Cloud Computing Entering Period of Accelerating Adoption

Last week I made a post on a Gartner Survey that showed increasing SaaS momentum in the economic down-turn. Well, the industry analyst seem to be tumbling all over each other to report on the accellerating pace of SaaS adoption, especially in relation to the current situation.

A couple of days ago IDC published a press release on cloud computing and how it is reshaping the IT marketplace. 

Some major points I think are very interesting:

  • Cloud computing is “crossing the chasm” and entering a period of widespread adoption
  • IDC expects the cloud adoption trend to be amplified by the current financial crisis
  • IT cloud services to grow almost threefold, reaching $42 billion by 2012
  • More importantly, cloud computing will account for 1/3 of IT growth in 5 years
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SaaS momentum in economic down times

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Jeff Kelly from SearchDataManagerment.com writes about the momentum of SaaS based data quality and integration tools. With quotes from a survey done by research firm Gartner he writes about how “the on demand model is beginning to gain foothold in the industry”.

A few remarkable facts from the Gartner survey:

  • 28% of companies have deployed SaaS-based data integration tools
  • 24% have SaaS-based data quality tools
  • Most companies use a mix of on-premise, outsourced and SaaS-based technology
  • SaaS-based software, at this point, often trails its on-premise counterparts
  • Gartner advice: “Plan SaaS deployment enterprise-wide….to guard against siloed investments”

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The importance of persistent identification

A much overlooked issue in Customer Data Integration projects is “Persistent Identification”.

Persons and companies are very often identified using their address data. But, what do you do if a person has moved from address A to address B. One, thing you really don’t want is that the person is added to database as a new person (INSERT). From that moment a duplicate person or company resides in your system. This should be prevented, by creating searching indexes which include the current and the previous address of the persons and companies in your database. 

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Platform, Software and Data as a Services?!

What are PaaS, SaaS and DaaS?

The IT industry loves acronomys and if you look for SaaS on the Acronymfinder.com webpage you find many more definitions then you could every dream up. 

The ‘as a Service’ category of software is getting a lot of attention with companies like SalesForce, Oracle (Siebel), Amazon, HP and Microsoft building strategies around the promise of cloud computing. Simply put ‘as a Service’ delivers services that are hosted, managed and maintained by the supplier rather then the user. More often then not the services are provided with a ‘pay-per-use’ model. 

So Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings like Amazon EC2, SalesForce Force.com and Google App Engine all host a platform over the internet that allows customers to develop and deploy applications. The user does not have to worry about hardware, operating systems, application servers or databases but can use the platform and pay the provider to for its use.

Similar is the offering with Software as a Service (SaaS). Applications are available to end users through a web-browser over the internet. The supplier takes care of running the software and the customer simply pays for using the software. Increasingly applications that we are used to install on our own computers/service will become available as a Service. These include Siebel (Oracle), SAP ERP and even Microsoft Office.

An upcoming catergory are providers of Data as a Service (DaaS) who make data management available over the internet.  Data as a Service may give asses to data providers like Chamber of Commerce, Experian, telephone directories and D&B but also provide functions like address validation or blacklist matching. 

Peter Laird (Oracle) has created a comprehensive ‘SaaS tree’  that builds an overview of the ‘as a Service’ offerings out there.

SaaS Tree

SaaS Tree

Whether PaaS, SaaS or DaaS offerings can provide value to your organisation depends on many factors. Obvious advantages include its pricing model and low maintence cost. On the flip side you may find that the service is hard to fully customise to your needs and that the connecting ‘cloud services’ to your existing IT infrastructure can be a pain. 

In any case the expectation of analyst, large vendors and many journalist is that ‘cloud computing’ will increasingly influence the IT industry.

Who are my customers?

For marketeers it is a daily struggle. Where are my customers, what do they like, how can I reach them? Building a single view of the customer requires knowing a fair bit about them.

Ideally you want to know more then the data points your organisation is able to collect like address, order history and phone number (and please let those be accurate). What would really help effective marketing is knowing your customer’s contact preferences, social demographics, financial health, social network, employment, daily commute, etc. etc.

Keeping your data accurate with people moving, dying and changing jobs all the time is difficult enough as it is. Keeping abreast of your customers social data seems virually impossible. Has anyone experimented with collecting social network data to do this?