The Synthetic Cloud

SAP announced recently it was moving to smaller, more frequent modifications to its Business Suite every three months: “In the past, we have delivered innovation with enhancement packages or releases in a bundle, but our customers gave us clear feedback that they want easy, more digestible pieces which they can implement in a non-disruptive way,”

My question is what took so long? SaaS vendors like Workday and Zoho have for years now delivered a continuous stream of new features. And they can instantly propagate those changes through most of their customer base – it will be interesting to see the pace at which SAP customers adopt even these “digestible pieces”.

At least some progress. But why stop there – and this applies not just to SAP but most on-premise vendors?

Why not persuade their hosting partners to adopt data center best practices around cooling, UPS, container design and other innovations coming out of Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook? Why not persuade their application management partners to adopt share services and multi-tenancy concepts from salesforce and NetSuite? Why not move their maintenance pricing and those of hosting and application management to a customer usage based paradigm, not a time and headcount based model?

Purists will argue about “false clouds”. The reality is we make decisions in every day life – mineral versus synthetic oils for our cars, natural versus synthetic fabrics in our clothes etc. Let’s give customers the choice of a synthetic cloud with many of the benefits cloud vendors have been pioneering.

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CEO of Deal Architect, a top advisory boutique recognized in The Black Book of Outsourcing, author of a widely praised book on technology enabled innovation, The New Polymath, prolific blogger, writing about technology-enabled innovation at New Florence, New Renaissance and about waste in technology at Deal Architect.  Previously Analyst  at Gartner, Partner with PwC Consulting. Keynoted at many business and technology conferences and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, The Financial Times, CIO Magazine, and other executive and technology publications.