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Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Steven John, Strategic CIO Of Workday (Part 8)

Posted on Monday, Aug 8th 2011

By Sramana Mitra and guest author Siddharth Garg

Sramana Mitra: Do you have any other thoughts on entrepreneurship directions, ideas, or open problems?

Steven John: Sure. I think there are some interesting things. I am helping to set up ecosystem architectures because we are not used to that in IT; we are used to connecting to server to server. As you move into the cloud you have to connect on-premise, you have to connect cloud to cloud. How does all that work and who in the organization is doing it? Maybe that is an emerging skill or job role as opposed to an entrepreneurial opportunity.

SM: Or consulting company opportunity.

SJ: Or consulting company opportunity, the validation idea I talked about earlier, the due diligence and huge relationship management. Someone will broker the cloud; someone will come in and help you put together a Google, Salesforce, Workday, and NetSuite offering. Here is the total solution form: an aggregated standpoint of multiple cloud providers. I think you can see someone come in and do that type of thing. I would describe it as being like the people who sold shovels during the gold rush. There is a lot of activity around the edges of people supplying the cloud providers and helping them develop new capabilities and adding new content. I think mobile will be huge. I think you mentioned that earlier, the cloud and mobile are so tied together, and I think that tie will grow tighter and tighter; because of the interface, that is a huge opportunity. That is one area where you could be more like dotcom in that you don’t have to have the deep technological knowledge if you just dealt out an app for the iPad and interface with Salesforce or Workday or something else and enhances it, doing so provide something that isn’t currently provided. I think you will some of that happening.

SM: As a cloud vendor, what would you say are some of the needs of the cloud vendors? You said there is an opportunity to providing technology to cloud vendors? What are some of those instances?

SJ: Well, I think some of the big ones are maybe . . . it’s not shovels; it’s like earth-movers. We know that growth in the cloud is going to require leaps in technology capabilities, just the ability of processors to process data, to store data, for all the things that drive scalability. I think we will need to see advances in security, and as we get more data in the cloud, more of this consolidation will take place; of course there will be large targets. So, I think we will need to see security advances. I think that they could become some resource shortages around skill sets for the cloud, so there could be opportunities developing around that for consulting or providing those specific skill sets.

SM: Where do you think that will come from? Does that mean that the some skill sets that are maturing inside the outsourcing companies are going to go work in service of cloud companies?

SJ: Well, I think that especially with the millennials, they are driven by the excitement of new technology, they are driven by the excitement of growth and opportunity. So, I think we will see movement away from manufacturing firms and standard businesses to the cloud because of the growth and opportunities for learning and development that are in other areas.

SM: But don’t you think those that people who are talented in those areas are going to work for cooler companies like Facebook, Zynga, and Twitter? Those types of companies? Google, perhaps, to some extent?

SJ: Yes, sexier kind of stuff. I would agree with that.

SM: At the end of the day, what is necessary in the cloud environment is more hardcore work, right?

SJ: Yes. There is a shift one way or the other, I think there is also a high level of creativity that is emerging, and in Workday our best employees are the creative ones, the ones who can drive the innovation that can match our speed to value. So, they can come up in a four-month period of development with entirely new capabilities, it is just that speed value is really going to shift and it just going to drive a different skill set than in the past where there was a four-year or five-year development cycle.

SM: OK, do you have any other thoughts?

SJ: I think we have covered a lot of ground.

SM: Great, let’s keep in touch. This is very good. I think your perspective is very interesting, and I look forward to keeping in touch.

SJ: I am now attached to your blog, and it was a very exciting and insightful conversation. I appreciate your taking the time to talk to me.

SM: My pleasure.

This segment is part 8 in the series : Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Steven John, Strategic CIO Of Workday
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