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Cloud is at an inflection point, but let's get things clear

BusinessCloud9On behalf of EuroCloud, I've just posted over at BusinessCloud9's revamped site.  They've gone for a new, clean and simple style and simple logo, which looks good.  

My first post there explains that at the start of 2011 a number of things are happening in the market, and particularly the UK, that mean Cloud Computing is at an important inflection point.  The Cloud is about to become a mainstream approach to be considered not just by CIOs, IT departments of larger companies and the tech savvy early adopters, but for the average business woman and man in the street too.  They are on the receiving end of some significant new marketing of the Cloud topic: As usual we IT solution providers are too steeped in our own jargon and hype, and that makes us lousy at getting the message across in business terms.  Please go over and read the full post, ...
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More on that pesky "Cloud" term

I posted the other day on the multiplicity of Cloud definitions, and whether I thought the term itself is useful, or all hype.  Up in the North East, Adrian Pearson picked up on it and related to a story of being sold some telecoms technology with a cloud diagram and so concluded:
"David’s article reminded me that there is real practical benefit in being able to use a term like “Cloud”; to allow everyone in the discussion to make a mental note to accept that bit of the explanation as a “no need to go there” and concentrate on the more important stuff."
Dennis seemed to like the post too, and admired my honesty over admitting falling in to the jargon trap.  He followed that up this week with "Struggling with understanding the cloud?" picking up on some great satire and sarcasm on the definition thing.  Well, that reminded me of Larry Ellison's rant on the topic from last September.  He was at the Churchill Club, a kind of Silicon Valley insiders thing, talking to Ed Zander, when he went off the deep end, around exactly the same issues, saying:

"Cloud Computing is not only the future of computing, it is the present and the entire past of computing,  is ...

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Social CRM - the new rules

There are changes underway across the worlds of social media marketing, social media applied inside business (what some people would call enterprise 2.0) and  where these tools connect (or not) to the business processes in (Cloud based) CRM and ERP systems.   Products like Salesforce are adding Chatter, and Twitter connectivity.  Enterprise 2.0 tools that started as wikis or forums are adding micro-blogging along with more and more social functionality.  Content Management Systems are adding or acquiring a social dimension.  Marketing departments are struggling with, or looking for tools to help with, brand  reputation monitoring and management.  One significant segment of this change just got much clearer with Altimeter Group's R “Ray” Wang and Jeremiah Owyang producing Social CRM: The New Rules of Relationship Management.

R told the Enterprise Irregulars earlier this morning that this report is the culmination of 6 months of research, collaboration, hours of white boarding, phone calls, and skype calls in the early morning and on weekends working with an ecosystem of 42 partners.  The document identifies 18 use cases for Social ...
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EuroCloud UK members making sense of Cloud standards and security

The newly formed EuroCloud UK group held their first member meeting a week ago  at the Thistle City Barbican Hotel - a panel led group discussion on Cloud standards and security.  Chaired by Phil Wainewright, the panel experts were Dr. Guy Bunker, independent consultant and blogger, formerly Symantec's chief scientist and co-author of ENISA's cloud security assessment document, Ian Moyse, Channel Director of SaaS provider Webroot, and Adrian Wright, MD, Secoda Risk Management, formerly global head of information security at Reuters.  

In the spirit of cooperation we had invited Lloyd Adams from Intellect and Jairo Rojas from BASDA because we want to ensure that the three UK Cloud and SaaS vendor groups keep in close contact and try to coordinate their various deliverables and activities as much as is practical.  In addition we invited Richard Anning who heads the ICAEW's IT Faculty.  As I've reported before, Phil, Jairo, Richard and I have been in discussions, triggered by Dennis Howlett, about trying to achieve some form of pragmatic standard or quality mark on security and best practice.  We decided to use this discussion to identify if there ...
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Thingamy with ESME points to where enterprise 2.0 is heading

Yesterday I got the "lowdown" on how Thingamy, which Sigurd Rinde describes as a "Work Processor", has just been connected to ESME, the microsharing and collaboration platform.  I believe  the combination is a big step forward for Sig's solution, as well as representing one of several approaches that signpost the direction of enterprise 2.0, or enterprise collaboration for 2010.  It's all about linking collaboration to process.  

First let me disclose that, although we don't have a contractual relationship, we're big fans of Thingamy,  we've been playing around with the product for years, and we're on the look out to help and support Sig to find potential clients here in the UK.  Although the basic concept of Thingamy remains the same, the user interface and way you use and deploy the product have steadily improved over time making the product much easier to grasp than when we first met Sig back at the start of 2006.  

So what is Thingamy?  It's a product that addresses all of the things that any organisation does which are NOT  handled by their conventional business process based systems.  Sig calls these Easily Repeatable . ...
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Salesforce shows the future of enterprise collaboration - but have they got the branding right?

A month ago on Monday 7 December I was sitting in the London version of the CloudForce2 Partner Summit, and then stricken by a virus overnight, I watched Marc Benioff livestreamed for the 2 hours and 15 minutes of his keynote in the general customer session on the following day.   It sounds like he did a shorter, sharper version than his reported performance at the big Dreamforce show in San Francisco where 19,000 attended.  I've been re-acquainting myself with the Salesforce story, and considering whether my company and our Twinfield colleagues should become part of their partner ecosystem.   The combination of Force.com platform, combined with Salesforce applications, and partner applications makes a strong story.  Benioff was emphasizing companies like FinancialForce.com and Jobpartners who have developed their applications natively using their Cloud technology.  However, the big announcement was their new "Twitter and Facebook" style micro-blogging product and the addition of the Chatter Cloud, alongside the Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and Custom Cloud in their presentations and messaging.    I'm impressed by the functionality . ...
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Can Cloud vendors move beyond the terminology debate?

I recently mentioned Richard Messik's great post castigating Cloud vendors on their jargon overload in the panel discussions at Softworld back in October.  Over on AccountingWEB there has been some vigorous debate around the Cloud issues in discussion threads on whether accountants should be talking to their clients about Cloud Computing, the business case for SaaS, or the terminology itself.  If you meander through the discussions I draw three conclusions:

  1.  There is plenty of confusion about the terminology, jargon and marketing hype spinning around the topic.
  2. The debate goes all over the place, highlighting a definite need for education and resources to explain  the business benefits with more use cases and good examples.
  3. There is a group of anti SaaS/Cloud types on AccountingWEB (like many places elsewhere) who seem more keen to argue about semantics and jargon, rather than moving the debate on to business value.

Dennis suggested this is a self inflicted wound and highlighted how some vendors are avoiding the Cloud term.  Back on those AccountingWEB discussions, Gary Turner of Xero commented:

"I'm really struggling to find .. ...

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Is Cloud Computing at an inflection point in the UK market?

Something is very definitely happening in the Cloud.  There are too many initiatives together in the UK this month to be mere coincidence, so it's my belief that the topic might not be on the verge of going completely mainstream, but it definitely is at an inflection point and about to break out of what Gartner would call the hype cycle so that it becomes significant.  The upcoming Cloud Computing World Forum on the 22nd which I'm chai...