Are you afraid of so-called cloud applications that go bump in the night because they are fake? What about on-premise solutions that suck the blood out of your valuable engineering resources turning them into the walking dead trapped in a perpetual cycle of maintaining your system instead of developing new application features? The opportunity cost to a company is horrific.
There are some frighteningly funny new terms “FrankenClouds” and “Franken-Stack” that describe a technological twisted and grotesque monster created by companies racing to adopt cloud applications by bandaging together disconnected siloed systems.
FrankenCloud could be title of the anticipated follow up to Tom Cruise’s Mummy. But neither film would be as scary as watching the itty bitty actor manically jumping up and down on a couch.
Many companies realize the tremendous time and cost savings of moving from an on-premise to a multi-tenant SaaS cloud-based solution. For one, upgrades, updates and security patches are made simultaneously across a true cloud provider’s entire customer base, which is awesome because it’s one less thing your awesome engineering team needs to worry about.
A true SaaS Cloud also aids in the rapid on-boarding of smaller IT-challenged suppliers within a manufacturer’s ecosystem. Manufacturers can pull component and engineering data from other cloud-based supply chain providers into their designs and securely publish data to suppliers worldwide for superior prototyping and production.
Unfortunately, many companies get “lost in the cloud” (I came up with that bon mot myself!) by attempting to bandage together a gaggle of different so-called cloud applications without considering how to make them fit together.
“Market consolidation will continue and legacy players like Oracle and SAP will continue to wrestle with integrating acquired technologies,” says FinancialForce.com’s Kevin Roberts. “CIOs will continue to struggle with data silos and a performance gap will emerge between companies that are working from a single pool of data, and those who are trying to patch together disparate data sources from multiple mission critical applications.”
Thus, the FrankenCloud monster is born – in part – because companies operate in silos with defined stage-gate handoff points during the product design process; however, this outdated approach can have a very negative impact on new product introduction (NPI) as troubling interoperability challenges are surfaced.
As a consequence, the monsters that companies faced before the cloud are now reappearing with new vigor and in some cases exacerbated by the cloud.
For example, when disconnected systems are used in the world of manufacturing, often the first time purchasing or procurement learns about a new part in the product design is when they receive the final bill of materials (BOM) from engineering. This puts pressure on the supply chain team, who needs to immediately qualify each new part to make sure it will meet all criteria (cost, compliance, etc) required for a successful product launch.
Due to the lack of visibility with siloed systems, problems start snowballing fast; for instance, what if the part is no longer available or does not meet the compliance requirements? What if there was an alternative part that would have worked just as well and engineering just didn’t know about it?
Siloed systems leave you blind to what’s happening in your product development processes, especially with globally dispersed teams. When your visibility is stunted, you are left wandering in the dark scared and alone. The monsters of interoperability challenges—exacerbated by FrankenCloud—can lead to quality failures that appear from the shadows when it’s too late to save yourself.
In part two of this article, we’ll continue the conversation on horrors of FrankenCloud.
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