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Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Frank Modruson, CIO of Accenture (Part 4)

Posted on Saturday, Jun 25th 2011

By Sramana Mitra and guest authors Siddharth Garg and Rahul Nagpal

Sramana: I think part of it is that, the idea that people have to be dressed for a call is a bit of a barrier to entry, but there is also something else. When you look at these video conferencing systems, they are not trivial. They are widely available now, but they are not entirely trivial. If you have many parties on different types of configurations, the video conferencing system often hiccups. And this may not be true for you because you have a highly controlled corporate environment, but if you look outside the corporate environment or the enterprise environment, it is not quite as seamless.

Frank: Well, I think you are probably right. But I think you are probably looking at Accenture a little incorrectly. We have about 215,000 people and about 300 of our own locations. There are people who show up to work at more than 10,000 different locations every day. So, oftentimes they are on the Internet, not on our network. I think you are going to find that people need to understand a bit more that if you are on a crowded Wi-Fi [network] with a bad signal, guess what? It’s not going to be quite as good as being on a wired connection where you have a lot of bandwidth dedicated to you.

Sramana: That’s correct.

Frank: That’s kind of a different mindset. I think your point is correct in the sense that the hiccups are going to be something there. I liken it to cell phones. Sometimes your cell phone doesn’t have a good connection because you are in a bad coverage area or there is a lot of traffic. I think we are going to have to be a bit more wary of what connection quality is.

Sramana: Yes, true. You made the comment that bandwidth has become substantially cheaper. I happen to think that bandwidth is not going to remain cheap. I was reading an article this morning that said that Netflix has now become one of the largest producers or consumers of Internet traffic. Well, now if we have video conferencing moving at a furious pace, that’s going to add another layer of load to the bandwidth for telecom companies, and they cannot absorb it. It’s not reasonable for us to expect that they will be able to offer the high-quality service needed for such a situation at rock-bottom prices. Would you respond to that?

Frank: I think, on anything, you are going to have to watch the market evolve. There is some level of difficulty in trying to figure out exactly how the market is going to evolve, because in one sense I would agree with your point. In another sense, I would say, well, but we also have 4G coming out. What does that mean?  There has been an assumption that your connection to the network, your broadband connection, is a physical connection as opposed to a 4G or wireless connection. You are going to see competition in the marketplace, and it’s going to be interesting to watch what happens.

I think it’s going to be interesting, but I am not sure if I am in a good position to comment on how it’s going to play out. I think there are a few unknown barriers here. I think you are right – carriers are going to attempt to recover increased costs. At the same time, they are going to be looking for market share, right?

This segment is part 4 in the series : Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Frank Modruson, CIO of Accenture
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Beyond the huge increase in internet traffic and cost savings from cloud computing the market shaping shifts it will cause in everything from research to logistics will be sweeping, at least according to John Hagel and John Seely Brown

Kare Anderson Sunday, June 26, 2011 at 9:19 AM PT