Does the cloud really bring that much value to me personally?  That’s the question I asked in It’s Good to Have Your Head in the Cloud(s) – Part 1 where I briefly explored the technology challenges that initially inspired me to explore this topic, and summarized what I personally require of this “cloud”:

  • Less of IT – Let someone else manage the technology.
  • Apps, Apps, Apps – Simply, apps that do what I need…finance, shopping, infrastructure maintenance, etc.
  • Works with My Stuff – Needs to work with what I already have in place (e.g. PCs, storage, etc).
  • On My Terms – Allow me to adopt only what I want and only when I need it.  I may be ready to shop in the cloud, but not do my taxes up there.
  • Stretchy – Scales to whatever I need.  With my wife’s HD video production business, I need to store huge amounts of data.
  • It Better Work – I better be able to access it consistently and reliably.
  • Smooth as Silk – It needs to work seamlessly with the way I live and work.  No more copying/moving/versioning files everywhere.

SAP has quite the cloud portfolio as shown below.  What if I used this framework to answer my question?

DoesSAPCloudPortfolioWorkForMe2.png


Dwayne’s Cloud!  Excellent!

It quickly occurred to me that I’ve been using the “cloud” for some time.  Remember bulletin boards?  Years ago, I recall using my super high-speed 28K modem to access bulletin boards and collaborating with users on topics ranging from modem parameter optimizations to video game walkthroughs.  But email was the first cloud service that I (and many others) used on a daily basis (remember those crazy Compuserve email addresses?).   Since those glory days, it’s been no turning back.

So I decided to use SAP’s Cloud Portal framework above and see if – and how – my personal adoption of the cloud fit within.  Surprisingly well I must say!  The sketch below (pardon my skills in the graphic arts) shows a portion of my personal cloud usage in this context.

DwaynesCloud.png

After completing this sketch, I was a bit surprised just how many cloud-based services I utilized personally, many of which are not even displayed.  I think it’s that I just don’t “think” about them as cloud services…it is just how I go about conducting my life day-to-day.  Here’s what I discovered by category:

The cloud helps me…

People.png

I don’t personally hire and manage employees, but I often “hire” individuals – contractors to work on my house, repair shop for my car, etc.  As many do, I utilize search extensively, including social sites and business resources such as the Better Business Bureau.  Some resources such as Angie’s List not only help me determine who to hire, but initiate, track, and review the process when completed

Research, hire and manage people more easily, thoroughly and quickly

Customer.png

My wife owns an equestrian video production business, and being that I live and work in technology, I’m her defacto IT department.  As such, I help her utilize various tools to reach her customer base, generate demand and transact business.  Social media is a given, but other resources such as prebuilt, hosted websites and seamless ecommerce integration make transacting business much easier than performing it manually.

Rapidly reach more prospects  & customers with reduced time, effort and cost

Money.png

I know very few people who don’t manage at least some part of their finances in the cloud.  From simple online banking & bill pay to complex investing, the cloud offers an endless range of services available anywhere (I love depositing checks from my phone).

Access and manage my personal finances anywhere, anytime

Supplier.png

It may have taken Amazon years to reach profitability, but they are now a powerhouse.  And it is now my first stop on the shopping wagon.  I utilize supplier-related cloud resources extensively (and almost exclusively) to research and procure my stuff.

Save a ton of time and money researching and buying products

SuitesApps.png

Cloud-based apps such as Kindle have won my heart due to the ease of accessing and consuming content anywhere.  While I still use some “on-premise” applications and suites (e.g. Office installed on my laptop), I’ve moved largely to cloud-based offerings such as Office 365 and Google Docs for a consistent, always available experience.

Reduce installation & management of day-to-day apps and provide a consistent UX

Marketplaces.png

I’d be willing to bet that more people know what an App Store is than the names of the 50 states.  Like you, I access these marketplaces on my Windows, iOS, and Android devices on an almost daily basis.

Find great solutions quickly and easily that meet my personal needs

ManagedServices.png

In general, I’ve stunk at backing up my data, mostly because it’s been a hassle to setup and manage disk space to do so.  Cloud-based services such as backup and file storage solutions have greatly simplified this problem, and greatly reduce (or eliminate) the pain resulting from a failed hard drive.

Manage tasks that I’m either  terrible at managing or simply don’t want to manage

Wow…when presented in this manner, it makes a lot of sense for me.  But what about the categories spanning horizontally across the diagram?   These are critical as well…without these, the value of the above categories diminishes rapidly.

Collaborate.png

I use many collaboration technologies daily to communicate with friends, family, businesses, and co-workers – email, texting, social media, web pages, and more.  Cloud-based collaboration is embedded in every category above.

Mobile.png

This is simple…I need access to cloud services from whatever device I’m using, whenever I want.  No matter the service, I want to interface and transact with my smart phone, tablet, or desktop.

Integrated.png

A tougher problem rests with integration.  How do I make my existing content seamless with my new-found cloud-based content?  I want cloud providers to make this easy.  Native plug-ins such as SkyDrive for Microsoft Office makes cloud storage of key documents almost transparent.  Sync services such as iCloud and SkyDrive also ensure that key documents are accessible anywhere from any device, even offline.

One example that brings it all together for me is music.  Like many others, I access music in multiple ways such as using subscription service or buying some albums and songs directly.  I research – album/song reviews (Supplier), purchase using my credit card or bank account (Money), use different apps on different systems to play (Marketplaces, Suites/Apps), back it up (Managed Services), discuss (Collaborate), and use locally (Integrated) or take it with me (Mobile).

And all of this in the cloud.  Music to my ears.

It Is Personal…and Business

In my life, using the cloud has significantly reduced the cost, time, effort, and frustration that I used to spend on making technology work.  I have tons of choices and can consume it at whatever level I desire yet grow quickly when needed.  And do all of this from anywhere on any device.  Nice.

This has certainly been an interesting exercise for me.  I discovered that in many cases, the challenges addressed and benefits received from the cloud in my personal life where much like those for business.  Cloud solutions make it sooooo much easier to take advantage of rapidly changing technology without the pain of managing it myself.  I now focus on the solutions, not the technology behind them. 

And that’s what businesses want as well – to focus on their business and not everything it takes to run that business.  That’s where the cloud truly meets its “lofty” expectations (sorry had to get in one more pun).

Best of all, no one is telling me to get my head out of the clouds anymore.

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Check out It’s Good to Have Your Head in the Cloud(s) – Part 3 and follow my journey into another ‘aaS’ – PaaS.


Dwayne

dwayne.desylvia@sap.com

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  1. Jason Cao

    Hi Dwayne, nice sketch! I thought I had a good idea what cloud services I was already using, but your sketch and blog opened my eyes to others (especially in the Supplier column) I wasn’t aware of. Thanks! 🙂

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