We are starting to see Cloud 2.0 – next generation cloud businesses that provide business functionality beyond software rental. In the 1990s, BPI was a term management consultants talked about. Business process improvement promised to assist an organization in optimizing its processes for efficiency, productivity and cost savings. Six Sigma is just one methodology to carry this out.
Most of the software deployments for enterprises – about 70 percent – failed for various reasons. The hurdle for enterprises with cloud apps is the same hurdle they had with off-the-shelf software: integration. These applications stand alone. It creates a lot of swivel chair for data entry and application logons.
The next evolution in cloud applications is underway. Application programming interfaces (APIs) have changed the way software interacts with other systems. APIs are getting better; just ask Salesforce and its $6 billion in revenue.
The best way to think about this is how your smartphone is able to pull up your contacts from your email program or Facebook (News - Alert) to provide click to call or caller ID or even history (tracking of the interactions you have with people in text, SMS, email, phone calls).
A number of companies – Zapier, IDEA2 (News - Alert), tray.io and IFTTT – have built platforms to allow for easier app integration. It is about the business process improving, although today we mainly talk workflow.
Productivity happens when we shave seconds off repetitive tasks. Integration allows for software to interact with other software to streamline a business process. Slack, Dropbox (News - Alert), Mailchimp, Salesforce, 3CX, Broadsoft and other software vendors have open APIs that allow for data exchange, making the business process or workflow more efficient.
The term Cloud 2.0 is a way to explain that there is more to the concept of cloud than just jamming software into a virtual server. It is more than just having an API checked off the list of requirements. The next stage of Cloud will be BPI – business process improvement – something we have been striving for a long time. It will, at a minimum, involve business functionality.
Cloud 1.0 is moving the communications stack to the cloud and including application software in the service. Cloud 2.0 is offering the business function as a service. The SaaS (News - Alert) company won’t simply rent software; it provide the service that the software performs for customers. Software as a service becomes Business Functions as a Service. Workflow gets done in Cloud 2.0.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson