Skip to main content

Cloud Computing Excuses

I have been conducting an informal poll on cloud computing around my office and with consultants from other information technology consulting firms. I start by asking about the recent cloud computing announcements from Microsoft and other market leaders.

Everyone I have spoken to tells me they are excited about cloud computing and want to learn more about it. Microsoft's investment in development of cloud computing infrastructure makes it more legitimate and puts it in reach of more developers. Even my government customers tell me cloud computing is interesting and the shape of things to come.

Then I ask "who do you know who is using cloud computing today?" and I get a blank stare. I hear about some major customers cited by the vendors but none of my contacts knows real, live customers personally who are betting on cloud computing.

Part of the problem is that we are still waiting for the technology and the business model to solidify. Microsoft allows developers to use an early version of their offering, and the product will ship in the second half of 2009. Pricing was just announced last week, and the service will be available direct from Microsoft and through independent software vendors.

But I also hear something that sounds a bit like "not in my neighborhood." For instance, large companies won't need to go to the cloud since they already have large investments in IT infrastructure. Government will keep data onsite to protect security and privacy. The people I talk to say small business is the perfect early adopter, especially small businesses that don't want to maintain an IT infrastructure of their own.

Email is the most obvious to move to a service provider, but there are objections there as well. Where does a great deal of confidential information reside? Email, naturally. Which server outage would cause the greatest disruption at your company? Email again. I only know two companies who outsourced email. One is happy and one swears never again.

I also heard objections about potential legal issues for commercial customers. What happens when a company is involved in a lawsuit? Who guarantees that proper record retention policies are followed? Would law firms themselves be good customers for hosted computing services?

As a headline in the Washington Post this morning said, the outlook for computing is cloudy. It will take time to find out whether that means cloud computing is for you and your organization.

Popular posts from this blog

The DATA Act Driving Grant Management Automation

The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act enacted in May 2014 calls for making spending data available in open, standardized formats to be published online.  It is a continuation of transparency initiatives and lessons learned with experiences such as grants.gov, the 2009 economic stimulus under the Recovery Act and the spending site USASpending.gov.

Government grantees will have significant new administrative responsibilities.  Many organizations that were tracking grants in spreadsheets or documents will have to adopt more sophisticated automated grant management systems such as Microsoft Grants Manager to keep up with reporting rules.

For profit companies will lose some privacy as a result of this law.  Grant recipients will be required to disclose information including officer salaries.

Continued improvements to publishing grant opportunities such as grants.gov may make it easier to find grants. These reforms together are designed to improve the effectiveness of grant prog…

Key Concepts for Microsoft Dynamics 365: Entities and Attributes

To understand Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM and Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement), you need to learn some new terms and concepts that may be a bit different from what you know from databases and solutions that are hosted on premises. This is the second post in a series, and covers entities and attributes.

Entities are the most fundamental part of Dynamics 365 in terms of storing your business data.  They are similar in concept to database tables, and the relate to one another like tables in a relational database. For instance, Dynamics 365 has an entity called Contacts that stores data such as name, address, and email address of people that you track.   Accounts is a related entity that describes the organizations to which Contacts may belong.

Although they are similar to database tables, Dynamics entities allow you to do some customizations that are not possible in a standard database table.  Field labels, for instance, are part of an entity, and they may differ from …

Dynamics 365 for Auditing Activities

Many government and commercial organizations are responsible for conducting audits of financial and other performance in order to ensure compliance with regulations.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers a rich platform for automating auditing activities.  Here are some of the key functions that Dynamics 365 and Office 365 can perform for auditors:


Schedule visits. The Field Service app for Dynamics 365 includes a dispatcher console, and a module to assign auditors and schedule their visits or inspections.  It can also track other resources such as equipment which is used for field audits. Manage documents.  Dynamics 365 is integrated with SharePoint and also Azure Blob Storage.  This means that files may be associated with audit records, and searched using Microsoft search technologies which index full text and metadata. Generate notifications. Alerts via email or other communication channels (such as text messages) may be generated with Dynamics 365 automated workflows.  The messages are bas…