I was born in the mid-80s. I started breaking down computers quite early and I had PSTN internet by the time I was 16 (having frequent arguments with my parents when they regularly disconnected me in order to hold meaningless important conversations with other members of our extended Greek family).
I witnessed all the various versions of Windows since 3.11. I loved the user experience each time there was a new version. Every time there was a tiny element going wrong, I’d format everything and start again. I wanted the computer to serve me and I would try to customize it with whatever I could find. I got “super-fast” ADSL at university. It was there I realized that the world was a much larger place than I initially thought. I was fortunate enough to experience the “download everything” revolution, where everything was available online. So besides downloading movies access to information, the internet brought something more. There was always an app. Something new and cool you could use to do something better. Buying stuff, selling stuff, downloads, P2P software, images, messengers, media players with codecs and subtitles, social networks and of course… drivers or software to be used with gadgets and devices (and didn’t we all love that great software that was outdated in five minutes*!).
Then there was the eternal frustration with tech lock-in. The TV that could read JPG images but did not play videos from a USB stick. Or the one that did not support the latest codecs. The different file systems between Macs and PCs. The different chargers for phones. The pptx and the ppt. The flac and mp3. MJ and Kobe.
But suddenly, some guys started getting it. Paypal (I guess) was the first, so you didn’t have to share your credit card details everywhere. Ebay so I didn’t have to look into specialty websites to buy used stuff. LastPass so I didn’t have to remember the billion different accounts and passwords I have and Xmarks with bookmarks. Digsby so you could connect to different IM networks. Evernote for note-taking. And then of course, Google, changing the game with its ecosystem of apps based on a revolutionary UX using a single account and one update or new app every few months. Facebook did the same, opening its platform so developers didn’t have to create accounts everywhere. Amazon selling via other websites. Now Microsoft is doing the same if you think about it.
There was also the smartphone revolution. An OS for the phone with all the above conceptual functionality. Nice. No longer did we have to painfully copy all those contacts from one make of handset to another because someone thought that the SIM card should have a limit.
Now how is all this relevant to Cloud you might be wondering? Well, I’m putting myself in the shoes of a tech decision-maker, or someone within a business that is using technology, asking myself:
Do I really want to commit to legacy technology that will only work with other technology from the same vendor, or am I going to consume technology and customize it a la carte?
- Am I going to use that cool new SaaS solution coming from whateverland that has this amazing new UX and new cool features so that my employees or me are happier and more productive?
- Am I going to offer an open platform for my developers that write code in agile mode to be able to create applications tailored to my business so I can deliver better and faster results?
- Am I going to use flexible ways to provision infrastructure on-premise or off-premise for my workloads, and be able to move things around if I want to?
Probably yes. And I don’t care if it is called Cisco or Salesforce or Gmail or AWS or Azure or OpenStack or _____________. I would want to pick the best from what’s out there to satisfy specific individual processes and then if something better comes up, I would want to be able to change to that. And in an open, connected world, it’s guaranteed there’ll always be something new and ‘better’ around the corner from some guy that happened to think about something in a different way.
No-one will get it 100% right for everyone because every business model and every business process is unique. But someone will always “get it” a bit more and offer something that solves a small problem better for my business.
And by the way, I also wouldn’t care if you call this cloud or digital transformation or IoT, it’s all tech to me.