By Sramana Mitra and guest author Shaloo Shalini
SM: Paul, is there anything that I should have asked you but didn’t?
PS: No, I think the only other thing I would say is that this entire idea is that cloud computing and service orientation are hand in glove. They are mutually beneficial and reinforcing.
SM: That I agree with.
PS: So, you can do service-oriented architecture (SOA) without the cloud, but you cannot do the cloud without SOA, so there is a very important synergy there.
SM: And you provided a very good discussion, including good use cases on that particular topic.
PS: What I am trying to get at when we are talking about SMEs cases, I think you find it interesting because this is something we are grappling with. In particular, the entire idea is based on a service company and a service economy; essentially, what the cloud is enabling is a transition, and there is a mega shift happening in front of us. We know that shifts are happening in the computing paradigm; we talked about that. There is a shift toward a service economy, and a service economy is indeed out there. what is the value if cloud? The value is innovative business models on top of the infrastructure called the cloud, so the entrepreneurs can do things differently and more effectively. There are more options, more combinations, and more complementary things going on.
PS: Now, what interesting now goes back to the connection between companies. This connection is no longer just about transactions – it is about relationships. That’s what you are managing, a relationship. That is a backdrop, here we are a manufacturing company, and we are moving to more service orientation. We are trying to hedge against the commoditization of our product. We are trying to add more value to our products, doing more service. And the cloud is enabling that. I would like you to think about it and be aware of that. In the marketing literature you see this goods-dominant logic moving to a services-dominant logic. When a lot of people talk about cloud computing, it is very much an IT-centric view as of a SaaS provider trying to become more service oriented. There are two halves, two pieces to this. I don’t think there are enough people out there paying attention to this entire service orientation in the business domain enabled by service orientation in the IT domain. It is a subtle but important distinction.
SM: But do you think that service orientation of business is helped by the service orientation in the IT environment?
PS: Yes, and there is too much focus on how we do the IT enabled services orientation. Clearly, [this is good for] the IT industry because software has become a digital asset; it become a value proposition, not as a tangible good. You know, the same thing is happening in the global economy. I think that exact connection is important because you and I, and people in the IT domain are always fighting about this IT alignment with business question. But here is an opportunity to look at the business piece rather than the IT piece.
SM: I don’t fight against that at all. That is precisely what I focus on.
PS: Very well.
SM: I think the possibilities that may come out of this, in some cases, are that there may be a business model tie-in between the service-oriented business and the service-oriented IT functions underneath supporting it.
PS: Yes, exactly. I think some of the things I have known I view a stack, which is a service-oriented enterprise. A service-oriented enterprise is one that extends business processes across the boundaries of the firm. Now, there is the stack at the top called the value network, a service called value network, which is the ecosystem of companies that are collaborating to create value. Below that, you have each of the enterprise business processes, and below that you have service-oriented architecture third and driving in. Below that you have service-oriented computing, which is all about Web services and the core applications that drive operability. Below that, you have service-oriented infrastructure, which is ideal for the messaging box and the enterprise service box, and then below that you have the cloud computing deploying the model. Then you have IAAS, PaaS, and SaaS, so if you look at that stack, that is the interesting thing to think about
SM: I don’t think it applies as well to manufacturing, but if you are a service company, under some point of view of delivering a service, does that stack then become cost of goods sold?
PS: Ah, it is a good question. I have to think about it. There is no tangible product; I do not know.
SM: This has been an excellent discussion. Let’s keep in touch, and if there are any of your peers whom you think are doing good work in cloud adoption, evangelization and thought leadership, we would definitely appreciate an introduction to invite them to the series.
PS: Sure, I will do that. Thanks very much.