My Cloud Story

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One of my friends used to say often,

“You should not go where the horse takes you. You should take the horse where you want to go.”

I apply this for technology. It is horse power to your advantage if you use it well. One such technology is Cloud Computing.

I was introduced to cloud computing 3 years back by way of solutions to my work needs. Then on, no looking back. Cloud has served me in every way. Cloud has made me more competitive. Cloud has freed up a lot of my time. Cloud has given me so much of flexibility on how and where I do my work. Cloud has given me business opportunities. Cloud has made me my customer’s first choice to check, and hence I have always had the first choice of refusal even for the projects which I did not do. If you are in business, you understand what a great privilege it is to be in such a position with the customer. Cloud has helped me earn a tremendous "top-of-the-mind-recall" with my customers.Cloud has saved me money.

It rubbed off on my life too. Cloud has made my life better. Cloud has given me more family time. Cloud  has given the whole family a better way to collaborate. Cloud has given my kids wonderful backup for their slokas and music files. Learning has a new dimension with Cloud.

Productivity everywhere. Thanks to managing my work using cloud, I could even pursue and finish my long-cherished dream of doing a post graduation. I did that in DivyaPrabhandam for the last two years in a regular course M.A(Divya Prabhandam) without compromising on the work-front. Thank you Cloud!!!

Are you using Cloud to your business advantage? During the last two years I shared some of what I learnt about Cloud. Check out the links as follows:

How are you served by Cloud Computing?

A boon in your personal life

A competitive edge in your professional life

Cloud Computing Promoting IT in India

Cloud Camp #unconference See my twitter stream in this post and people mentioned there.  You can learn a lot of Cloud Computing by following some of them in twitter.

The concept of APPU

The power of collaboration through web as a business strategy

I started 3 years before with this post: Access Your Data And Apps From Anywhere, 24×7 and my enthusiasm has only grown from strength to strength with results supporting in my favour.

I have been in so much love with Cloud Computing that we have a company called CloudsDirect to advise businesses on how to leverage Cloud for business growth.

In the last 2 years the journey of life and business has been a wonderful one. So much of wonderful business stories and business results. Thank you, Cloud!!!

How Are You Served By Cloud Computing?

foto courtesy: fb share

Cloud computing has already moved a lot of stuff from desktop to cloud. For example, most of your applications and documents have moved to the cloud. Now the desktop is not very important to you. Web has taken that place. How does Cloud Computing serve your business? You dont need to know much about the architecture or the infrastructure part of the cloud. As a user, how are you served by Cloud Computing? 
Advantages
Computers that are high-priced and high-powered are not needed. Not much traditional software is used and not much backup is done on the computer. Nothing to save and nothing to load. In your office, even CD and DVD slots in your computers become unnecessary or  optional. You can use low-cost computers.
Improved performance of the computer as the computer is not clogged with unnecessary programs. 
No loss of data if your computer crashes. Cloud keeps data safe. 
Lower costs due to less investments, maintenance work load(both hardware and software) for your IT department. No peak load worries. Hence no idle resources. No software costs. Either they are free or rental is far lower than software costs. No software updates. Happens automatically with Cloud. No obsolete software.
Increased computing power. 
Unlimited storage capacity.
Operating systems do not matter when you share. 
No format incompatibilities for your documents.
The Biggest For Businesses
You can access your applications and documents from anywhere through the web. This relieves you from your physical constraints and not necessarily you are tied to your office as you can access these via web. Since anyone in your office can do the same (i.e. all of you can access the same document,when shared), this also allows group members to collaborate and work from being in different places. No need to wait for sequential work through email. Updates are instantaneous and can work simultaneously to co-create. Latest version is available to all. 
You can change devices. You can go mobile. Your documents and applications follow you. Work seamlessly without worrying about specific formats with specific devices. 
Many businesses need people working together to reach a common goal. Right information at the right time to the right people serves to make a right decision. Collaboration is more than communication. It is how people function together. Cloud helps you do that better. 
Go Cloud. 
Be well informed. Take speedy decisions. Get work done. 
What impacts have cloud computing played on your business? How has it transformed your business? Feel free to share.
Got Questions? Feel free to ask.  

Originally posted on http://blog.varadh.com

Cloud Computing and You : Part 2 : A Boon In Your Personal Life

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Cloud Allows Organization
With increasing convergence in smartphones and the possibilities of keeping a handy tablet and other devices with good connectivity by your side, Cloud is a big blessing. Many a times we lack info-where-n-when-we-want-it and hence have to postpone work which creates communication gaps and affects productivity of others. In this age of increased work hours, Cloud could be of help not to compromise on personal and social life. You can organize them so nicely not to miss out on both professional and personal lives.
For example, being based out of India, co-working with professionals from China, Brasil and US needs one to be available at various points of time through the working day and be available to reply, chat and help the work-flow happen all the time. So instead of a continuous 8 or 10 hours of work, it can be split by spacing it with your personal time. You can plan to work from wherever you are and schedule them accordingly. In such a situation, it is important that your data travels with you and accessible all the time. This makes a huge difference to your personal and professional lives. You need not miss your personal stuff completely and at the same time productivity at work is ensured. Such a combination actually makes you more efficient and also helps add more productivity to your work. It works the other way also. Being at your work place, you can take small breaks and spend personal time with all your info on the Cloud.

Helping With HomeWork from A Distant City
Even for personal use, storing your documents, music, photos, contacts and retrieving them immediately from the cloud helps you. The other day, at my daughter’s music class, the teacher wanted a recorded copy of a sloka that she taught one year ago. Then and there, I just downloaded the same and shared it with her and the happiness was visible. Many a times, I am able to help my daughter in real time from a distant city. More friends start buzzing me often as a ready reckoner and this helps being in touch with everyone as the conversations tend to keep me updated and helps in networking efficiently. I have seen people wonder at the new efficiency.

In a nut-shell, you need not choose work or family time and now can manage both well with the freedom that Cloud Computing offers. That eluding perfect balance of work and family is no more a dream. But a dream come true with Cloud Computing.

What do you think of this new kind of Freedom?

Originally posted on http://blog.varadh.com

Cloud Computing and You : Part 1: A Competitive Edge In Your Professional Life

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SETTLE DOWN WITH THE IDEA

Most of us have now settled down with the idea that we dont need to be in office just to take a phone call or to call someone. When we talk from our mobile, location makes little difference to the call(except other than situations like when we are in a noisy place, bad connectivity or driving). By and large, even for conference calls, this holds good.

Is the same possible for entire activities that you do at your office? Yes, I think so after having done it myself in the last 2-3 years and completely feeling at ease with that. Work nowadays is more a set of activities rather than a location. Looks a dreamy wish? No more, now it is very much possible thanks to the new IT concept called as Cloud Computing.

Generally people can relate to location-independent work when it comes to replying quickly by email with a few lines. But today, outside of your office, you can do everything the same way as you would do it in your office including collaboration in real-time. This just needs a small tech shift and a bigger mind-set shift. Once you know the productivity side of it and start using it, there is no going back.

BIGGEST GOALS OF PROFESSIONAL LIFE

Connectivity fundamentally changes the way customers view us vis-a-vis competition. Without much effort, you can distinctly achieve two(just as examples) of the biggest goals of professional life with your customers: their top-of-the-mind-recall and the advantage of getting the opportunity much before the market, even if, sometimes, it means just the first choice of refusal. This happens because you can do your work and can answer independent of location and also independent of machine. This will also contribute to feeding your network with good opportunities ahead of traditional reach and in turn will build a strong network within your domain of activity.

Since you can let your customers come to you not only for what you can do but also to participate with them to think aloud, refer them immediately in a relevant way by connecting yourself with the wealth of information/resources that you carry on Cloud and cater to them personally anytime, you can achieve much more with reduced trips to customer places in a way they do not feel your reduced physical trips but making them feel that you are closer to them than the guy who visits them the most number of times.

BE CONNECTED TO YOUR DATA

Not only your efficiency, Cloud will help you increase every one’s efficiency in your sphere of activity. How does that happen? Every competitor of yours has the same kind of data(probably even more) but they may not be connected to their data like you do. Your data travels with you and works for you. Time factor and probability of sure-shot answers will compel customers give you the choice of first refusal before they go to anyone. And slowly but surely you can capitalize on this as an opportunity.

QUANTIFY YOUR APPU

What used to be hours of lost time for productivity at work while being away from office has been taken off with one switch to Cloud Computing. You can also quantify this value addition.

As of today, Cloud is a competitive advantage and I think, sooner, will become the norm. Dont wait to follow the norm, make it your competitive edge today.

Check what stops you from using this competitive edge discussed here and feel free to comment here.

Originally posted on http://blog.varadh.com

Cloud Computing : Promoting IT In India

I have been speaking on Cloud Computing concept and strategies with many tech companies looking for opportunities, corporate businesses and SMBs looking for adoption and also in many forums for promotion. I have always felt that the awareness is abysmally low across the board. This resonates in this article Cloud Computing: The Indian reality where the author says

“On one hand, many analysts agree that the cloud computing market in India will grow to over a billion dollars by 2015 and will see a CAGR of over 40 percent, others lament the relatively low adoption and lack of awareness about cloud computing.”

We founded CloudsDirect two years before and have been watching and contributing to this space from then on.

One of the note-worthy evangelist promotions called #CloudCamp, that I know of, had been kicked-off by Dave Nielsen with the help of other like-minded Indian friends in a few cities of India for Indian audience once in a year. This has happened two years in a row now and I have found a great improvement in enthusiasm from the attendees and the sponsors. I wrote about this #unconference style last year and did a post on #CloudCamp #Chennai this year which was conducted by Larry. People who come mostly to these #unconferences are still only tech enthusiasts. Very few business people come to attend general technology-update-meetings.

In fact just around when we started, Salesforce.com launched their operations in India. We enrolled as their reselling partners and approached them with a unique idea of doing marketing road-shows throughout India  for different verticals of businesses and with the concept of Cloud promotion and specifically matching every vertical’s requirements to their product offerings. Though it did not happen, I found two years later that they are doing exactly that. I happened to see a program early this year titled  “C’ Level Executive event – Pharma Takes to the Cloud” by Salesforce.com inviting Pharma companies in Delhi. I came to know of this as some of my industry friends forwarded the invitation and asked my opinion for attending the same.

Our Advisor and Cloud Analyst posted a nice article Salesforce.com’s India Plans on the CRM history and trend in India a few months before Salesforce.com launched in India. To quote the article and his opinion,

“But I like the fact that Salesforce is planning to take a crack at the untapped Indian market. I hope that they succeed in popularizing cloud computing in a country where broadband adoption is still dismal while mobile has been a runaway success. In fact, SaaS/Cloud Computing is better suited for India than the traditional software solutions. It will help Indian businesses, hampered by unreliable power and broadband infrastructure, to compete well in this global economy.”

Quoting Mr. Dasgupta’s article again, I believe this would surely happen:

“Thus, we will see an increasing trend where social media, location-aware services, real-time data feeds, micro-transactions, audio and video being pulled together harmoniously from the cloud to create “symphonies” on handheld devices. And India, with its volume-driven market, growing mobile-adoption, youth-oriented demographic and quick-adoption of technology, is perfectly poised to tune-into this music.”

I think there has to be more awareness camps and that should happen by selecting verticals and mapping the stories to their requirements.  We should promote cloud computing by quoting examples of a similar organisation that has capitalized on the technology and succeeding in other parts of the world.

Cloud Service Providers who want to concentrate on Indian market should join hands with consultants, vertical-wise Industry leaders, enthusiasts and promote such awareness camps by sponsoring rather than general advertising and each going on their own and detailing cloud computing as a technology which yet is not understood well as a concept.

Even in CloudCamp blog post, I had suggested this as

“More passionately, #cloudcamp for every vertical where cloud solutions with respect to that vertical get discussed.”

Let me end with some more good news: Cloud Computing gets the rank #1 for 2011 in Top 10 technology priorities as per Gartner Executive Programs Worldwide Survey.

Companies which invest in awareness and education today will have a distinct advantage when it will surge in the next few years. The kind of penetration such methodical programs, partnering consultants and industry leaders, can achieve will not only help in Brand penetration and recall but also in understanding the Indian customers and hence watching the trend and fine-tuning for success in the Cloud space.

Originally posted on http://blog.varadh.com

#CloudCamp #Chennai #Unconference

I attended #cloudcamp #chennai on Feb 19th at Tidel Park Chennai . This Unconference was conducted under the able leadership of @larrycincy. This is the second event after it got started last year in Chennai under the initiative of @davenielsen.

About CloudCamp:

CloudCamp is an unconference where early adopters of Cloud Computing technologies exchange ideas. With the rapid change occurring in the industry, we need a place where we can meet to share our experiences, challenges and solutions. At CloudCamp, you are encouraged to share your thoughts in several open discussions, as we strive for the advancement of Cloud Computing. End users, IT professionals and vendors are all encouraged to participate.

I attended the first one(around same time last year) more as a spectator only participating in the lightning talks. This time I participated on the Round 2 Open Spaces on “Cloud Computing-Reality or Hype?” along with co-panelists Larry and Subba. The discussions included history of Cloud Computing, a business user’s perspective, security of cloud and trends towards the future of cloud computing. I myself have taken notes from the session and touching base with our advisor @krishnan to check more on some of the perspectives from the session and latest trends.

The unconference had good networking, good attendance, good social media participation with hash tags #cloudcamp #chennai. See pictures posted to know more.

To get the gist of it, go to search.twitter.com and type #cloudcamp #chennai.

Viva #unconference. So much of learning. To keep track of the schedule #cloudcamp, visit http://www.cloudcamp.org/

My wish-list for future #CloudCamps participation include

  • Inviting more business users from different verticals.
  • Posting the Q&A of unpanel sessions and other break-out sessions.
  • If possible, some video clips of the sessions.
  • More passionately, #cloudcamp for every vertical where cloud solutions with respect to that vertical get discussed.

On the lighter side, Larry told us that a lot of students asked him, if, by attending this unconference on #cloudcamp, they will get a certificate. LOL.

Larry also told us that some people felt that #cloudcamp should charge the participants a nominal fee and created a lively discussion on the same towards the end while distributing sponsors gifts to the attendees. The distribution was done by having a lively quiz session by @manidoraisamy and the winners got the gifts.

So till the end(in spite of the world cup opener on that day) the crowd stayed and participated in a great way.

Want to learn more about Cloud Computing ? Visit News and Events and feel free to buzz me. 

Originally posted on http://blog.varadh.com

Hyper Connected And Productive World

Today’s post : Up the ante in the ‘cloud’ game, with APPU
http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/features/eworld/article1162085.ece

Happy to be talking about Productivity.

Happy Reading!!!

Originally posted on http://blog.varadh.com

The Power Of Collaboration Through Web As A Business Strategy

When I talk to business community, I talk more about their business objectives and how they can use technology to achieve them. Its more about business strategy using technology.  Today any business increasingly finds the need to transform their business by integrating web-based activities into what they do.  So today’s businesses need to know that the web is changing the business and how to plan a business model inclusive of these changes. So my talks are mostly on how the web is changing business and the relative changes in the landscape of competition.

I earlier posted Access Your Data and Apps 24×7, from Anywhere and Eleven Things To Improve Your Productivity. With just a computer and an internet connection, you can improve your productivity many fold.

In this post we shall discuss about the power of Collaboration @work. Web collaboration is the capability to collaborate via the internet in real time.  Imagine sharing documents and spreadsheets and collaborating with your team or clients in real-time.  Storing them on clouds makes it available to you anywhere with an internet connection for further collaboration.

Why insist on Collaboration?

Collaboration produces more results in less time for less money.  It will help invent different ways to work together. The conversations that are enabled by collaboration will bring immense benefit to the users and also the organization. The processes will become more transparent and efficient. The ease of online collaboration and the shifts in mind-set will bring in a new era of management. When a group of users produce better results due to collaboration, it will attract new users and the whole organization will catch on with the productivity it brings. Collaboration is an important part of your business strategy. 

Why is it difficult to Collaborate?

Collaboration is a new and different way to work together and hence it involves changes in work place.People tend to avoid such productivity when they have a feeling of someone else taking away their credit. People tend to avoid collaboration when there is a feeling of one contributing more than the other. The remedy include shifts in mind-set and experimentation. Bringing in incremental changes and close observation of how those changes work can be a good starting point. When a group of users succeed, it is bound to make the collaboration strategy work.

What will Collaboration achieve?

Collaboration allows knowledge, skill and experience of the group to be shared more effectively. Collaboration allows people to do what otherwise they have not been able to do. This includes making connections, making new conversations, new processes and so on. It brings in new sales, new opportunities, customer satisfaction etc.

Who can use Collaboration Tools?

Practically anyone. Its a real boon to Small and Medium Enterprises(SMEs). Even local businesses and local projects can use these business models to a great advantage. 

I have tried to see it, explain it from the user’s perspective. In my interactions with business people, I have gone to the extent of saying, “If you don’t understand the power of collaboration, ……………..”. Simply said, Collaboration is going to be synonymous with “productivity” for the years to come. Collaboration is becoming a need to survive and prosper.

 

What do you think? How do you Collaborate?

Want to know more about Collaboration Tools that would fit your business ? Please feel free to buzz me here.

Originally posted on http://blog.varadh.com

Access Your Data and Apps From Anywhere, 24×7

I went on a business trip to Brasil. I landed on a Saturday and Sunday morning my laptop did not work(when I got it fixed this week, I was told it was a OS problem).

You know the hardship of your laptop Crashing on an important business trip. So actually when you read this, you might imagine that I would have panicked and my trip productivity would have suffered. But I was least bothered about it as none of my emails/files/data is in my laptop. I use “Email on Clouds”  which is web based and it is integrated(emails, contact manager, calendar, chats etc. and I have access through the web for all of them) and also keep all my files on Clouds. My presentations for the customers are on Clouds.

I had a broadband connection in my room at usd4/day but the business centre was charging usd4/30 minutes of internet usage. Hence I tried and got a spare laptop from a friend of mine in SaoPaulo. That just did the job of my own laptop.

While I wanted to write this post, I suddenly remembered that more than a year ago, I had shared my experience(I had not started my blog then) by email in a different way. I give below Verbatim the text of that email here, which could explain the whole thing. We also did a webinar on the same later.

This mail is a result of my personal experience. During the  process of stepping into the fourth year of business, one  thing kept nagging me: How can I manage my ever-increasing  files/data/contacts and keep it available at a click away, to access from anywhere and 24×7? What am I going to do to increase my productivity? How can I manage my repetitive tasks better and hence free-up more time or make my time more productive? How am I going to keep track of various things which need different kinds of follow-up work? Is there a way to reduce my workload and still be more efficient with my necessity and addiction to sharing information every moment of every day? How do I keep pace with a hyper-connected world? Of Course,These are not new questions. But I wanted to find answers from the technology side and take help rather than create more traditional infrastructure(read back office files/more devices/physical offices and people to keep and serve such tasks and a secretary to handle information). I wanted to find a way to go about handling things in an easy accessible way and wanted all my information/data/past-search-results available to me a click  away without depending on my machine or my place and I wanted it to be available 24×7. All these without big new investments(capital expenditure). My college buddy and technology consultant based out of US and operating in a hyper-connected world had a perfect solution to these and much more by what is known to the world as “Cloud Computing”. I found that there is a huge potential for learning to do things with a paradigm shift which not only extends to how we do business but also helps self and business productivity. Cloud Computing can be a huge  “competitive advantage” with the impact of “Now”. Connectivity tools in your hands can help create increase in productivity. My personal story ends here. Now over to you: Some of my friends saw my digital savviness and wanted to learn and hence we have arranged a Webinar (seminar over the web) on CLOUD COMPUTING and what  it can do for you.

Exactly after one year, Cloud based Solutions that I have subscribed kept me calm and undisturbed and ensured my productivity thanks to my being independent of my machine 24×7.

Learn to Access Your Data and Apps From Anywhere, 24×7. Welcome to the world of Cloud Computing.

Originally posted on http://blog.varadh.com