Welcome!

Government Cloud Authors: Simon Hill, Liz McMillan, Gopala Krishna Behara, Raju Myadam, Kevin Jackson

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Cloud Computing Turns Virtual Teams Into a Competitive Advantage

Collaboration in the cloud will fundamentally change the business ecosystem

The rise of modern information systems represented a major change to the business environment and increased the importance of collaboration. Companies as diverse as Toyota, Wal-Mart, and Dell Computer demonstrated the power of collaboration to improve the efficiency of the supply chain, at least at a massive scale. By electronically linking their factories, stores, and suppliers, these manufacturers used collaboration to achieve cost and service advantages over their competitors with just-in-time manufacturing and a build-to-order business model. Their collaboration took the form of ERP, EDI, and supply-chain management, and largely consisted of teaching computers to talk with one another.

Yet while collaboration during this time period proved a critical, sometimes determining, factor in business success, collaboration remained a large-scale process. Just-in-time manufacturing and cross-docking made sense for giants like Toyota and Wal-Mart, but it was hard to see their relevance for small businesses.

Paradoxically, it took the Internet Age - founded on teaching computers to talk with one another - to make collaboration personal again. The Internet places communications and coordination within the affordable reach of every business. No longer do you need a complex (and expensive) network of leased lines and dedicated hardware to integrate with your supplier. Instead, anyone with a computer can connect and communicate with anyone else. With the rise of cloud computing, you can even rent that computing power from the likes of Amazon.

Before the Internet age, stitching together a multinational operation required millions of dollars in capital equipment, thousands a month in telecom expenditures, and a massive IT staff to oversee that infrastructure. Today, you can hire developers in Bangalore (oDesk.com), a call center in Manila (LiveOps.com), and a warehouse in Memphis (Shipwire.com) with a few clicks of the mouse without ever leaving your office or even picking up the phone.

But while making it dramatically easier to bring people together around a common task, the Internet magnifies the challenge of coordinating and managing those people and organizations.

The first attempts to build virtual corporations back in the 1990s failed, largely because of this very challenge. People in organizations don't just conduct simple transactions. They collaborate to solve problems, to meet customer demands, to respond to competitors, to design new products. The hundreds of decisions that they make every day - even in a small business - impact other people and organizations, often in unanticipated ways. A successful virtual corporation must not only reduce the cost of virtual interaction, it must address the unstructured, dynamic, and creative aspects of much real-world business interactions and the management of those interactions.

Today, for the first time ever, Web 2.0 and cloud computing make it possible to solve the final challenge of coordination and management.

If Web 1.0 was about making the Web "World Wide," Web 2.0 has been about making the Web "personal," and cloud computing is about making the Web "ubiquitous."

The two keys to solving the coordination challenge are semi-structured data and ubiquitous access in the cloud.

Semi-structured data provides an online replacement for the tacit knowledge and implicit agreements that are so essential in a traditional business. Think about how much of what every business does is based on the unwritten rules and institutional knowledge that live in the heads of individual professionals. This operational know-how, often varying based on circumstances, and transmitted in the hallways and conference rooms as well as around the lunch table, was missing from the last generation of virtual corporations.

Web 2.0 services like blogs and wikis provide an online outlet for this kind of semi-structured information. Blogs and blog comments are a substitute for traditional informal interaction, while wikis can record the operational knowhow that used to be passed on during informal face-to-face meetings and working together.

At the same time, the ubiquity of the cloud helps overcome the previous need to house all the members of the team under one roof (or within one firewall). Virtual private networks impose too much friction on those attempting to connect from the outside, and generate far too many security concerns. Cloud solutions can place every member of the team on an equal footing and allow members to collaborate across geographic and organizational boundaries.

Yet while Web 2.0 and cloud computing have made virtual corporation possible, they are technologies, not applications. Businesses and teams need to learn how best to apply these technologies to generate real business gains, especially in the current economic environment.

How Does Collaboration Help Me Do More With Less?
While collaboration in the cloud has many soft benefits like allowing greater geographic diversity and encouraging a participatory culture, during these tough times, the hard benefits of collaboration take center stage. The bottom line is that collaboration helps you do more with less, and by definition, virtual companies and teams are all about less. Less time. Less money. Less inefficiency. Less employees.

Here are four practical ways that collaboration in the cloud enables businesses (virtual and otherwise) to do more with less:

  1. Ditch your servers
  2. Cut down on travel
  3. Enable outsourcing and offshoring
  4. Improve knowledge worker productivity

1. Ditch Your Servers
RMC Vanguard Mortgage is an established company in a traditional industry that's turned to collaboration and virtual company tactics to survive and thrive during turbulent times.

Few industries have been hit harder by the credit crunch than the mortgage industry. Yet through it all, RMC Vanguard (an independent mortgage company based in Houston that serves customers in over 25 states) has continued to grow. Its network of loan officers, most of whom work from their homes, acts like virtual company. It's critical that RMC's underwriters be able to serve the needs of those loan officers while still keeping up to speed on the rapidly changing rules and regulations of the mortgage industry.

RMC CTO Teo Mayes had been using a shared server to store and distribute this constantly changing information, but found that (1) it was hard to give access to geographically dispersed loan officers who sat outside the corporate infrastructure and had to log into a terminal access port to reach the server; (2) frustrated loan officers would simply call the underwriters instead of keeping up to speed, bogging down those valuable employees; and (3) the technical team was spending time and money maintaining the hardware and network.

More Stories By Chris Yeh

Chris Yeh is Vice President of Enterprise Marketing, PBwiki.

Comments (2) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
shirley 12/12/08 01:05:06 AM EST

We can assist here as we specialize in developing and implementing SharePoint 2007 – that’s all we do.

There is more information on this at http://www.nsynergy.com/Services/Pages/default.aspx or mail to [email protected].

FastRoundTrip 12/11/08 01:30:37 PM EST

Well put. Collaboration is definitly the future of surviving and thriving business. And not just for asynchronous collab, on the real-time side, there's a lot of excitement too. For example, http://see.nefsis.com uses true cloud computing to reduce latency in desktop sharing and live multiparty video. Cloud computing makes a fundamental improvement in roundtrip latency here, unobtainable by single-server and centralized technologies.

@ThingsExpo Stories
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.