Enterprise 2.0: How Cloud Computing is Shaping Enterprise Technology

The Enterprise 2.0 conference kicked off yesterday with some workshops, but I just flew in this morning and am at my first session of the day (although not *the* first session of the day), a keynote by Google’s Rishi Chandra on cloud computing. The same key message (buy lots of Google cloud computing 🙂 ) but some complementary points to the presentation that I saw by Matthew Glotzbach at IT360 a couple of months ago; considering that they’re both in product marketing for Google Enterprise, that’s not surprising.

The focus of the presentation is cloud computing, and how the trends in consumer applications are starting to bleed over into the enterprise world. Chandra discussed several trends in cloud computing for the enterprise:

  1. Simplicity wins, and applications that provide targeted functionality well are more likely to succeed than monolithic all-singing, all-dancing applications.
  2. Rise of the power collaborator, as the important things being done in many organizations shift from being individual efforts to team efforts. A key team member will be the well-connected collaborators who can leverage the skills of others to help the entire team to succeed.
  3. Economics of IT are changing, and many companies are looking at combinations of on-premise software and software as a service.
  4. Barriers to the adoption of cloud computing for the enterprise are falling away: connectivity, user experience, reliability, offline access and security are all valid issues, but are all being addressed. He made some great points here (with which I totally agree) about the illusion of security of your existing internal systems, and how better security be achieved by putting corporate data in the cloud for remote access instead of having it on an unsecured laptop that can be stolen. You already trust a variety of outsourced vendors with your data — payroll, legal, IT — so how is outsourcing your data and application infrastructure any different? In fact, it used to be quite common (in the days when everyone had a mainframe) for third parties such as IBM and many long-dead competitors to host many companies’ data centers.

I’m totally on with cloud computing: my email is hosted on Google Apps, and I backup daily to an encrypted Amazon S3 service. Although I would not be keen to have my laptop stolen, I had a moment a couple of days ago when my laptop spontaneously died, and I felt absolutely no panic about it. It turned out to be only a temporary coma, but I knew that I could recreate my working environment on a new machine in pretty short order.

By the way, yes, there’s free wifi.

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