Oct 102012
businesses are adapting their computer systems to the cloud

Every business is a cloud business claims Zach Nelson, the CEO of cloud Enterprise Resource Planning service Netsuite.

In Zach’s view every business should be using cloud computing services and at a lunch in Sydney he illustrated this with companies ranging from agribusiness Elders through to furniture and design store CoCo Republic.

A buzzword used by Zach and Netsuite is ‘omni-channel’ and this is something we’ve heard from local retailers in the past.

Interestingly Netsuite’s definition of omni-channel is more as a catch-all phrase than a definition. “There are so many channels, there are really no channels,” says Zach. “Omni-channel was the only word we could find.”

This doesn’t bode well for older retailers struggling with the idea of a website as part of their “omni-channel’ strategy, let alone tablets, smartphones or 85” smart TVs.

The problem also faces businesses adopting cloud computing platforms with the related trend of Bring Your Own Device being in itself is an “omni-channel” medium where an employee could be using anything from a smartphone with a 7″ touchscreen through to a fully equipped PC workstation with a 27″ cinema display.

How Netsuite deals with the plethora of channels is through responsive design strategy where their sites adapt to the various screen sizes their customers use. This is the opposite to the philosophy of building specific apps for each platform.

We’re seeing other cloud companies struggle with this problem as well, Mark Zuckerberg recently described focusing on the open HTML 5 standard over dedicated iOS and Android apps as one of Facebook’s biggest mistakes while Salesforce founder Marc Benioff used the recent Dreamforce conference to confirm his company’s commitment to the web despite releasing an iOS application.

Zach Nelson’s notion that every business is a cloud business is interesting and true, whenever business owners or managers say “no” asked it they use cloud computing they are genuinely shocked when its pointed out to them that almost every external internet service they use runs on the cloud.

Slowly we’re seeing this being accepted by the business community as show by diverse companies adopting services like Netsuite, Salesforce and Xero.

The big challenge for managers is in taking advantage of the processing power businesses find that cloud computing gives them.

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