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Newsflash: cloud's not always the right answer

Sorry about that.

We talk a lot about disruption at Rackspace. There's a lot of good in ripping up the rulebook, questioning the status quo and never standing still. Companies can quickly get ahead through pivoting, altering, scaling up and down. Cloud facilitates this fast-paced change.

But the fact is, not every part of your business needs this kind of shake up. Those Steady Eddy, big old workhorse static systems? They're probably better off using an old-fashioned server. Same goes for most of your keeping-the-lights-on technology.

So where does cloud fit in, then?

We say cloud’s for everyone, but not for everything.

Size matters

For ‘cloud native’ companies using cloud as anything from a huge temporary holding bay to a tiny lock-up is all part of that uber-adaptive, constantly evolving disruptive model.

But for big, established companies in mature markets, the pace of change and adaptability is far slower. They can't reinvent their entire business model overnight, like the chameleon-style whippersnappers at the forefront of disruption.

Yet without innovation – and the game-changing disruption at heart - bigger companies will inevitably fall behind. Here’s a couple of ways that larger companies use tobring cloud-based disruption into their fold. Check out the interview with Colin Rees from Domino’s for more insight. It’s a whole new ecosystem.

The Pacman model

Say hello to the gobble-them-up school of business management. For the big boys, simply acquiring a specialist or start-up business is the best way to add that capability to their own portfolio without diluting their focus.

Historically it's often been better value to spend the money on buyouts or a large stake in a successful product, rather than chasing their dust with a me-too product. Think Facebook and Instagram….

Yet cloud is changing this. The threshold of viability has been significantly lowered, to work in tandem with fast-moving innovations.  And that means that the path to market suddenly looks more like the Yellow Brick Road than the Great Wall of China. So whether you’re a Pacman or a Pac-dot, you can compete on a much more even playing field.

Skunkworks and side projects

So are we saying that scalable, enabling technology like cloud means the path to success is plain sailing, no matter what your business size?

Nope.

The simple reason is that employees at bigger businesses inevitably find it harder to carve out a space for the freewheeling, try-and-fail approach to pure innovation. Ideas that need to be immediately fanned into a flame die a slow death in development hell, or sign-off stagnation.

Recognising this, companies are now providing a berth for would-be inventors, who won't take 'Wait' for an answer. This ranges from sanctioning 'skunkwork' projects to incubator setups where the mothership company signs off on a cloud-enabled capability for innovative, disruptive business ideas to bloom. (Exactly what happened with O2 and GiffGaff.)

Cloud is the ultimate sandbox for impatient rebel innovators. It's the space to solve problems, spot security issues and develop the next generation of applications. Wikis, blogs, code-sharing, even hacking - there's potential business benefit in all of it. And open source applications start off in the cloud, then get pulled back into server-land when they're stable.

So where does cloud fit into your business then?

At the cutting edge of the sharp end, or the backroom genius bar, where the next great idea is being hatched? That's something we can help you to figure out so talk to us and we'll make sure you get most out of cloud.