Tells us what the "cloud" is and why it's useful.
“It’s a nickname, a quick reference to using the Internet to host, run your services that you use to run your business. Generally, primarily, the first one that everyone thinks of is webmail – email hosted on the Internet, provided by a service provider like Google or Microsoft and you access it through a Web browser. So there’s not a lot of need for downloadable software. You just go to a Web browser wherever you are in the world and you can get to that service. That’s the cloud. It started very small with webmail and now it expands out to the salesforce which is the CRM, you can host your documents, you can do your own collaboration online. I suppose coming from the consumer world into the business and starting to take all the services that they use, particularly the commodity ones and saying, “Why are you doing this for yourself? You’re a business that drills, for example” and I’m sure they have their own mail server, “why would you have your mail server when you’re a very adept driller?”.
There is a cost-saving. There is also a slight increase in bandwidth cost so it’s not a total, you give it to Google and you’ve got rid of a server – so there is a slight increase in other costs. From a pure infrastructure, internal in your business, you don’t have to look after servers, you don’t have to upgrade software. The horrible thing is that you don’t necessarily need those infrastructure people to be hugging those boxes as well. What we say is they can become the secret source in your company. You can say, “Thank you for looking after our mail servers. We don’t need you to do that anymore but we have secret software X that only we are going to develop internally – to be fair, you can actually also host that externally. So, putting it in the cloud doesn’t mean you’re giving it into a consumer ‘anybody can see it’ sort of way – you can ring-fence everything. Costs... One of the big benefits that we talk about with putting it into the cloud which is about collaboration. It’s on the world’s biggest network which is called the Internet. So that whole ‘I would like you to see this document, share and work with it’, I don’t have to go through any of that ‘oh, you need to go through a firewall and you have to go through a VPN’. It’s ‘well, there you are, you’re on the world’s biggest network and I can just invite you into my document... and there you go!’. So the boundary around an organisation becomes very permeable – manageable and controllable, but very permeable.”