The cloud was disruptive enough when it was primarily related to IT - when it could improve application development, streamline a few critical processes and offer improved storage/communication. Now, though? Things have changed - and it’s a change that’s most definitely for the better.
“The technology industry is in the early stages of a big shift - one that will transform how we access information, share content, and communicate;” wrote former HP CTO Shane Robison back in 2008. “Instead of installing packaged software applications on their computers, people and businesses will use their web browsers to access a wide range of cloud services available on demand over the Internet. As the transition accelerates, IT has an opportunity to drive a quantum-leap improvement in the user experience.”
“Picture cloud services that are intelligent enough to anticipate your needs, based on a real-time understanding of your location, time of day, and preferences,” he continued. “In this next phase, the search for information will be done for you, not by you. You will have a seamless, consistent experience across all of the different devices you own, and all of the various on-demand services you care about.”
We’re well on our way towards seeing Robison’s predictions back then come true. Already, we’ve seen a few echoes of what’s to come; primarily in the fast food and grocery industries. Services such as ordering and delivery have been outsourced to online businesses, while Instacart; a completely cloud-based shopping platform, is poised to become one of the largest grocery chains in the world - without owning a single store.
This is the business environment created by the latest cloud paradigm, “Everything-As-A-Service” or “XaaS.
“It’s an exciting time for entrepreneurs working in offline spaces,” writes Tech Crunch’s Tom Blomfield. “Real-world startup costs will become dramatically lower, allowing new business models to be developed and tested with much greater velocity. As in the online world, access to capital, infrastructure and specialist skills have become less important than the ‘the ability to solve problems for people.’”
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