by Alex Grigg, Treasurer (Published September 1, 2012)
Program: Updates from the World of Cloud Computing
Date: Monday, July 16
Speaker: Peter Derycz, Reprints Desk
Presenters: Food Agriculture & Nutrition Division and Information Technology Division
At the annual conference in Chicago Peter Derycz from Reprints Desk presented a session for the IT Division entitled “Cloud above the Clouds: Ensuring End User Happiness.” Peter started his talk by pointing out that the cloud has integrated itself into every part of software, platform, and infrastructure delivery. It is now possible to buy all of these things and more as a cloud based service, rather than relying on your own internal IT or other departments to provide them using homegrown and internal resources. However, the expansion of the availability of cloud based services is something that started decades ago with the introduction of the internet. At that point we could suddenly look to services like Dialog to provide access to resources that we might not always own and keep in hard copy on our desks or on our library shelves.
A narrower definition of the cloud might limit it to virtual servers located in someone else’s buildings and that are maintained by some external company, but the cloud is more often now used as a marketing term. Marketing teams are in a frenzy to slap the term “cloud” on any service that might be accessed partly or wholly through the internet. The cloud is one of the hot, new things and everyone thinks they need to be out there in the cloud with all of the other new companies, however the cloud isn’t free and it is not without its own perils. Cloud based hosting and services can still fail as some Amazon customers recently discovered. Also, while those cloud based services can be more scalable and flexible, they are not necessarily cheaper. That scalability often comes at a higher cost than internal services would.
Those were the main points of Peter’s talk, but he went on to talk about how focusing on what’s more important than whether or not something is cloud based or not is whether or not it meets the end user’s needs. The cloud allows for improvements in customer service which Peter believes Reprints Desk has made through a variety of improvements in their delivery services. He points out that having things in the cloud alone is less important than leveraging the advantages of the cloud to improve the user experience.
Slides from the presentation are available here: http://www.slideshare.net/reprintsdesk/the-cloud-above-the-clouds-ensuring-end-user-happiness-a-document-delivery-case-study