I’ve been at Alfresco for four months now and I thought it was about time that I introduced myself. My name is David Gildeh, and my official title is ‘Director of Cloud Services’ – which means I am charged with the exciting task of managing Alfresco’s cloud strategy.
Prior to joining Alfresco, I actually built a Cloud company that ran on Alfresco, and that’s why I am extremely excited about my new role. In my opinion, there is no company better positioned than Alfresco to address the changes happening across enterprises today.
But it’s not just Alfresco’s technology that is so compelling to me – there’s also an acute understanding of the real-world changes that are happening in businesses, and how cloud technology can help those businesses address their evolving needs.
The simple fact is that most incumbents in the industry have got it backwards. Cloud has become the way to deliver the same software online, without much thought about what Cloud is really enabling. As a result, many vendors have simply taken their products, moved them to “the cloud” with some credit card billing, and declared themselves as Cloud vendors.
But there’s a problem here – simply moving content management software to the cloud does not necessarily address the needs of today’s workers, and it doesn’t reflect an understanding of what’s going on in the workplace.
The cloud came into play when the workforce demanded better tools to collaborate, share and communicate. Today, real business people don’t talk about how “cloud computing” changed they way they do their jobs. They just ask the IT department to help them get their email, word documents or presentations on their iPad. They want technology to better support the way that they work – and the technology eventually follows.
And that’s the point – just putting software in the cloud doesn’t mean you’ve addressed the needs of the actual business users. You might be able to save the CIO some IT budget, or maybe save the IT department some man-hours since they don’t have to spool up another server – but it doesn’t change anything for the end users they’re actually trying to serve.
Content management in the cloud requires a coherent strategy for serving real-world business user needs, across multiple platforms, devices, use cases and locations.
Consumerization Is A Result of Poor Cloud Strategies
Good-enough systems like box.net may be fueling the consumerization of IT trend, but enterprise customers find quickly that they aren’t designed to handle many enterprise use-cases. And the popularity of these consumer-oriented tools in the enterprise is more a result of workers being underserved by slap-dash cloud strategies from myriad vendors.
The workforce is being forced to look for their own solutions because they just want their content management system to fit into their work style, and few vendors are offering anything of the sort.
A New Approach, A Simple Concept
Alfresco’s response to these changes is fundamentally different than other vendors in the industry. We believe that serving our customers’ needs isn’t about throwing on-premise software in the cloud. It is about designing the platform for the ways today’s businesses operate. Yes that means cloud-scale design on the back end, but it also means taking a long, hard look at end-user behavior, how they work on a daily basis… and designing for THEM.
It’s not about the cloud, it’s about people.
We’re architecting Alfresco for the cloud by making it the hub for your business content. It is your home base. Devices and systems are merely endpoints from which you access your content hub. The emphasis here is on accessibility, openness and security – but in the context of what your employees are already doing.
It’s not unlike the iTunes media hub for consumers. All their media is stored and controlled centrally and securely but can be accessed easily across multiple devices and consumed when and how users want.
We don’t want you to have to worry about the kind of device your workers use – we’re taking care of that for you, in true Alfresco fashion, by leveraging open standards and even releasing mobile apps that get you started quickly. Your end-users (who are already using multiple personal devices for work) can finally have secure access to their content wherever they might be working.
We will keep the hub secure, scalable and extensible for your business. But we’re also going to make sure that your content management software gets out of the way of your end-users and, for once, supports them in the ways that they want to work.
Alfresco has the right approach – people have changed the way they work and cloud computing is a byproduct of that change. It’s about time that someone took notice, and addressed the needs of the people in your organization – because they are the difference between profit and loss, success and failure.