When new technologies reach the tipping point by being accepted as here to stay, innovative and "quick on their feet" businesses are given an opportunity to compete effectively in global markets.
Cloud computing has been around for about a decade, but in the past year or so it has come of age as is confirmed on Fujitsu's website (www.fujit su.com/global/solutions/cloud): "... cloud computing represents a fundamental and far-reaching change in the way IT is sourced, delivered and managed. It presents organisations with the opportunity to access infrastructure, systems, platforms, data, services and even business processes as standardised, inter-operable components on a self-service, pay-per-usage basis that can be scaled up and down as rapidly as needed.
However, large multinational companies, because of their massive investment in onsite solutions, are finding it difficult to migrate their products and services to the cloud.
In contrast, many NZ businesses have a chance to take advantage of the amazing cloud opportunity because they:
Are small and "quick on their feet" allowing them to incorporate the latest technology to market their cloud-based products or services;
Have produced IT solutions which are often superior to those marketed by huge multinational companies, but to date they have been unable to gain the market share they deserve;
Can piggyback on the experience and success of "Xero Add-on Partners" (see below).
The prime example of a New Zealand business stealing a march on its international competitors is Rod Drury's "Xero," whose cloud-based "beautiful accounting software" is making inroads into the markets of its main competitors: MYOB in Australia; Sage in Britain; Intuit in the US. (At the time of writing, Xero's ever-increasing market capitalisation has reached almost $700 million.)
Intuit regard Xero as its major competitor, and the problem Xero presents was demonstrated by this October 12 statement from a senior Intuit executive: "Customer satisfaction levels have begun to stagnate. And over time our anchor products, especially 'Quicken,' have come to seem clunky and antiquated. Over decades, you end up with bloatware.
"Over 100 companies (at least three-fourths are New Zealand organisations) have integrated their products to Xero's software to become Xero Add-on Partners, and in so doing have commenced, or significantly expanded, cloud-based sales of their products or services in global markets."
If you believe your software is world-class and could be integrated with Xero's software, you should make contact with them and become a Xero Add-on Partner (www.xero.com/add- ons/).
If you operate in a specialised market niche, your products or services are world-class and could be marketed via the cloud, but you don't have the IT knowledge to develop the software required to organise this yourself, don't give up. There are many world-class New Zealand IT companies and individuals who could develop the software for you.
So go to it and play your part in increasing NZ's high-tech exports and the number of its highly paid high-tech jobs.
If New Zealand's businesses and individuals take full advantage of the opportunity, the cloud could well become as important to New Zealand as watches have been to Switzerland.
Article contributed by the Wanganui Employers Chamber of Commerce UFB Business Strategy Group. To contact the group, drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org