Cloud Powered Agility and Innovation

Robert Abbott of Norwest Venture Partners posted at Venture Beat saying, "companies with 50 to 2,000 employees — is a sleeping giant about to be energized by productivity-boosting software-as-a-service." And wrapping up with something I find particularly intriguing and have thought about a good bit. He called a a Bring Your Own Application (BYOA) IT culture.

At a macro scale this sensing of being energized is, to my mind, a point of maturation in the very broad migration to on-demand cloud infrastructure. This is not new per say. No matter what you call it, it began to really find purchase in 1999 or so with LoudCloud. Interestingly enough, it didn't work out as planned then and LoudCloud become something different. I still remember roaming through freezing data centers in Freemont in 1999/2000 seeing those big walled off LoudCloud areas. Yes, there are things that go further back. But, this was it for me. 

By way of real life and my own example of how cloud is empowering companies in very interesting ways, at my new company Ekho, we use:

Accounting = Xero (SaaS)
CRM = Zoho (SaaS)
eMail, File Sharing, intranet = Google Apps (SaaS)
Phones = Ring Central (PBX in the cloud, Hyrbid.. phones on the desk, software in the cloud)
FreshBooks = Time Tracking (SaaS, integrates w/ Xero)
Email List Management = MadMimi (SaaS)
DataCenter = Amazon Web Services (IaaS/PaaS)

Given what I am building at Ekho, reactive cloud native stream analytics systems, I'd say that's quite a virtuous cycle of cloud feeding cloud feeding cloud. At every turn we are using the cloud to build the cloud! This is one key part of what makes us Lean and Agile to a razor sharp edge.

I wrote in a post called, "Is SaaS Cloud Computing" in June 2008 that, "The most interesting thing about Cloud Computing to me is that it enables entirely new types of business to exist and be economically viable that never could have persisted before.  The economics changed and this is only the tip of the iceberg.  Fun times!" 

I think that gets at the heart of what Mr. Abbott is saying. I just went back to re-read some others articles I wrote a while back. They are relevant as well.

"Cloud Computing Impacts Technical Agility", Oct 2010

"Why Should Businesses Bother With Cloud Computing", Feb 2009 

It is now five years later and my how things have changed!

I started nScaled in 2008. I thought it was going to be a cloud services and brokerage company. I was wrong or did not sell it well. We pivoted quickly to what was essentially a vertically integrated Disaster Recovery as a Service stack building the IaaS (data centers), PaaS (storage as a service), and the SaaS (the cloud control panel). This was very interesting but not what I originally thought it would for sure. But, that's for another post

Ultimately, I could not agree more with Mr. Abbott. He is likely right and I would only say that this change is already energized. It has been building up steam for 13 years

Source:  TutorVista

Source: TutorVista

I think things are pretty energized at this point. I really hope we all have enough gas and fortitude to deliver to the maximum potential available! It's quite possible we are at the knee of the sigmoid curve though and we've only just scratched the surface. I hope that it true because if so, then this is the time when some incredible companies can be born! But notice, it's still UPHILL. So, there is a lot of good work to be done yet!