First, what is an economy?
The cloud economy is unlike economic systems of the past. In the past, the Government had the last word in economic affairs and policies of a state. Later, Corporations with their big bank accounts also needled in their way to have a say in the management of economic policies. Today however, the cloud economy is giving rise to someone else. The Individual.
The typical individual we speak of here is one who is also known more commonly as a digital native. The digital native does not really care about how economies used to work. S/he simply understands production, trade and consumption. And if something s/he desires is not available, s/he is able to create it or source it via the internet. So the question; are economies as we know, about to collapse and a new system to take rise?
Examples of such creations are seen in the likes of Social Media and Internet giants such as Facebook, twitter, Youtube, Google and reddit among others. Where there was none, an individual recognized a need for a particular set of services. And, in the absence of the availability of that service, the individual saw it fit to build the requirement himself. A classic case to point here would be, Steve Jobs’ creation of Apple and its never seen before line of devices.
But what does it take to support an economy of such sorts? An economy that is largely based on speculation and creative skills, yet demands a solid base of supporting industries to ensure smooth end-to-end delivery of services? An economy where the producer never meets the buyer unless at a PR event, such as a product launch. An economy that focuses on massive scales of production in order to exploit massive economies of scale, which in turn demands a globally co-ordinated sales & marketing effort to ensure the producer stays profitable? We are talking big numbers here. If things go wrong, lots of people will be in trouble.
Well, for a cloud economy to perform its namesake, there requires a certain combination of industries working in tandem. Like well oiled moving parts of a machine, these industries play a pivotal role in getting an economy or a business, for that matter, off the ground. They are listed as follows:
-Production or Manufacturing (to have a product/ service to begin with)
-Logistics (transport & storage)
-Banking & Finance (to facilitate trade)
-Education (to educate the next generation)
-ICT (to facilitate communications)
The Production, or Manufacturing Industry provides business folks with something to sell. You cannot make an honest sale, or run a long term business for that matter, without a product or service to sell. Also known as primary industries, the businesses that work in this industry are mostly to do with Farming, Agriculture, Fisheries and extraction of earth’s natural resources. Of late however, with the emergence of cloud economies, the Manufacturing Industry also includes any business that performs in the fields of manufacturing or creating. This may include physical products as well as intangible products such as softwares and services.
The Logistics, or Transport & Storage industry performs a rather under-appreciated role in business. Without affordable logistical support services, the cost of goods would be abnormally high, forcing buyers to rethink their purchasing decisions. Support services in the form of Transport and Storage facilities allow producers to bring resources together for final product assembling, as well as store and transport finished goods to market safely. The logistics industry plays a vital role in delivering goods to customer markets which may reside half way across the world.
The Banking and Finance industry plays the obvious role in a cloud economy. With trade being one of the biggest priorities of an economy, the Banking & Finance industry ensures money is exchanged fairly and no one is cheated of their hard earned money. Today with banks and financial institutions extending facilities such as Internet Payment Gateways to external business organizations, goods can be purchased remotely over the internet without the buyer ever having to meet the seller. This step forward has encouraged many business owners to consider doing business over the internet.
The Education industry propels the next generation forward. The objective is (or rather should be) to teach the next generation of society or individuals to do things better than the previous generation. Today with the availability of e-learning systems that allow students to learn a subject of their choosing regardless of their geographical location, students are able to pursue topics of interest and push forward the frontiers of human knowledge. The education industry not only plays a large role in the prevention of the collapsing of a civilization, but it also plays a large role in making our children better leaders and citizens than we are today.
The ICT (Information & Communications Technology) industry is highly regarded as a catalyst for change. It is what has empowered a humble network of computers and devices to now achieve what can be called as trade across geographies. This industry is regarded as the most important piece of the puzzle that when put together, gives emergence to the cloud economy. The ICT industry, as the name suggests, includes all devices, infrastructure and services that allow for communications of sorts across the globe. Today, the ICT industry offers some interesting services for business that use the internet as a base platform for business activities.
Results of years of forward-developmental activities have allowed ICT vendors and service providers to provide a combination of services to third party business organizations. In the ICT industry this is more commonly known as Software-as-a-Service (or, SaaS).
SaaS vendors offer exciting bundling of softwares that provide business owners with the luxury of doing business over the internet, with customers across geographic boundaries. One such SaaS vendor is thinkCube , it offers a comprehensive suite of business apps that make doing business on the internet so much easier. The SaaS offering known as ezBiz allows business owners to conduct business activities over the internet, as well as review business performances with a powerful inbuilt analytics tool among others. To check out ezBiz for your business click here.