The Perils of the Cloud

The “cloud” is hot.

We all talk about the next great thing: solutions for cloud computing. Venture Capitalists are raising new funds for cloud computing, software companies are rapidly developing new solutions for the cloud, and new services are announced every day. It is clear that since the late 1990s, we have seen a strong demand for application services in the cloud or application services hosted in the cloud, although the names have changed. “Cloud” is just the new name. The promise is great: new Internet-based applications that don’t require local implementations, opportunities for easily and quickly connecting users to new services, and simple but robust back-end management of these cloud services.

As a result, there are great new services that can make our daily business routines so much easier than before and without any upfront investment. Take one category that is strategic to all companies selling, marketing, and supporting customers: customer relationship management (CRM). Traditionally, these applications were residing on your PC or on the company’s server. The implementation of  larger sales forces was extremely complex and expensive while small businesses could live with a desktop application and home offices often used Outlook as their main depository for customer information. Now, however, for a small monthly fee we see highly complex and beneficial cloud services that offer full-featured systems only large companies could afford in the past. No setup costs, no IT investments -  just register, pay, and go. No doubt these services have improved the efficiency and effectiveness of sales organizations greatly. And some of these service companies are generating billions in revenues by satisfying the needs of their customers. Life is good.

Continue reading