In Britain, with our changeable weather, and the fact that talking about it is the standard way to london weather symbolopen any conversation, we have an intimate relationship with the weather forecast. And, in Britain, this means the Met Office with their classic symbols. An icon of British design (like the Tube map) which features on the BBC Home Page, on Television and even on each page of your passport.

To the right is one of the classic weather symbols, which as well as expressing typical ambiguity about the forecast, also sums up my approach to the cloud.

In a previous posting “I’ve looked at cloud from both sides now” I said that I didn’t think that cloud was fundamentally transformative for commerce, and was more of an IT strategy. Just like the British weather, I have changed my outlook. In fact I think the weather symbol expresses well the symbiotic relationship between Business Networks and Cloud.

Sometimes in technology we want to delineate between concepts when in fact they might be two ways of saying the same thing. The promise of the Networked Economy requires both the flexibility of cloud solutions, and the interconnections of a Business Network.

When I first started in this game, all of the end points of the network were on-premise, though in those days we just called it “software”. It was difficult to keep the customers’ software up to date so it would work with the network. Cloud changed all that. Also, when the market changed it took time for customers to react because they had customized systems and had to install and test any changes.

There is a symbiotic relationship between Business Networks and Cloud

Cloud solutions are Pre-wired for a business network, and significantly reduce the software engineering challenges and allow for faster innovation. Between cloud solutions and Business Networks we are seeing rapid feedback loops as each adds value to the other.

Why move to the cloud? As well as the familiar solid arguments around speed, flexibility and cost, I’d add the fact that it’s where everyone else is. You go to the cloud because that’s where you find your suppliers, your customers and other trading partners. You put processes into the cloud that are naturally collaborative, so all parties can interact.

What’s the forecast? Definitely getting brighter.