Friday, July 6, 2012

Exactly what is cloud computing?

“Exactly what is cloud computing? Can someone explain it, not in technical terms, but in easy to understand everyday language?”

A person asked this question recently in one of the forums that I subscribe to.  It must be a popular thought, because a number of readers eagerly gave responses.  Initially it seemed like it would be an easy question to answer. 

So I wondered why this person even posted the question, given the fact that if she is adept at posting the question and is listed as an “expert” in the forum that she must certainly have heard about Google.  So I typed the first part of the question in the search engine and it replied with 23,100,000 results in .28 seconds.  Kind of a lot of responses to sort through, so I entered the entire question and narrowed down the multitude a little.  Now there are 2,670,000 results in .48 seconds.  Imagine that.  We are so used to everything now, that it does not even surprise us that we can get millions of references to a single question in less than one second.

What is it exactly that she wants to know?

I noticed that none of the respondents bothered to ask “why” or any other qualifying questions to narrow down the possible responses.  How do we know what she really wanted to know?  How many times have we seen that the first question asked has little to do with what we do not know? 

The forum she is using is no doubt hosted in the “cloud”.  She also did not respond to any of the replies, so perhaps she was just using a timely topic or name-dropping to improve some ratings, someplace.  Then again in all fairness, if you looked at the responses, only one person even came close to answering the question in a human readable format. 

Even I was confused by some of the responses. 

In trying to help and prove what they know and to let everyone else know what they know, the people who responded must not have considered the second question part.  The part that says in easy to understand everyday language.  The one person who gave the best answer must have been a mother.  She used plain English and used an example that anyone could understand.  Of course it was not technical and there are a lot of other details that would be nice to know, but the person did not ask those questions.  She just wanted a plain answer to a simple question.

David Sandler was correct.  People are stroke deprived.  

So, what does any of this have to do with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions?  Well, all of it of course.  Many ERP solutions can be hosted in the cloud.  Whether this makes sense or not depends on a lot of other questions and answers. 

That is the most important point. 

Selecting an Enterprise solution requires time and analysis to define the business requirements.  Hiring a consultant or trusted advisor, building groups and/or committees, interviewing company personnel, narrowing the selection to no more than five contenders, then four, and then three from which a final selection will be made. 

Implementation is a big part of any solution. 

A commitment to your customers and suppliers is crucial and so is training.  What good is a great software package, if no one knows how to use it effectively?  What happens if you have a great solution and you lose half of your customers along the way?  Remember customers?  They are ultimately the ones paying for, well, everything. 

The solution must be efficient and effective to generate a good Return on Investment (ROI).  There are often many schedules and pieces that must be managed though a project management system so that nothing gets lost along the way. 

Remember, that just because your organization has always done something a certain way does not mean it is productive or necessary.  Who gets trained?  With today’s economy most companies have eliminated the slack and everyone is doing more with less.  Can you afford to not train those people?

Bottom line:  Questions and Answers. 

Do not go swimming without a lifeguard.  At Dolvin Consulting we work hard to make sure you have the right solution for your challenges.  Contact us today to see how we can help you find a solution that works.  We are here to help.

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