Sunday, August 31, 2008

Does Cloud has a Silver Lining ?

Which cloud are we Talking about ? Is it Cloud Computing ??  Is it another buzzword like dotcom. Why should you and I care about computing .......

Well yes !! We are talking about the cloud computing. Follow the news on technology and you'll see all the companies joining the bandwagon. Why ??

To give it a perspective, lets start with looking at what happened in past. When electricity started becoming popular in early 20th century, every nook and corner produced its own electricity. Very soon, Industry started realising the power of economy of scale and national electricity grids came into picture. Everything converged to a single point. Now Electricity generation is like using Cloud computing today. No more silo sources. 

On the contrary, Another big revolution that affected our lives to a great extent in 20th century, was transportation. Initial ships and rails were followed by cars and airplanes. Even though personal mode of transportation became more popular in US, the public transport became hit in European countries. With an analogous viewpoint, the Trains & Airplanes became the cloud of transportation whereas Cars and Motorbikes became individual computers & servers. Today, we see a wonderful hybrid model in transportation across the globe. Though, each mode of transport is always a competitor for the other mode of transport but they also are in co-opetition

In telecommunication, mobile phones were revolutionary. Their invention was not only a competitor to the existing landlines but also a major threat for making landline phone extinct. It took long time to realise that the society needs both of them and they are complementary to each other. Internet, which has changed the official and personal communication to a great extent in past two decades, is a major threat for other communication channels. So far, it has been very friendly and always augmenting the services of the other communication channels but we never know when it turns hostile. 

Similar to technologies discusses above, Cloud Computing definitely looks very promising but the concerns still loom for the effectiveness and usage of the cloud computing resources. More than cloud resources, it is bandwidth and connectivity issues which need to be addressed before getting ready for the cloud. It like building the highways and airports before getting ready to drive the cars and planes. 

On one hand where Microsoft has been consistent on maintaining its supremacy over desktop platform, Google is heavily betting on web platform. Google's latest release, Chrome, the fastest and most secure web browser is the foundation stone for ensuring success on the web platform and future web services. Its open source code will not only make it better but also lead to making the most popular web browser.  The increase widespread usage and popularity of web2.0 service is another good indication for the cloud computing landscape.

The cloud computing initiative which is being run by industry heavyweights like Google,Yahoo, Amazon, Microsoft, HP and IBM  has caught some attention by big consumers like GE and P&G, the big consumer of IT. The cloud initiative will change the landscape of current IT consulting industry. It is one of the biggest threats for the companies like Accenture, CSC and EDS. Their concerns are to adapt their current business model to the new evolving model with IT resources moving on to the cloud. 

Cloud will not only take away all the infrastructure redundancy but also lead to much more reliable and safer IT resources for the company. With hybrid model, cloud will take care of the peak time capabilities and also reduce the Total Cost of Ownership(TCO) of IT for the companies. The device and location independence of IT resources signifying the global nature of economy and usage will also help in resource utilization, more eco-friendly and efficient IT systems. What it won't take away or rather increase - would be the concerns of loosing control over company's sensitive data and security concerns. 

So is this silver lining at the cost of Golden lock on sensitive data ???

Monday, August 4, 2008

Buying Pattern of Indian Customers..What it means...

I've been thinking about this for quite sometime ...Are customers from different cultures actually different ??? Does it matter for the companies ?? Can companies use this information to make more profit ??

If you look at buying patterns of customers in different regions and different cultures, they are very different when its actual buying of the product and not just adoring them. I've not done much research on buyers from other cultures but have been observing Indian buyers and their buying patterns in technology for quite some time.

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There is very common myth that Indian buyers are choosy about the prices. In order to break the myth, Lets start with saying that - "Indian buyers are choosy about the bargains." These buyers don't go for the cheapest products but for the products with best return on investment.

Ipod, when launched in October'2001, became immediately successful in among american customers but it took two years for Ipod to prove its mettle among Indian customers. As soon as Indian customers found it to be robust, value for money and something to be relied on, they started buying it too. It was not only the shuffle Ipod which became most popular among Indians but also the higher end video Ipods too.

Have you ever thought, why it took Ipod two years to catch up whereas it took 20 years for the Mac book to catch up among Indian customers. The reason is simple, the product wasn't mature enough to attract them. Mac book sold among European and American customers even when the softwares were not available for Mac OSX. The product was evolving too rapidly to make it attractive to Indians. They adored it but didn't buy. It was when Apple announced Intel processor for mac books, the era of Mac book's perception of being a stable product started. Indians don't care for the price tag anymore. What they care for is, the quality they are getting at the same price tag.

Toyota, Honda and Nissan are the darlings of Indian Community in United States. Its very difficult to find an Indian owning an American Car (read as GM, Ford, Chrysler). This is not only the current trend but also has stayed the same for past twenty years when the gas prices were cheaper. The American cars don't attract Indians because they don't fit their criteria for a product worth buying. They want reliable, fuel efficient and long lasting automobile of high quality. An Indian would never buy GM or Jeep but would prefer buying Acura or Lexus for more money.

The biggest shopping destination of Indians in United States are the factory outlets. They prefer the best products at cheaper price to buying cheap products. . It would be rare event to see even a rich Indian buying at Nordstrom, best service and highly priced shopping store chain. They will buy the same brand at a cheaper price in Factory Outlets. This not only lets them own the best product but also pay far lesser prices.

There are numerous such instances in personal and corporate buying by Indians. The point here is that can companies take a clue from these buying patterns in judging their products. I'm sure there would a peculiar buying pattern among Chinese customers too. Companies can do the profiling of their customers. Using the profile of their current customers, they can use that information not only in making their products better but also for the efficient pricing of their products.

Today, no company should underestimate the purchasing power of upcoming Indian and Chinese middle class. They are going to be the ones, who will drive the markets in the years to come.

I would love to know more about insights about the customers from different culture. Will update you all when anything new comes to my grey cells. Till then ...keep ticking ....