First published on the Rackspace blog.

I’ve been reading a copy of Do More Faster recently. Do More Faster is a kind of an entrepreneurs guide book written by two well known authors; Brad Feld, founder and investor of the Foundry and co-founder of the TechStars startup accelerator and David Cohen, co-founder and CEO of TechStars.

Do More Faster is a series of contributions, mostly from entrepreneurs who have been through the TechStars program. Some of these entrepreneurs have gone on to sell their businesses, many have obtained venture funding for their startups, while some have shut down their businesses. The book then is a great lesson from the coalface of startup life.

One aspect of business that the contributors seem to keep coming back to again and again, is the need to be focused. This take many different forms; from the need to be able to pivot the business idea if and when necessary, to the need to measure every metric of import. From the value of listening to the advice of mentors and partners, to the need to do the right thing, even if it conflicts with what people around are advising. No matter what micro aspect of business the chapter was looking at, it seems it could be summarized by the word “focus”.

This gets me, in an admittedly opportunistic way, to the idea of Cloud Computing. You see one of the benefits of Cloud Computing is that it allows organizations to focus (that word gain) on what is important. Rather than spending time simply “keeping the lights on”, performing routine activities that add nothing to the business itself, Cloud Computing gives the opportunity to abstract away from the business all that is non-core (at least in the IT area) and instead focus solely on strategic value.

It’s a core economic benefit of Cloud Computing and one we discuss at length in our Cloudonomics paper. As I said back then;

In the same way that we consider it bizarre that, given widespread availability of electricity on tap, an organization might create their own electricity plant to power their factory, so too is it becoming more bizarre to host one’s own software or buy one’s own hardware.

The focus that Cloud Computing allows is analogous, at least in my mind, to the specialization of labor first described by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations. Smith may have been talking about the manufacturing of a physical product, but I believe that the same sort of increases in efficacy and efficiency that can be gained in a manufacturing setting by the focus on what is core, can also be gained in other types of settings and industries. That’s the value that Cloud can bring to organizations – and every extra ounce of focus in these difficult times is valuable.

This series of posts are companion pieces to the CloudU series of educational material. We’d love you to join in some of our webinars or read the whitepapers the CloudU homepage is – here – and you can register to have updates sent to your inbox (in a non-spammy way of course!) there.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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