Out Of The Cloud, And Into The Business of “Yes, Now” - CIO Central - CIO Network - Forbes
Written by Michael Dell
When I was a teenager, about 30 years ago, I ran what we then called a Bulletin Board System, which was a way of electronically connecting with other early computing adopters via a modem and phone line. We shared code, posted messages, exchanged news and formed connections.
Michael Dell: Yes, now.
By modern standards, it was the Stone Age. There were no pictures or videos – just luminescent green words on a dark screen.
But the ability to connect with people I’d never met and solve problems through a network larger and more flexible than anything I could have created on my own, changed the way I viewed technology and became a catalyst for why I started Dell in my college dorm room just a few years later.
I’m proud of the role Dell has played in helping to democratize the Information Age by bringing compute power to millions of users around the world for more than two decades. We have given individuals, schools, communities and small businesses technology solutions that enable them to be more productive and access more information that had once been reserved only for big business.
Today, we stand at the threshold of a similar revolution, only this time the focus isn’t just on the computing device or the Internet. Instead, the focus is on the urgency of unlimited expectations. The combination of connectivity and mobility has created a demand and expectation for unfettered access and immediate results that I call “Yes, Now” computing.
“Yes” and “Now” – two very simple, very straightforward words that together represent the mindset and expectations of every IT user I know. Today, we all expect to be told “yes” when we ask our IT colleagues for a new application or a way to more efficiently access the information that is most important to us. And of course we naturally expect it “now,” without delay. “Maybe” and “later” are no longer acceptable answers for today’s aptly named “prosumer.”
The main enabler of this new age is not merely the Internet, but the many interconnected networks – public and private – that have come to be known (perhaps unfortunately) as the “cloud.” Through these networks, we are once again experiencing an exponential jump in the resources and flexibility available both to individuals and organizations in accessing information and applications without having to invest in massive infrastructure. The cloud can give us what we need, when we need it how we want it.
When we fully realize this promise of “Yes, Now,” imagine what we can accomplish.
- Doctors treating a child with a rare illness in a small town hospital will access not only published research but the real-time medical records of the handful of others around the globe experiencing the same illness – with full protection for individuals’ privacy.
- Small- and medium-sized businesses will access applications they could never otherwise afford, and larger businesses will be able to control their costs by shared use of what would otherwise be excess computing capacity.
- Schools and colleges will gain access to information that even the greatest library could not contain, and a means to enhance online learning for people of every age.
For IT teams, this spells efficiency. Embracing “Yes, Now” is about evolving legacy IT infrastructure quickly and with a clear purpose for driving better outcomes for users. It’s about freeing up resources to move away from the “as is” state in order to achieve the “to be” state of greater innovation and stronger business results.
But if we are to seize this opportunity, we in the IT industry need to do some things better. We need to stop surrounding the cloud with a fog of tech-speak and explain to potential users what it can do for them, rather than focusing on how it works. We also need to be careful, in our excitement about the technology, not to over-hype it to a skeptical public. Recent outages in public cloud environments demonstrate why concerns about reliability, security and privacy need to be taken seriously and addressed transparently.
Only with a straightforward approach that recognizes the cloud’s opportunities and its challenges will we clear the obstacles to realize the true potential of the Age of “Yes, Now.” The cloud gives us one of the greatest opportunities we’ve seen in a long history of IT trends to fundamentally change the way we work and live.
We can do this. Just like that teenager searching out ideas from unseen collaborators on a bulletin board system, we can forge connection points with today’s massively more powerful tools to find solutions to the most critical unsolved problems the world faces.
Welcome to “Yes, Now” computing and all the potential that lies ahead for the IT industry and the billions of users we serve.