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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cloud Plus Smarter Commerce for Mid Size Businesses

Smarter commerce is starting to happen for the midsize business.  Laurie McCabe does a good job describing about how this is happening and how it is evolving.   Another movement we are starting to see is how cloud usage is starting to surge for these same businesses.   I typically talk to several such businesses every week, from  startups to well established enterprises.  The companies often need to share data among clients and employees, or between employees.  Working together accurately is smarter.  They well remember the 'old' days of using memory sticks, or emailing data among participants as needed.    Sticks were misplaced and emails lost in the deluge of communications.   It was unclear which item  had been updated.   Software was also often not updated as it should be.   Confusion could reign.

This is especially true as new kinds of sensor information were gathered ... from retail registers, manufacturing equipment, truck based GPS and mobile cameras ... the confusion and operational need to get real time data to analytical models made this problem yet more difficult.  Analytics work well only with correct and appropriate and timely data.

Smarter commerce is better commerce.    Smarter data is also shared data.   It can be updated and integrated   into the right models, and the model can be re-run to provide adaptations.  Akin to the mid course navigation correction concept.  The updated data, models and results are then passed back to the people that need the results.

In a conversation I had recently it was suggested that it was not as necessary for the small to medium sized business to worry about the security concerns introduced by the use of Cloud concepts.  I disagreed.  You still have to do things right.  Using the cloud haphazardly can expose you to hazards just like a lost drive can.

As I write more players are starting to provide cloud based sharing and collaboration. The world is getting for  all players, big and small, to share data.  Smarter commerce should be ready for it today.

See also IBM's site on this topic.   This article has a number of useful examples of how the cloud is being used today by companies of all sizes.

This post was written as part of the IBM Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.

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