::: nBlog :::
Nearly 20 years ago when I was working for the pulp and paper industry, I invited an enthusiastic salesman from a reputable IT company to present some outsourcing possibilities for our mill production systems. My employer, Ahlstrom, had always been a forerunner in adopting new technologies in order to maintain competitive edge, so me and my boss, the CIO, were an attentive audience.
The concept was straightforward: Our HP3000 computers were first to be moved to their data centers, then consolidated into a few bigger machines. He even mentioned virtualization in the future – pretty advanced, given that this was in 1997. So far so good.
After few tens of slides (yes, these were printed transparencies viewed with a light projector) my boss threw a seemingly simple question: “If we move into this, where will our production data be located?”
The salesman’s face lightened up as he immediately threw an answer: “That’s the beauty of it! It doesn’t matter!”
It was like the room temperature had dropped with three degrees when my boss first glanced at him, then me and quickly ended the meeting by concluding: “This has been interesting, but for us it matters where our production data is. Thank you for the presentation. I need to run to my next meeting.”
In a way the salesman was correct – end users might indeed not care where their data is stored, as long as their applications work and evolve. However, for a company who has developed pulp and paper processes for 150 years, it truly matters where their data, including the accumulated experience, is stored. Jurisdiction, security and resilience are top priorities.
When I listen to cloud providers today, it is not uncommon to hear exactly similar arguments. Many cloud providers live off from short-lived projects like games or prototypes, so it is just natural.
We at BaseN think differently, as our customers often trust us with their mission critical business data and algorithms. Starting from contract wording, we always ensure that the customer knows where their data is and guarantee that it is not used (by us) for any other purposes. This business model is slower than trendily trying to harvest new products from customer data, but in the long term the earned trust leads to fast and coherent innovation by customers on top of our platform.