Tag Archives: Posterous

Private clouds are (not) the future

Google (well, James Hamilton) has weighted in on the question of private clouds. As expected from a large cloud provider, James takes the position that private clouds make no sense. His reasoning is straight forward: private clouds will never have the scale of public clouds, therefore private clouds can never achieve the same price point as their public brethren. Ergo, there’s no point in building private clouds.

As I’ve pointed out before, there’s a lot more to cloud than simply reducing costs. The biggest benefit is probably the agility that cloud can bring to your IT estate, leveraging a cloud platform’s ability to codify and automate many of the management practices and create a target platform that can work across a range of deployment options, as well as streamlining hardware provisioning. Companies are also increasingly having to deal with the realities of political boundaries, a situation where the best technical solution might not be acceptable due to legal requirements (such as privacy legislation). Developing a private cloud can be a sensible move in this context.

Of course, if you want to compete purely on cost then private cloud will never hit the same price point as public cloud. But this misses the point that for many companies IT flexibility/agility is more important than cost.

Note: I was going to post this as a comment on James’ post, but comments appear to be broken.

Posted via web from PEG @ Posterous

Change me (Part 2)

In a rapidly changing world, our biggest challenge is getting our companies, and ourselves, to embrace change rather than resist it. We want to create organisational agility, as agility is the key to success in our rapidly changing business environment, and the only thing holding us back is ourselves. As I’ve written before:

Modern IT provides us with a wealth of opportunities that our current asset centric approach to [IT] prevents us from leveraging. We need to get out of our offices and cubes and embed ourselves where the workers are, where the value is created. If we create an environment where we define ourselves in terms of how we will help the organisation evolve, rather than in terms of the assets we manage [and the sunk cost they represent], then we can convert change from an enemy into an advantage. Our team will wake up every morning eager to get into work, just like the team on the shop floor at Toyota.
Change me, Capgemini CTO Blog

Netflix is no different to the rest of us, trying to look forward to what they could (and should) be doing, rather than being hung up on what they’ve done in the past. However, when confronted with the realisation that what they we’re doing wasn’t working, they adapt.

In short, Reed Hastings [CEO of Netflix] is not a man who gets locked in by sunk costs: he’s willing to kill projects (or, in this case, spin them off) even if he’s got years invested in them. A good example for my students when we discusses costs in a few weeks. And just another example of the strengths of Netflix’s culture.
Netflix avoids the sunk cost fallacy, Donald Marron

In many companies this would have been impossible, as too many people would have their careers resting on the success of the project. Success allows them to move onto ever larger projects where they can carry greater responsibility as they work their way up the career ladder. It would be unthinkable to kill a project that people were relying on for the next step in their career.

Agility is a question of culture and willingness to change, even if this means killing our favourite project. A culture that defines itself in terms of the problems it solves and the outcomes delivered, as the organisation works to achieve its goals, rather than the business processes used to maintain business as usual. Netflix seems to have this in spades.

Posted via email from PEG

Using what you have

All too often companies miss opportunities because they can’t make connections between the things they already know. There’s a well traveled story about a clothing company who bounces a customer’s request to return an item, as they don’t think it’s worth the bother even though the customer has a real complaint, only to find out later that the customer was the wife of the CEO of one of their major partners. She probably spent most of dinner that night complaining about the company’s customer service, must to the detriment of the CEO’s opinion of the partnership. If they’d just been able to make a couple of connections a little earlier, the outcome might have been a little different.

It’s nice to see some companies weeding through the pile of data available to them, and make some of the obvious connections. One bloke, after the flight from hell which was delayed due to weather, found out that Northwest Airlines had made the obvious connections and solved the problem before he arrived for his connecting flight.

So let me see if I got this right. I don’t need to find a free ground agent to get re-booked. I don’t need to schlep myself and my luggage in line along with 50+ other people who are all mad, tired and missing their families… to get re-ticketed? AND NWA was giving me $50 off another flight and frequent flier miles to boot? Remember this wasn’t their fault, its mother natures gig here. This was some customer service!!! I love it!

Operations knew that the flight was running late, and booking knew of the connection. I spent the Sunday before last standing around Sydney Airport and Virgin couldn’t make the obvious connection. Luckily, he didn’t have the same experience.

How often have you been frustrated because some company you’re dealing with can’t get the left hand to talk to the right?

Posted via email from PEG