I had the pleasure of discussing cloud computing recently with Jag Randhawa, Vice President of IT and eCommerce of CAMICO, the second largest provider of liability insurance for CPAs in the US. Jag is an IT industry veteran with over 20 years’ experience and is the current chair of the Silicon Valley CIO chapter for TechExecs. He has seen a few trends in IT and has perspectives we can all benefit from.
Like many IT executives today, Jag views his role in a much broader way then IT executives have in the past. In his own words he is responsible for “developing technology driven business strategies to create operational efficiencies, improve customer service and building organizational agility.” We all should be so lucky to have IT executives who have this view of their role as we all need help leveraging the technology investments we have made to deliver on our business strategies and meet the needs of our customers – both internal and external to the business.
In discussing why Jag chose to work with Dell when evaluating new cloud application software for CAMICO, I asked about his plans for future cloud investments. While selfishly I hoped he would commit to moving all of his application software to the cloud and chose Dell Cloud Business Applications for his solutions, he replied that while cloud computing makes sense for some areas of his business it is not a panacea across all of his IT infrastructure. And his explanation makes sense.
Many IT executives understand the general benefits of cloud computing at this stage. There is a ton of research and case studies in the public domain that profiles in detail the advantages of moving to the cloud. But when applying all wisdom of the crowd, any IT executive knows they need to take a close look at their specific business needs, coupled with their existing IT infrastructure and make an assessment about what makes sense for them. And rarely does a rip and replace strategy neither ever develop nor get implemented, certainly not in the short term.
In Jag’s case at CAMICO, moving their existing legacy CRM software to the cloud made sense. They had outgrown their legacy software, and with sales account managers remotely distributed across the country, they needed a solution that was easily accessible outside the confines of their headquarters and corporate data center. In addition, with cloud solutions such as salesforce.com that are proven to deliver tremendous functionality, flexibility and time to market advantages, it made sense for him to move his CRM solution to the cloud. And this complements other cloud solutions CAMICO has in place for marketing and customer service. Jag spoke eloquently about why CAMICO is moving their CRM to the cloud and why they are working with Dell to help them in a recent webinar with us which you can listen to here.
Where Jag diverted from 100% cloud software strategy was where there was no compelling reason to switch from what was working just fine. For instance, when a company has developed a home grown production software solution upon which there business relies and which is working well and costs are not prohibitive, why change? And when a combination of using public cloud solutions, and private cloud solutions alongside well-functioning and cost effective systems in production enables IT executives like Jag to meet their business objectives of “driving business strategies to create operational efficiencies, improve customer service and building organizational agility” then it becomes clear there is really is no one-size-fits-all cloud solution.
At Dell, we believe that as businesses consider their cloud options, they will benefit from thinking about how to best use public and private cloud, rather than trapping themselves in an either/or scenario. That way, cloud computing will move towards bringing convenience to the customer, rather than the vendor. Do you agree? Let me know in the comments below.