the Cloud: time for some blue sky thinking?

By in cloud, general, management, strategy, Uncategorized on 16 September 2010

The Cloud. Oh, the arguments. What it is or isn’t, do we take it or leave it. How good or bad, how safe, how sound. Let’s look beyond the hype and bullshit see it’s effect.

As a strategist, I build jigsaws puzzles. Joining up all the pieces to find the whole picture. This time, I’m doing more. I’m trying something new.

I’m about to draw a picture beyond what we know and describe a world never dreamt of. Better fasten your seat belts, folks. We could be in for some turbulence…

Life without walls – and perimeters

Its easy to get hung up here. Public or Private clouds, Software-as-a-Service, whatever. Think about the disruption it will cause, forget the technology and why’s and wherefores. How will this change the way we work tomorrow?

To answer that, we have to look at the way we work at the moment and how technology has dictated and shaped our working day. No, I don’t mean just Information Technology, What I’m talking about is the technology and process of working itself.

The Big Picture – a new frame, different artists

OK. Forget about computers. Forget about applications, hardware, software and networks. That’s not why we work. That’s how we work.

Go back to a time before all that stuff. When we worked together. We met up in one place and there we built or sold stuff and customers came to us. We did this because we had to. We had to be together to do our job..

The age of the system

Systems are how we work. The processes. No, I’m still not talking about computers. I’m talking about the way we interact with each other to do our job. The instructions that tell us what to do at work.

Our jobs were designed around the location we worked in. Now that’s fine for the job itself, but not so good for the people doing the work. As we moved out of mills and factories, we moved into cities to find work.

We created infrastructures to support us, feed us and even to transport us back and forth. Just to get to work.

Now the computers come in

Computers and early accounting machines removed the need to interact directly together. We now had paper or tapped keyboards to change things from in preparation to completed. But still we did that in one place. Because the computers were in one place.

OK, on to the point of this. We’ve now got the Internet. The local connection is now virtual. Everything we do at work now is actually down a wire or across a wireless connection. Don’t look now, but we don’t need to go to work.

The redundant infrastructure

So what’s the point of that huge office building, the desks, chairs, front office, back office. Wait a minute, what’s the point of the business quarter of the city at all?

Now this radical. We’ve always thought of the Cloud as connecting to the Internet to do our processing instead of a data centre or server room. But its more than that. A properly designed and implemented Cloud infrastructure allows us to work wherever we want to.

So if you think about that, really, really think about that, it means there’s really no reason to travel to any central point just to work.

We can work from home, or in places that suit the group that’s working together. We could work virtually, or in simple meeting spaces when we need to meet face to face.

What I’m saying here is that we now have the possibility of companies being created that use virtual working environments totally. And without the need for office blocks and streams of workers filing fixed spaces, we don’t have the need for an entire infrastructure to transport them in on the 9 to 5 grind.

The real point of the Cloud

The Cloud allows the creation of a fully functional virtual working environment where we can solve the energy problems caused by two centuries of traditional working practices. What started with the mills and factories will finish with work coming to us, not us to work.

A Cloud prophecy – the death of Metrolis and dawn of Locopolis

It’s possible, perhaps its even inevitable that metropolis will be replaced by local working. Something we could call Locopolis.

Imagine if you could design a company without the cost of a fixed HQ office building, ever. What if your workforce could use the Cloud for all team, supplier and client collaboration. What would be the disadvantage, why couldn’t this happen?

Imagine that clear blue sky. Imagine the time of the Cloud.