I was recently at CeBIT in Hannover, one of the leading IT events in EMEA (have a look at the infographic here http://www.cebit.de/en/news-trends/after-show-report/our-performance-in-figures/). If you’ve never been, it’s an immense show which occupies a significant amount of real estate!
The blurb for this years’ event, at which Schneider Electric participated, says: “The digitization of the economy is proceeding apace. CeBIT 2015 highlighted the immense opportunities afforded by the ‘economy’, but also the immense effort required to become ‘digitized’.”
Now I don’t really know what economy the writer is referring to, but if it’s Germany then the immense effort written about was never more obvious than when trying to pay for a cab. What can I say about Germany that hasn’t been said by Wikipedia; “…the world’s fourth-largest economy by nominal GDP and the fifth-largest by PPP… a global leader in several industrial and technological sectors… the world’s third-largest exporter and… importer of goods”.
But if you want to pay for a cab in Hannover, during an event which showcases global innovation, it’s a cash-only deal – no credit or debit cards taken. I asked why I couldn’t use a credit card and was told it was too expensive – even though I was more than prepared to pick up any additional charge. It struck me as odd since practically everywhere I travel I use a card to pay for cabs. It’s convenient, safe, trackable and a no-brainer. It jarred that an advanced economy could be so conservative.
This sort of thing does not go unnoticed at the company I work in. In fact, anecdotes like this stimulate thinking and challenge us as a business; do our products and solutions meet the market requirement? Are they accessible to potential customers in a way which fits the way that they want to do business with us, as much as the way we want to do business with them? Can they do business with us securely and in a way which gels with day-to-day, connected living.
In my conversations about DCIM, there’s the obvious interest in features and benefits – but there’s as much interest in outcomes and a simplified approach. How can customers get the benefit of DCIM data, analytics and insights, without necessarily becoming traditional DCIM customers? How can they hedge against future business performance without making big investments now? How can they avoid risk to the business?
In the corporate domain customers are keen to avail themselves of benefits like ease of use, more predictable cost models, more flexible contracts – you can get in more easily, turn on more functionality as and when you need it, or shut it all down and get out in 30 days if it doesn’t work or deliver value to your organisation. Just look at the success of Salesforce.com, Google Apps and many other public cloud-based enterprise software solutions.
It’s a different way of addressing cost, but the argument for cloud-based solutions are strong and getting stronger: The economics are compelling with no upfront capital costs and no impact upon existing staff resources; Clearly documented and visible security standards mean that critical organisational data is not compromised; Stuff scales better and provides better performance than a traditional client-based server architecture; sharing and integration of data across silos enables cost reductions through better efficiencies and effectiveness.
And if you’re prepared to allow your anonymised data to be shared, there’s the promise of even greater savings down the road: My colleagues in our Smart Cities business quote some interesting examples where publicly shared data has been used to create some really neat apps, saving citizens’ time and money and improving their quality of life. It’s an interesting model and begs the question how we could make life easier for those utilizing data center services? Stay tuned.