In the digital version of this shift, the role of utilities is played by the megadata centers. The cloudpeople are saying this technological wave, too, will make everyone a winner. Corporate technology has a chance to shift from a painful, dark art to something that injects new life into businesses. The only losers will be those companies that sit still and suffer grim outcomes at the hands of smaller companies that embrace the cloud.
Carl Ryden has issued this exact message to contemplative types at big companies. He is co-founder of PrecisionLender, an eight-person outfit in Charlotte that built a service out of Microsoft’s Azure to help banks price commercial loans. Each month, PrecisionLender analyzes $700 million worth of lending. For every $10 million in revenue the company makes off this work, it pays $1,500 in cloud fees to Microsoft. “We sell around the technology guys and straight to the business folks,” Ryden says.
PrecisionLender also analyzes its customer data to get a sense of trends in the loan market and the overall health of the economy. Ryden says he’s impressed with the quality of the analysis and might turn it into an additional business. He’s also delighted he now has the technological wherewithal that used to be available only to organizations with a lot more money—organizations such as banks, his clientele. “You can find 100 reasons not to move to the cloud,” Ryden says. “But you’re going to look up one day and all you will be doing is managing the systems that connect all your printers.”