economy consortium that focuses on optimizing investments in information technology. He is formerly the Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer of Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. and the Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President for Technology Strategy at CIGNA Corporation. His career began at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency where he was the Director of Cybernetics Technology. He can be reached at stephen.andriole@villanova.edu.

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Tags: open source, Linux, cloud computing, services, SaaS

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