Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Gartner Asks, Can The Cloud Save The World?

I'm currently at a wedding, killing time reading various blog feeds. In that task, I just read a generally insightful commentary thanks to particularly ridiculous question in a post by Eric Knipp at Gartner. In the post he asks if The Cloud Will Save The World?

Initially I didn't see where he was going with this idea, spending a little too much time on his so called Killer [cloud] App - Application Platform-as-a-Service (APaaS). Moving to the good stuff, he points out that cloud computing is not "an easy button - in the abstract. Someone, somewhere, has to do heavy lifting in any software development endeavor to build a high-quality, high-availability, highly-reusable Web architecture."

I will agree, the cloud does not solve IT complexity, in a lot of ways it creates significant new challenges. Things like security, auditablity, governance and performance certification all come to mind just off the top of my head.

His next question / statement shed some light on his theory, aka my head node moment. "-- companies who learn how to screw down the cost drivers while simultaneously enhancing value drivers to satisfy customer needs have a competitive advantage in their industries."

Bingo. He's hit the nail on the head. Satisfying customer needs is a competitive advantage (finding simplicity in complexity).

So, how does this all add up to the Cloud saving the world? Knipp goes on to say "that as the world grows more complex, the only chance we have to head off the disintegration of modern society under the weight of complexity comes through technological leaps in the form of disruptive innovation. -- Could this new level of simplicity in complexity be the disruptive innovation that saves the world - or at least gives us a bit more time?"

I do enjoy a good news headline as much as the next guy, but I doubt the world will be saved by cloud computing -- unless your counting saving money and scaling your enterprise in the saving the world section of things we need to get done. Really what I think this new whiz bang buzzword does is give a more compelling / sexy technology topic to discuss at dinner parties and tech conferences. And for me that's good enough.

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