I was naturally interested in Monday’s InfoWorld Story titled “Startups take SAP consulting to the cloud” that discusses cumulusIQ and another company.
One of the questions I wish had been answered in greater detail is: What makes a service cloud-based? Is it just technical support over the network? That’s not new. In 1980 Digital Equipment Corporation introduced remote system diagnosis over a network (for the VAX 11/750).
What’s different and exciting about the cloud is that it delivers Knowledge as a Service (KaaS). KaaS is the culmination of the most important Web 2.0 concepts, like crowd sourcing, software as a service, virtualization, long tail, pull versus push, and on-demand.
In KaaS, users are not hardwired to a single group of consultants and are not even buying consulting from a vendor (unless you call the individual consultants vendors). That would be far too limiting. Instead, users buy knowledge from sellers in a global marketplace in real time. Any number of people can participant -- consultants to make money and gain recognition; users to acquire knowledge when and where they need it without paying for “extras” like onsite visits they don’t need.
One further comment on the story: Jon Reed is quoted as saying that cloud services are a “creature of the recession.” How negative is that? It implies that our customers use us because they’re broke. But obviously there are many situations when obtaining knowledge on-demand from a global pool makes more sense than getting it from a hardwired resource (whether onsite or remote). It is more accurate to say the cloud is a “creature of innovation.”