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Business & ICT Trends, Applied to Your Organisation

Next generation Cloud Computing companies…

Posted on August 7th, 2012 by TimClaes

Next Gen Cloud Computing companies

It only has been a year since I’ve written an article about cloud demystified. It seems like yesterday, but, boy, how much has changed since then!

1. From hosting companies to the big cloud providers.

In the past for many years multiple ‘hosting companies’ tried to launch IAAS, PAAS and/or SAAS concepts, but they never really succeeded. Security was typically the number 1 issue. But today, now that the big players (Google, Amazon, Microsoft, salesforce.com) have been promoting cloud computing for quite a while now, the adoption level to cloud has increased drastically amongst organizations and security no longer seems to be a showstopper. It still remains important and companies still ask questions about local law compliance; but there is an important shift in mentality: “other enterprise companies are doing it, so why shouldn’t we be doing it”. Mobility seems to become the main business driver instead. (So a positive attitude instead of a negative attitude)

2. From technology to business.

The big cloud providers reached a mature state. Offerings in infrastructure, platforms and business applications become common practice. Everyone is doing it. (Which is actually becoming a new challenge, which supplier is the best fit for your company?)

Over the last 2 years people start to understand that the impact of cloud computing isn’t technology. The real impact is about rethinking what is possible when you run your business in the cloud. It is about agility & innovation. A statement I like to use is a misinterpreted statement from Darwin: “It is not the strongest that survive, but the once most adaptive to change”.

3. A new kind of solution provider gains market share.

In the beginning you had ‘isolated’ cloud solution providers that positioned a cloud solution next to a set of on-premise solutions. E.g. salesforce.com implementation partners that were positioned against other CRM players. Or google apps partners that were positioned against other productivity platforms. The answer of many product vendors was to come up with on-line versions of their on-premise solutions. Traditional solution providers look at these players as just another solution provider.

But today you have ‘integrated’ cloud solution providers that start from a complete different angle than the traditional system integrators. They offer a broad range of cloud solutions and truely build a “cloud-powered business” for their customers. The concepts of cloudsourcing and serverless enterprise are introduced. This is much more disruptive for the traditional ICT market (professional services). They build solutions around the complete cloud adoption lifecycle. In the PLAN phase they create a cloud strategy together with the customer, in the BUILD phase they typically migrate application after application towards the cloud and integrate different cloud solutions with each other. They even offer help to the customer in the SUPPORT phase in managing their cloud. User adoption and customer centricity are central pillars in the complete approach.

These solution providers typically are less then 10 years old, have a complete different way of doing business with customers compared to traditional system integrators, and are gaining market share year after year. On top of that they typically partner only with true cloud providers such as Salesforce.com, Google and Amazon, less with the traditional product vendors (such as Oracle, IBM, Microsoft…)

I’m curious how the traditional ICT implementation partners will react to these ‘integrated’ cloud solution providers as the cloud adoption will gain traction year over year. To be continued…

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Trends that shape the workplace

Posted on September 14th, 2011 by TimClaes

The High Performance Workplace

Multiple trends will influence our daily workplace. The digital workplace of tomorrow – or also called the High Performance Workplace – will look quite different than what we are used to today. The question will be how quickly will you react with your company on these trends on the high performance workplace?

Let me list some important trends you need to be aware of:

1. The Information Wave

Thanks to the internet we have an overload of information. It is no longer a question whether the information you are looking for exists, it now become a question will you find it. As we are no longer able to deal with these amounts of information, due to the lack of efficient filtering processes, people will start treating information in a different way. They SCAN the information, instead of reading it. Nowadays many people simply read the headlines and no longer dive into the articles themselves.

Also from a business point of view this will have an impact on our daily workplace.

2. The (social) Network

The social media tools are here to stay, so instead of blocking these sites from your company, you better start thinking about how you can use these channels in a positive way in your organisation and stimulate the on-line presence of your company through these networks. The social networks become more and more important for your organization to be top of mind. Especially if you know that the emotional driver of people is more important than the rational driver in their decision process.

3. The Digital Natives

“Je pense, donc je suis” from Descartes is re-invented into ”I share, so I am… on line”. A shift is taking place about the information value from ‘searching information’ towards ‘sharing information’. Other demographics like mobility, Work/Life balance and aging workforces are also important trends you could position under this same umbrella.

4. The Economy

A recent study from the New York times illustrates that the companies that are performing better than the rest have a few similar characteristics. They typically position PEOPLE and INNOVATION as important drivers for success. Needless to say that the high performance workplace is an ideal medium to support these drivers in your company.

5. Consumerization of IT

Thanks to Apple is ICT moving faster in the consumer space than in the b2b area. For the first time since decades. This brings a whole new dimension into our typical business and ICT alignment question. It no longer is enough to set up an efficient/productive solution, it also needs to be ‘sexy’, look good and very user friendly. The high performance workplace will be no exception.

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The “Presence” concept?

Posted on September 1st, 2011 by TimClaes

The Holidays…

Today it is the 1st of september. The holiday period is for many of us behind us. The kids go back to school, so time for me to go back to my ‘Trends Applied’ blogs. And what would be a better topic to start with than the “Presence” concept. I’m sure many of you have encountered similar challenges as I have during this holiday period. Trying to reach out for people that weren’t there, checking social media updates from certain people that were still showing their latest post and many similar situations where a good introduction of “presence” could come in handy. Let me elaborate.

The power of “Presence” in the high performance workplace

 The book “Employees first, Customers second: turning conventional management upside down” by Vineet Nayar clearly illustrates that our employees are our most important assets. Not only the managers, but especially the people in the field, the people who actually create value for the company.

It is therefore important to set up a high performance workplace for these employees, recognizing that each one of them has specific needs to realize the necessary results for the company. The “presence” concept is one of these needs.

Presence Concept

What is the “presence” concept about? Well, in essence it allows you – as an end user – to check whether other people in the company are available, busy or not on-line. This will avoid unnecessary e-mails to other people that are not available and help you to get in contact with the available people in an easy way.

Some tools – like Lync from Microsoft – visualize the “presence” concept simply by adding a green, yellow, orange or red bullet next to a person’s name.

You also have the possibility to link “skills” to people, and then the “presence” concept starts to get interesting. Imagine that you’re working on a certain task which requires an in-depth opinion about a certain topic. Then you can start looking in your organisation to the people who work a lot around these items. This last feature is in my opinion still undervalued and could help us in working better together more efficiently.

Another area where the presence concept is undervalued are the social media tools.

Should the “Presence” concept be integrated in social media tools?

Last month I’ve enjoyed my holidays and most of the time I was completely disconnected from the digital world. In the beginning it felt a bit strange, but after a while I started to get used to it, and now – to be honest – it took me quite some time to start off again. (I know… I’m a digital immigrant…)

But what happened now during the last holiday period? When I looked at my profile on twitter or linkedin for instance I noticed that my last tweet and my last activity was still present. So this means that during a complete month people associated me with my latest message. That is something to think about, no? Could the “presence” concept not be of help here? A simple ‘out-of-office’ message or something alike?

Anyways the “presence” concept is something people understand, but ’til now I must say that the potential behind this presence concept – in my opinion – is truely undervalued. It is not about inventing new thing, it is about using the existing technologies smartly together.

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