It’s hard to believe that it’s almost 10 years since Amazon launched their S3 cloud storage service with Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Although at the time it was a surprising company that sold books and CDs better, other features, including its EC2 computing service, were quickly followed some six months thereafter. Although, at the very start, many CIOs and IT directors had more than passing likeness to a classic data centre, the offering was quite different from most new technologies.
In the next few years, other leading companies in technology, among them Microsoft, IBM, VMWare and Rackspace, have joined the market driving innovation and helping businesses realise the highly respected promise of cost efficient, elastic computer power on unlimited demand.
This dramatic increase in cloud computing has been linked to the increasing complexity of the advertising and marketing business during the last decade. For instance, today ad agencies have been completely immersed in social media use to reach consumers, but Facebook was only created a decade ago.
Cloud computing in some form or form is used in most companies today, either proactively as part of their central IT organisation’s technology strategy or because it has gathered in their organisation. Latest ones are often facilitated by the ease of service offered by cloud service providers compared to the old school data centre, not to mention the fast recognition that they market directly to communities who are thirsting for speed and agility.
When data separation, retention, confidentiality, and physical situations remain high in the minds of customers (including agency CEOs), we need to work with IT, risk and legal authorities to establish strong monitoring and education programmes. This enables customers and agencies to enjoy the undeniable advantages of cloud computing without compromising safety and access control.
Like many businesses, the initial hosting and storage of the McCann Worldgroup (MWG) agencies took the form of forays at the beginning of cloud computing. But new opportunities began to emerge when companies started to develop specifically for the cloud instead of using cloud computing as a slogan to revitalise old technology and products.
With the MWG case, options such as the provision of a digital asset management (DAM) platform for the global audience at a fraction of the cost are previously to be implemented and managed as a local application without compromise to functionality and performance.
Other areas where cloud solutions have produced significant benefits are business continuity and disaster recovery by eliminating the need to restore (ever increasing) taping volume in case the server fails partially or completely. Where incident times may previously be measured within days, the flexibility of online, almost real-time backup and archiving provided by a local cache server virtually eliminated the impact of all but the most serious incidents. What’s more, the cloud solution is cheaper than the previous backup operation by removing the costs of tapes and offsite storage, as well as all the other benefits that we have realised.
But one critical issue that should not be underestimated is the fundamental change in skills and expertise in the central IT organisation, given all of the services that can be autonomously transferred to the cloud (Enterprise Architecture, for example). Personnel and expertise are key factors paralleling movement to the cloud, which not only disturbs a company during the transfer to cloud computing by means of new technology.
For many years I have supported the development of platforms and products. Both were important features of I’ve developed and later implemented technology strategies within advertising and marketing agencies. This approach is attractive on many fronts with the leverage throughout business and life via subsequent improvements and new modules. These strategies are even more compelling due to continuing advances in cloud computing and new entrants on the market.
This platform benefit Craft Worldwide, a global agency that provides print, digital and broadcast content services across the whole range. The cPlus platform provides an end-to-end business technology solution with the best-in-class, highly integrated products. Despite the global solutions available for decades, the features, flexibility and raw power true cloud computing applications can bring to customers and the company now cannot be compared.
In the case of Microsoft, the commitment of our technology partners continues to drive the feasibility offered by the cloud and has positioned it as a technology leader which becomes an integral part of IT and IT teams which must develop in a cloud-oriented world to make full use and value.
While cloud computing may appear to be the nirvana, it is still necessary to develop business models in areas where further development is needed. Although it is possible to lease unlimited elastic compute power per minute, software providers who transfer their products to the cloud were often unable or unwilling to adapt to the pay-for-use model. This is often in sharp contrast to new entrants who are highly flexible in their model, which helps them establish long-term relationships with their customers and becomes an integral part of their marketing strategy.
Basically the cloud compute is still developing, but the hype from the technology industry all those years ago has been justified by what CIOs and their enterprises in the media, marketing and entertainment industries are already offering.