Your IT Department's Fear of the Cloud


Information technology is going through a tremendous shift in organizations. I'm not just talking about the technology per se; I am referring to a more challenging issue - that of the traditional role of the "IT" and its leadership That role in many organizations needs to change and how.

Used to be that the application of technologies in organizations required high levels of understanding around the technical aspects of it all. Think of the days when hobbyists would construct their own personal computers, ala Apple, in a garage. Like the Wright Brothers, IT required at its core inventors with detailed oriented personalities who had to focus on great minutia to get something to do what needed to be done. The benefits of automating manual tasks utilizing RPG or other code was low hanging fruit and a different paradigm than today. To realize the benefits of technology today in organizations requires a deeper understanding of its deployment. There exists a wide range of methods to achieve results more easily and more inexpensively - thanks to the Cloud. Hence this post and video.

I can tell you that the TRUE adoption of the Cloud is not what many in IT claim or represent it to be,. Cloud adoption is being stifled by IT leadership in many instances mostly out of fear. Fear of losing jobs; fear of being irrelevant; fear of the unknown. Business leaders need to GET THEIR HANDS around what the Cloud really is and start evaluating their options because in most cases the options are much more worthy of pursuit then they might know or are being told.  My partner Clint Lee brought the video below to my atention. It is an actual discussion in an organization between an internal customer and an IT leader. It is not an exaggeration.Watch it (pardon the expletives) and believe me when I tell you - YOU NEED TO EVALUATE THE REAL CLOUD. Feel free to contact me if you need any assistance.



The Cloud and Total Cost of Ownership

My partner and I consult with a variety of firms on the topic of cloud adoption. It is surprising how few really understand the strategic and ROI benefits of its application. Total Cost of Ownership is an important number to use when evaluating IT and in particular when comparing extant systems to cloud solutions. Often the thinking is that what an organization is using now is a better place than making a change - and the primary driver in most people's minds is cost. Utilizing TCO is the only way managers can evaluate apples to apples. Often there are apples to oranges comparisons and this is why more organizations aren't jumping into the cloud faster. They simply aren't doing the proper math to realize the savings.

My friend and partner Clint S. Lee recently shared this post on a new tool to help you evaluate TCO.

Use this interesting evaluation tool. See what your organization is missing by not embracing the cloud.


A Personalize Magazine for iPad - Flipboard

I've got an iPad and have enjoyed it - particularly when it comes to reading the WSJ, NYT or the various books I am reading. However, last night after a suggestion from my friend Clint Lee I got the Flipboard app (watch video below), a free "social magazine" that debuted to great reviews, resulting in a digital traffic jam at Apple's App Store that made it hard to download the program.

Wow. Now when I’ve referred to new business models that incorporate fresh ways of delivering content - this is what I was talking about.

So what is Flipboard? Imagine the huge list of updates and links served up on your Facebook or Twitter feeds transformed into a handsome, clean magazine format that is easy to peruse. Imagine that this "magazine" includes Web content of your favorite newspapers or magazines. Your tablet is now a personal, virtual newsstand.

"We thought the idea of a social magazine would be an incredible thing," said McCue, who sold his previous startup, TellMe Networks, to Microsoft for a reported $800 million. The iPad emerged as the ideal format. And it certainly helped that Doll was a prominent Apple engineer who had taught a popular Stanford class on iPhone app development.

The Flipboard app includes a contents page that enables you to dive into your favorite Web features with a touch. Pulling up the keypad lets you comment on articles.

Flipboard relies on an editing process that uses algorithms to update the news. Their recent acquisition of Ellerdale gives Flipboard a team of engineers focused on analyzing large, real-time data streams. Ellerdale co-founder Arthur van Hoff, now Flipboard's chief of technology, said his team provides a "back-end" complement to Flipboard's consumer-facing technology, playing a key role in providing users with the news that is most relevant to them.

Today an ad in Men's Health might look pretty. Now imagine that ad on Flipboard inspiring you to make a tweet or tap a "like" button. Now imagine an alert about a sale at a store near you. You get the idea.

Artificial Intelligence - It Isn't Science Fiction Anymore

Computer scientists have been pursuing artificial intelligence, using computers to simulate human thinking, for sometime and with little success. Recently, however, great progress has been made to create devices that can listen, speak, see, reason and learn. According to scientists the result is not only that artificial intelligence will transform the way humans and machines communicate and work together, but also that it will  eliminate millions of jobs, create many others and change the nature of work and daily routines.

Steve Lohr and John Markoff wrote a recent article in the NYT titled, "Smarter Than You Think" to learn how "AI" is progressing very rapidly and being experimented in the mainstream businesses today. Here is one of their observations:

The artificial intelligence technology that has moved furthest into the mainstream is computer understanding of what humans are saying. People increasingly talk to their cellphones to find things, instead of typing. Both Google’s and Microsoft’s search services now respond to voice commands. More drivers are asking their cars to do things like find directions or play music.

The number of American doctors using speech software to record and transcribe accounts of patient visits and treatments has more than tripled in the past three years to 150,000. The progress is striking. A few years ago, supraspinatus (a rotator cuff muscle) got translated as “fish banana.” Today, the software transcribes all kinds of medical terminology letter perfect, doctors say. It has more trouble with other words and grammar, requiring wording changes in about one of every four sentences, doctors say.

Watch this video from KQED on the latest in Artificial Intelligence to learn more. The tool will increasingly impact our lives more than we realize.

Intelligently Using Email - PS Connect & Gmail Contextual Gadgets

Last night my son brought to my attention a post by Dong Chen, of the Gmail Contextual Gadgets team.

At Campfire One it was recently announced that Gmail contextual gadgets will be released as a new extension point for developers. These gadgets can intelligently draw information from the web and let users perform relevant actions based on the content of an email message, all without leaving the Gmail inbox. For example, contextual gadgets currently available in Gmail can detect links in emails to show previews of documents, videos, photos, and more, right inside the messages.

For businesses, Gmail contextual gadgets can improve productivity by complementing email in a context-specific and actionable way. Appirio, a cloud solution provider, provided a demonstration of the potential of Gmail contextual gadgets and other experimental features
with their new product PS Connect:. Watch !

As Chen notes, "Soon we’ll be opening Gmail contextual gadgets as an extension for trusted testing by developers. If you have a good idea for this type of gadget today, please fill out this form. And for those of you who will be attending Google I/O in May, be sure to check out the session on building Gmail contextual gadgets."