Like most buzzwords, the “cloud” is way overused. It’s actually useless – if not misleading. Somehow the belief is that the cloud is only about delivering software. That’s it.
But for those companies that are making a huge difference in today’s competitive tech market, this view is an anachronism, almost laughable.
OK, so then what is the cloud really about? Well, to get some perspective on this, I reached out to Frank Slootman, who is the CEO of ServiceNow. The company’s technology allows for a single system of record for IT (information technology) environments, such as by automating manual takes, standardizing processes and consolidating systems.
And yes, the financial results for ServiceNow have been stellar. In the latest quarter, it booked $139 million in revenues, up 62% over the past year. The installed base is over 2,100 and there are accounts with over 400 Global 2000 customers. In fact, in the quarter, there were nine new transactions with annual contract values over $1 million and two were in excess of $10 million!
“The first stage of the cloud was about modernizing technology,” said Frank. “Now we are in the period of transformation. It’s about changing the way people are doing things.”
First of all, this means that the cloud can make technology truly useful to anyone in an organization. For example, ServiceNow has its own app development platform, which allows for creative customization.
“There is no programming skills required, so you are liberated from the high priests of software development,” said Frank. “The net effect is that orders of magnitude more people are now engaged and involved — which expands the market greatly.”
He also likes to refer to something he calls “lights out, light speed.” In other words, the cloud offers tremendous automation capabilities, which are distintermediating the traditional approach to service delivery.
Frank points to Amazon.com as an example.
Let’s face it, is there a phone number on the site? Do you need one? Not really. Yet Amazon.com is known for its standout service.
Finally, the cloud provides lots of potential for globalization. ”Everyone connects from where they are,” said Frank, “touching the exact same systems and experience that everybody else does. Cloud systems are designed with the latency of the internet in mind, such that systems can massively consolidate, standardize and globalize service processes.”