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Why Is Everything Going to the Cloud?

“The technology community is advancing with cloud computing technology, eliminating the need to develop and support a local server or a personal computer.”

On a Saturday afternoon, I received an email from Mike, one of my business acquaintances. It was a link to a news release that another concrete production solutions company had just recruited a new Vice President to spearhead their Cloud effort. When I joked that I should put the link on our website he replied “looks like Cloud focus is strong”.
Duh, of course… We know this is coming! We have been using the Cloud for 10 years! To be honest, we are happy to see the biggest finally coming on board!

But why the Cloud?

I was asked this question when we started selling Cloud dispatch 10 years ago. I still see it as a question that needs to be answered. We can’t simply say “because that’s where everything goes” …or can we?

The Cloud is the buzz word in the tech community of our industry – People are eager to put the Cloud label on their products even sometimes with quite a stretch (think about calling a RDP product a Cloud solution). Haha.

Economic advantages of Cloud computing are clear in our industry. IT personnel at a concrete operation are often the best to describe the benefits of Cloud technology. They often cite the uptime, scalability, ease of maintenance and upgrade, mobility, security, and economics of subscription-based pricing as some obvious benefits when discussing a Cloud solution. Over 10 years of providing a Cloud based dispatch solution, the average per yard cost of ConcreteGO™ customers is around 10¢ – way below the cost of the traditional client/server based solution.

(If you want to compare with a client/server based solution, please remember this cost includes not only the price you pay to your dispatch solution provider, but also includes the cost of your servers and network, third party software and the labor cost for maintaining such IT infrastructure.)

If you look into Cloud technology a little further, you will discover the benefits of the Cloud solution truly do go above and beyond. In a competitive market, real-time information sharing among sales, plant managers, dispatchers and back office internally; and with project managers, foreman, finishers and inspectors externally is key to operational efficiency and excellence of customer service. During a conversation, the top executive of a concrete producer with over 70 plants said “My goal is to be able to sell concrete for a higher price but my customers will still order concrete from us – Being transparent and sharing concrete delivery information in real time would allow me to achieve that.”

“Reports” are always a subject when we have meetings with concrete producers. Executives and middle managers strive to gain business insights for guidance – from ranks of customers to profitability of each product and service. In order to gain business intelligence, we need robust computing power to mine massive data generated daily from batch, dispatch, delivery management and quality control solutions. Only a Cloud solution can easily provide such computing power unless a concrete producer wants to build a server farm like Microsoft or Google.

In my humble opinion, “that’s where everything goes” remains a perfect answer to “But why the Cloud?” Certainly, it’s not because we need to follow the trend, like girls follow the fashion shows each year. In the technology community, the reality is that more and more development tools, libraries, coding languages, applications, etc. are evolving around Cloud computing technology. New development around traditional client/server technology has become less and less, if not completely diminishing. Just like when we moved the batch control software from DOS to Windows operating system, it’s the simple fact that DOS is no longer supported by the tech world.