Back in 2004 I wrote a white paper titled “The New Garage” which forecasted the evolution of Cloud Computing. The ideas in the paper were derived from basic economics. I thought that the cost of software, maintenance and service were so out of line that it was only a matter of time before the paradigm shifted and a new one — Cloud Computing — took its place. I am not responsible for the name and I don’t even think I offered one.
The concept of a new garage is that innovation had gotten away from innovators and entrepreneurs typically spent a lot of time raising money rather than building products. To raise money, these people often had to give away a significant chunk of their idea which resulted in a disincentive, in my mind. Better, I thought, if entrepreneurs could go back to the garage to build whatever new gizmo they could.
To do all that entrepreneurs would need vastly less expensive infrastructures from servers and real estate to systems that ran their businesses. Software and services delivered from the Cloud would enable that, I thought, and the result would be increased innovation not only here but around the world. It looks like it’s working.
One of the less well known parts of The New Garage is the idea that when the need for SI services goes down as it inevitably has done, services companies would need new ways to deploy their people. My thought was that this would mean more hands on help running the business using the software available on the Web rather than so much work installing operating systems, databases and all the rest.
With that in mind I was happy to see a press release this week from Market2Lead a Cloud-based marketing automation company based in Santa Clara, CA. The company launched marketing operations services, an offering that will among other things run campaigns for newsletters, manage invitations and registrations for seminars and events and the like.
To be sure this is not the high level strategy work, it’s more grunt work execution but it comes at a very good time. Corporate marketing departments may be somewhat depleted by the recession and before hiring people they may elect to take on a service provider like Market2Lead in an arrangement that provides a known service for a quantified cost.
I expect the idea will catch on and with it comes a down side. Companies might be a bit more reluctant to hire marketing people in the future even in a good economy and perhaps that means more people working for themselves as consultants, often in situations that may not provide benefits like health insurance or vacations. Of course that also means an opportunity for entrepreneurs who might see a chance to build an agency. That’s where we get into unknown unknowns — the consequences you can’t predict which are the ultimate drivers of economic activity.
Good luck with all of that.