The end of Cloud Computing as we know it

It was 2008 when the word cloud was starting to get used to identify the broader concept of the internet. Before we saw iconic drawings of the internet as a cloud in presentations, but the term was actually not really used. Very soon the cloud was filled with recuperated concepts dating back to the beginning of the bubble. Then we spoke about application service providing (ASP), in the cloud rebaptized as Software-as-a-Service, utility computing (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) and thin clients (Platform-as-a-service). It was the time that everything had to be ‘web-enabled’. Every report or panel from an application had to be a webpage so it could be published or posted on the web.

The cloud  has become real with the offerings of Amazon and Google. They went to the market with cheap and flexible offerings for storage and computing performance, greatly appreciated by residents and small & home offices and of course facilitated by cheaper broadband access. Together with the technical progress in virtualization of PC platforms, well appreciated in small and medium-sized enterprises a new IT paradigm took off. Cloud computing was born.

To me this was only a first small step towards a new IT paradigm. We could called this step ‘Cloud Computing version 1’ (CC1) or the ‘capacity cloud’. CC1 is a prolongation of current IT practices characterized by a (very) large focus on technology and cost cutting. However inside organizations nothing seems to have changed. IT projects are still running out of budget and time, ERP systems are still not delivering results while eating large portions of the IT budget and users are still complaining about everything that comes from IT. The CIO was shove aside as the chief IT mechanical who has nothing to do with the business and in that way losing his status as a director.

However businesses seems to have discovered the real value of the cloud. The concept of ‘as a service’ seems to be a handy concept not only for bringing in capacity or IT but for more business oriented things like: ‘intelligence-as-a-service’, ‘analytics-as-a-service’, ‘social-media-as-a-service’, ‘innovation-as-a-service’, … We could summarize this as ‘capabilities-as-a-service’. The whole outside world can now be brought into the organization on a scalable and flexible way. And there is plenty of room outside the organization! Businesses are thereby surpassing even more the traditional oriented CIO. There is no more need for a separate IT budget, the cloud offerings are operational expenses on the budgets of functional managers.  For the new CIO this is a huge challenge. Will the CIO reshape his function as a truly C-level executive or will the job finally resolve into an extra role of any business manager and executive? In Cloud Computing v.2, IT is still at the heart of every offering, but the focus is now on the business where it should be.

jan devos


About jangdevos
I'm an IT/IS professor, a late Baby Boomer, married with Ann and father of Hélène and Willem, a Stones fan and interested in almost everything. I work at the UGent (campus Kortrijk), Belgium. My research domain are: IT Governance in SMEs, IT/IS Security, IT Management, IT Project Management, IT Trends and IT/IS failures.

One Response to The end of Cloud Computing as we know it

  1. snowcrash says:

    how about life-as-a-service?

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