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Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Doug Menefee, CIO of Schumacher Group (Part 9)

Posted on Tuesday, Jan 25th 2011

By Sramana Mitra and guest author Shaloo Shalini

SM: I would like to know what your thoughts are on entrepreneurial opportunities, some of the blue-sky opportunities in the context of cloud computing. This interview is part of program I run called One Million by One Million, and we want a million entrepreneurs to earn a million dollars in annual revenue. So, we have a lot of entrepreneurs, including cloud entrepreneurs, who are trying to understand the blue-sky opportunities and learn where CIOs have open problems during their cloud computing adoption phase. Through this series, we are trying to bring to entrepreneurs insights from the CIOs of cloud-adopting enterprises in various industries.

DM: My philosophy, in the context of entrepreneurs seeking insights from the ‘cloud computing’ market, is not to go out and create another platform as a service. I think you are late to market on that. Nor would I recommend creating your own infrastructure. If you have your next great idea on an application layer or, say, meeting a business need or a consumer need, then you need to get your product or a proof of concept up and running as quickly as possible and in a scalable infrastructure, say, Building applications on top of, Amazon services, or Google services is recommended. I would say that entrepreneurs should focus on the innovation and not on the platform and infrastructure side of the equation unless they truly want to be a new platform as a service.

I often wish I could quit my job and go start up companies working on cloud-based solutions. Unfortunately, I love my job, and I love the impact that we have on 3 million patients on an annual basis. My wife loves the stable paycheck, too!

I feel strongly that right now we are in a time where investors are again willing to invest in the really great ideas out there. You take into account that the Facebooks of the world and the Dimdims of the world started out very small and nimble. That they have been able to leverage word of mouth over the Internet just continues to open up opportunities for entrepreneurs.

The next area I think entrepreneurs should be focused on is broadband. I live in a community that has fiber to the home, but not through Verizon services – the city built it itself. We have 200,000 people with access to 100 megabit services as an Internet. So, I believe that the ‘blue ocean ideas’ or opportunities are in broadband video. I’m not going to say broadband content. As a former developer and entrepreneur, I always had to limit my application because I had broadband with constraints in the United States. The rest of the world is already ahead of us in the broadband game. I feel that the ability to move larger chunks of data is the key. That is why connection and the other services I talked about earlier, the telepresence environment, are where we will find the next generation of truly formidable cloud-based solutions. Enterprise data warehouses being built, high-end analytics, movement of large data chunks –those type of things are what are still living inside of the individual, inside of enterprise infrastructure and corporations.

SM: Any thoughts about blue-sky opportunities within your domain, healthcare?

DM: Mobile, mobile, mobile, mobile! For us, I’m not going to say specifically Schumacher Group, but in healthcare, the ability to deploy and deliver mobile solutions that focus on the ease of use and the user interface. Most of the technology solutions in healthcare are big, clunky client–server databases, and they do not focus on the user interface for physicians. That is why physicians are laggards in adopting technology for patient care. The big focus should be on user interfaces and adoption for physicians. Solutions must allow physicians to still be able to deliver quality [care] and a risk-mitigated electronic medical record (EMR) for the patient.

SM: Great! I think this has been a very insightful discussion.

DM: Absolutely! I’m happy to help out.

This segment is part 9 in the series : Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Doug Menefee, CIO of Schumacher Group
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