Businesses large and small are reviewing everything right now, including the effectiveness of traditional marketing, data storage, communications and computing. Business stakeholders and shareholders alike are expecting businesses to adopt smarter ways of doing business, the days of getting away with “That’s just the way we do things around here” are over. Yield optimisation is on everyone’s lips, measurability, efficiency and productivity has now become the drivers behind social marketing, cloud computing and enterprise 2.0 initiatives. Why? Because they are more effective, cheaper and reap better long term results for both the business and its customers.
Social media tools have changed the way customers socialise what they like or dislike, its changed the way I do search for the latest version of a widget I am interested in and how I get endorsement for that widget. Business can do its own research on what the market thinks about its brand or latest product without asking a third party, business can engage with its market without going through traditional middle men, speeding up response times and enabling insight which in turn impacts innovation and relevant product releases. Its safe to say that the Growndswell is here to stay as more and more big brands adopt social marketing into their mix and as many software vendors begin to integrate social media into their products, like Social CRM.
Data centres in their current form may not exist for much longer. Data is moving to the cloud. The kind of computing that the Google, Amazon, Facebook, and others have become synonymous with will come to the common data centre realm soon. Today, IT managers add capacity, fault tolerance, fail over, load balancing, and other data centre features painstakingly much for storage scalability and performance in an incessant manner. Just when they begin to feel that they have enough capacity and performance built in to their systems, that they have made their data centre future proof, there is a new need on the performance or expandability front. Combine this with the Global Financial Crisis and the subsequent global economic downturn and you have a compelling reason to change.
Cloud computing will make it much less painful to manage, scale and develop a reliable, high performance platform without running a single data centre. Cloud computing is often compared to electrical utility where one pays for what he uses and when he uses. Gartner predicts that by “2012, 80 percent of Fortune 1000 enterprises will be paying for some cloud computing services, and 30 percent will be paying for cloud computing infrastructure services.”
Amazon.com is a perfect example for the future of cloud computing. They have now come to offer computing power over the web to would be customers. “Since early 2006, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has provided companies of all sizes with an infrastructure web services platform in the cloud. With AWS you can requisition computing power, storage, and other services–gaining access to a suite of elastic IT infrastructure services as your business demands them.” Salesforce.com is also another great example of Cloud Computing success, providing CRM, Customer Service and Marketing automation functionality in the cloud yet still managing to offer customizability to suit all business needs. This segment is so robust that its been managing to buck the current economic downturn, SFDC recently posted a 20% increase in quarterly revenues, not bad considering that its traditional on premise competitors such as Oracle and SAP are reviewing forecasts downwards. Other examples of cloud computing that’s already out there include Google Docs, the MS Office competitor and Slide Rocket (for great online presentations).
Cloud computing offers significant cost savings for IT functions that are large-scale as well as small scale. Other advantages include management and scalability. Contrary to some pundits views, Cloud Computing is more than a buzz word and although much more has to happen for it to get into main stream business, the business merits for it are clear. So, the future where we stop worrying about our server being up, may not be far away. It is already here, we just have to figure out what we are going to do with it.
Enterprise 2.0 is expected to be the next big thing for agile, productive and effective corporations wanting to attract the best of the next generation. To aid product development velocity, customer experience management and IP management something has to give, traditional methods of communication, data and knowledge sharing methods and tools are ineffective now. To get to the next level of competitiveness corporations must change with the times and the tools that now afford them. The use of Corporate Blogs, Wikis, podcasts and microblogging when used with a new age methodology that incorporates transperancy, accountability and responsibility will lead to peak performance across teams and the entire organisation as staff intuitively work together and experience the rewards as well.
So I think the answer is YES! The economic slowdown will force the right decisions to be made, because it makes good business sense and because its too painfull to do nothing anymore.
See how Fender used Social Media to spread the word.