How the cloud reshapes smart business strategy

Joe Weinman Structure 2014

As the cloud becomes more sophisticated and connects more devices and technologies to big data, how do we change the business aspect? Joe Weinman, chairman of the IEEE Intercloud Testbed Executive Committee and Gigaom Research analyst, posited onstage at Structure 2014 that we don’t have to throw away old business strategy — careful upgrades of what we already know — considering the cloud, will solve the problem. “The cloud can mediate the process of innovation across a wide global community,” Weinman said.

Weinman said he believes the answer lies in an updated version of The Value Disciplines model by Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema — a 20-year old tome on business strategy that, when written, considered only physical products. In order to update the core tenets of the model for the cloud age, Weinman says that new technology augments those strategies.

What was once simply streamlining operations can now become streamlining information, using big data to provide a more efficient supply chain over time. Customer intimacy — the art of tailoring to consumer needs closely — can be scaled with data to involve a wider community, a la Netflix’s sophisticated recommendation system, Weinman said. Cloud technology can also help the product side, allowing consumers to buy in to a longterm, upgradable ecosystem rather than simply a fun tech gadget.

“Where it gets really interesting is the possible extensions of this notion of a potential product where I as a customer am not just buying a product, I am buying what a product may be over time,” Weinman said.

Photo by Jakub Mosur

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