Cloud is a metaphor for the Internet and Cloud Computing is the metaphor for a technological paradigm shift in the way we utilize software and information.
Technology enthusiasts often propose an idea grounded in ”technological determinism”: the idea that this new technology will drive the development of organizational practices, culture, and behavior. However, the influence and importance of culture and people cannot be underestimated. Media theorist Marshall McLuhan famously said, “We shape our tools. And then our tools shape us.”
What the cloud is shaping is our forms of organization, intertwined with technology and culture. The cloud will dramatically lower the transaction costs of doing business. As companies decentralize various layers including infrastructure, R&D, marketing and sales, they eventually empower a new form of organization to emerge: the company as a cloud.
What we don’t yet understand is how to design and shape such an organization and how to harmonize operational, technological, and cultural perspectives. Our future may well depend on it.
In the Cloud, November 2010
Teemu Arina & Sami Viitamäki