Software Trend-Watch 2: Rise In Business-Driven R&D

Cloud Computing Trends

In this series of articles we ask industry experts for their view on the key business software trends that will define 2012…

Get ready to embrace the power of failure.

That’s a hard statement to swallow at a time when the economy appears to be teetering once again. But, Steven Kane says, the Cloud puts hope on the horizon in ways no one has thought of before.

“The Cloud allows people to experiment with low cost, which means they can afford to fail over and over again until they stumble across the secret sauce that really makes them go,” says Kane, the Director of Sales at BroadPoint Technologies, a business consulting firm that serves more than 400 clients across the U.S. and in six other countries.

Experiment, Experiment, Experiment

Kane’s worked with hundreds of these clients, many of them non-profits. Up until now, massive amounts of money have been tied up in IT departments focused on simply keeping the company afloat. Accessing the Cloud means companies can now put their money either into experimentation, or in the case of non-profits, back into delivering direct services to their members.

“You could save a quarter of a million just on infrastructure costs by adopting the Cloud, and then that money could be spent on new projects with low investment, and low risk. And companies need to do that – they need to make lots of mistakes in order to find out what’s meaningful to them.”

Like Thomas Edison once said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found ten thousand ways that won’t work.”

Hunting, Gathering and Supply Chains

Kane says what’s challenging about the Cloud isn’t so much what it can do, but that so many people don’t realize they’re already using it. It’s a bit like today’s hunter-gatherer. We just head into the store to pick up our loaf of bread, eggs, and a few vegetables. Few consider the massive supply chain required to get the goods on the shelves.

Software is the same.

“Just look at the web browser. I’d argue that’s the most popular piece of software around, but people have forgotten its software,” he says. “When I presented a webinar on the Cloud a couple of months ago, there were about 50 people there. When I asked how many were using the Cloud, very few put their hands up. But when I asked how many had used yahoo or hotmail, nearly everyone said yes.”

With the web browser now entering its second decade, you could say it takes a generation to instil an idea into the mainstream before someone starts thinking – hey, we could try this. Kane believes this is what 2012 will be all about.

Paradigm Shifting

“What this means is that executives can quit thinking about buying software and doing an implementation. Instead what they can think about is: I’ve got this issue and who will be able to fix this.”

Kane says that forward thinking business will need guidance.

“At this same webinar I asked how many of the businesses there had a strategy for how to move their infrastructure to the Cloud. Very few did. How many needed help in doing that? 100 per cent!”

In thinking about 2012, Kane says, more than ever, businesses will turn on the dime.

“There is a whole component to the Cloud that is about fighting people’s habits and perceptions of the world and how things get done. It’s time to break out of that old thought process and unlock that new potential. Like General Shinseki says, ‘if you don’t like change, you are going to like irrelevance even less.’”

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