Local markets are dead. Global is the new local. You can get close to your customers everywhere. And cloud is the enabling tech to allow you to parachute into any part of the world and start doing business.
Right? Yes and no.
Yes, because global audiences are now only a click away from any local artisan. Rejig your products with a local lick of paint - a Royale with Cheese, not Quarter Pounder. Every business has a possible worldwide audience.
No, because a business with vast reach potential vast, that doesn’t mean that potential new customers and fans align perfectly with their ‘home’ market.
High tech, low-spec
Global growth means serving local needs, not replicating a single model. And that might mean innovation in completely different areas.
Take personal banking. In developing countries, not everybody has access to a bank account. But everyone uses money and makes payments. M-pesa is a cloud-enabled mobile app for simple money transfer and deposit.
It's now used by 34% of Kenyans - many without bank accounts. Owner Vodafone has successfully launched the service in Afghanistan, South Africa and India too. It's a high-tech (cloud, secure encryption etc) solution to a low-tech problem.
In other parts of the world, cloud is used for very different ends. Israel's high-tech economy is particularly focused on R&D. Entrepreneurs and innovators use cloud to facilitate big data work: mining data sets for insight, or working through vast algorithms. And once those complex calculations are done, there's no need for that kind of mega computing power any more - so it's scaled down to a much smaller cloud resource until it's needed again.
A high tech solution to a high tech problem, but without permanently over-provisioning.
Riding the spikes
Going global might be a cornerstone of your 2-year plan, but not your 5-year plan.
Just as any business has to manage 'normal' market fluctuations, your international plans might be tied to time-limited events. Local media crews from around the world geared up to broadcast from London during last year's Olympics, then wound down operations and capacity as soon as the Games were over.
Multinational construction firms often need a huge increase in cloud capacity during a major building project - engineers in Shanghai collaborating with architects in London, builders in Dubai and specialists in Paris. But once the skyscraper is up, the cloud comes down. Job done.
Location, location, location
So, sometimes cloud is the perfect location-agnostic solution to any-size market operational or service need. (Here's another one - Bitcoin can be mined from anywhere in the world using cloud tech.)
It’s significantly lowered barriers to entry for having computer systems close to customers – CRM or ecommerce for Domino’s Pizza for example.
But that doesn't mean that a local cloud capacity is always going to work. We hate to break it to you, but the cloud doesn't really live somewhere 'out there'. Personal, sensitive data to house? You may need to keep that within a country's borders. Want to futureproof your business against potential lawsuits? Then perhaps there's some sensitive data that you need to keep offshore.
So where in the world is your business going? Wherever you're headed, there's a cloud with your name on it.