Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Entrepreneurship & the Cloud

We had a great discussion and good showing at MassTLC's Entrepreneurship & The Cloud event the British Consulate in Cambridge. As moderated by Gene Landy, Attorney, Chair of Technology Business Group @ Ruberto, Israel and Weiner and Cory Von Wallenstein, VP, Product Management @ Dyn, Inc. . Gene guided the business and legal related aspects to the conversation whereas Cory handled the tech side.

The panel consisted of four entrepreneurs from a pretty diverse set of young companies:
- Matthew R. Grace, Co-Founder & CTO, Objective Logistics, LLC, www.objectivelogistics.com (B-to-B services for restaurants created on Microsoft Azure)
- Ariel Jatib, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer, RocketMatter, www.rocketmatter.com, (Online legal practice management, time and billing software - legal SaaS.)
- Adam Kocoloski, Founder & CTO, Cloudant, Inc. www.cloudant.com (Cloud based high performance database services)
- James D. St. Jean, CTO, JitterJam.com (Marketing services that taps into social networks)

While everyone had found very impressive and unique uses of technologies from MS/Azure, Google, Amazon and Rackspace (to name a few,) much of the conversation centered around some of the more yet-standardized aspects of basing a business on the cloud. Everyone seemed to have some experience, knowledge and questions regarding PCI compliance (credit card data security) and extremely sensitive data in general. In Matt from Objective Logistics case, the fact that his software/service integrates with POS systems in restaurants presented his team with a variety of considerations -- even though his company isn't even handling credit card data. Ariel from RocketMatter spoke more to the handling of very sensitive documents like legal forms and client data that is a core component of providing legal SaaS. James D. St. Jean pointed out that JitterJam has been able to bypass many of the issues with PCI compliance by embedding another vendors billing interface within his site, thus passing the traffic right through and never really touching it.

While cost is often one of the first things people look at when evaluating a cloud/hosting vendor (or anything for that matter) -- several other considerations were noted. Matt from OL spoke to the fact that Azure offers a variety of nice features... from a tight integration with VB, to adaptable billing models, and on potentially more optic level - the fact that almost everyone in the restaurant business is using one core Microsoft OS or another. Adam from Cloudant has some insights to share regarding vendor consideration with regard to specific utilization/technology -- as well as some of the things to consider if anyone should look to migrate or cloud hop.

Of particular note was a question asked from the audience at the end of the event. Someone asked the panel to define "the difference between the public and enterprise cloud." While there were some similarities in response from the panel, it was clear that there's not one definition the industry agrees upon just yet... and that to a large extent the flexibility and adaptability of cloud computing/hosting really makes it a "user defined" technology. Cory wrapped things up by saying a definition that he's heard that covers it all is "outsourced IT done the right way."

Don't miss our event this coming Tuesday, May 11th -- a panel of experts are providing their advice on building revenue momentum in a SaaS business. Event details and registration.

Thanks to our panel, UKTI for hosting the event and Cloud Cluster sponsors Hosted Solutions, IBM, Iron Mountain, Navisite, Ruberto, Israel & Weiner and UKTI.


Post contributed by Christine Nolan, Director of Communities, MassTLC

1 comment:

Jude said...

With ERP software, the first task the value proposition or why you need a new system in the first place is key. Build an appropriate value proposition for the ERP system based on a number of considerations. Obviously the first consideration is the results of your assessment. However, there are a number of other key considerations which must be kept in mind including the target audience, the drivers/motivators of the target audience, etc.
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