“The real reason we talk about the cloud so much is that everyone can draw one,” said Russ Daniels of HP, VP and CTO of HP’s cloud services strategy, who’s now been put in charge of technology for HP’s EDS division. Daniels joked that since the Internet has been around, people in the technology business have stood in front of whiteboards and illustrated the connection between any two things over the network by drawing a blob. So it’s easy for the word “cloud” to mean everything to everybody.
But while he’s trying to be precise about what exactly the cloud means, Daniels also wants that blob to be broadly applicable. He predicted that as HP reshapes its strategy from developing to execution, “Everything as a Service” will take hold for the company and the rest of the market. His motto, then:
A world of information, opportunities and experiences — from computing power to business processes to personal interactions — delivered wherever, however and whenever you need it.
What does that actually mean? The Internet is the nervous system, the cloud adds memory, Daniels said. The cloud has the ability not just to capture data but to analyze it. “We don’t execute business practices. We interact with each other,” he stressed. “The cloud really enables that to be facilitated and augmented and advanced in ways that were out of reach in previous architectures.”
OK, but in practical terms? The cloud means IT delivery that’s built for broad configurability rather then built to order. Daniels used the analogy of a modern automotive manufacturing system, of all things. He recently visited a South Carolina BMW plant where an assembly line builds all the X5s and X6s for the entire world. The system produces each car in the order that invoices come in, after they’ve already been paid for. Without batching, limiting options, or producing excess inventory, the economics improve dramatically.
Further, application design can be improved because development and delivery can be combined, enabling data to be used across applications rather than siloed.
“We think data in the cloud is exactly the right place to be looking,” said Daniels. “You can’t look at process because you can’t dictate process across that variety of participants. You need to think about what information to they have to share with each other — how can we provide that information so that it’s available where it’s needed.”
Video of the panel is here:
Photo by James Duncan Davidson.