Ben is the founder and managing director of Diversity Limited, a consultancy specializing in Cloud Computing/SaaS, Collaboration, Business strategy and user-centric design. In 2011, he is curating the CloudU program sponsored by Rackspace.
I’ve spent the last 15 years or so owning and running business in a bunch of different industries – from manufacturing to commercial property, from consulting to hospitality. In that time I’ve been forced to wrestle with technology, be it file servers, archaic software or fried hard drives. All the time my forays into technology (and bear in mind that I’m a bit of a geek and enjoy this stuff) have taken my eye of what’s really important … running my business.
Then, a few years ago a start-up out of my hometown of Wellington, New Zealand introduced a SaaS accounting system. With Xero, the promise was no more software upgrades, no hardware hassles, availability anywhere and connectedness with other systems. I got excited.
But as excited as I was, I’ve also become a little frustrated. While those of us in the industry have an innate understanding about how Cloud Computing works, the fact of the matter is that for Joe Average business owner, we may as well be speaking in another language. It struck me that what SMBs really need is a series of educational offerings that starts them out with the basics of Cloud Computing and gives them, by the end of the program, a fairly deep understanding of what the Cloud is all about. Luckily, Rackspace Hosting agrees with this vision and realizes that a better-educated marketplace not only helps Rackspace, but also helps the industry as a whole.
So what are we planning?
We’re going to start of simple. While some may criticize that decision as “low level, same-old thinking,” if we’re able to introduce the Cloud to some folks who wouldn’t otherwise know about it, then starting simple is something for which we don’t need to apologize. Starting this month, and every subsequent month in 2011, we’ll produce a whitepaper around a particular theme of Cloud Computing. The paper will be accompanied by a webinar, and from time to time we’ll consider hosting physical events aligned with popular conferences.
The “CloudU” syllabus for the next few months is as follows:
January – Revolution Not Evolution: How Cloud Computing Differs from Traditional IT and Why it Matters
February – Cloudonomics: The Economics of Cloud Computing
March – Understanding the Cloud Stack: SaaS, PaaS and IaaS
April – Say Goodbye to DIY Data Centers: An Infrastructure-as-a-Service Intensive
It’s going to be a really fun year. What truly excites me is that by the end of CloudU, there will be a host of business people who have a sound grasp of what Cloud Computing is, what they need to think about when using it and what the future can hold for them through a Cloudy lens.
Up to date information about this series can be found at CloudU. If you have any questions or suggestions about the program, let us know on Twitter using the hashtag #cloudU or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.