The cloud is the new global engine for economic growth. It has transformed every industry, business model and job (see below). It displaced real consumer and business assets with digital information assets.
Digital assets are now valued higher than physical assets. It has allowed big and small companies to become lean and manage a global workforce like it was a local operation. As one continent of workers goes dark another one springs to life providing continuous product development and customer support operations. Millions of workers are now virtual employees using cloud-based applications to deliver services.
Change is accelerating. Major disruptions are announced every day, particularly from San Francisco Bay Area companies. Product cycles are measured in weeks, not months or years. The result of this explosive rate of creative destruction is a huge backlog of new, economical, virtual, skilled jobs. The good news is that not all jobs are for coders. There are 10-20 sales and service knowledge jobs for every coder. The new non-tech workers can overcome cloud industry, company and product knowledge curves. Companies need “skilled workers” that fit into their cloud industry and company “culture”. Thankfully, these skills can be taught quickly.
Let’s review the major disruptive cloud-based forces creating a lean digital world. We are just touching some highlights.
Cloud Logistics 2.0: Robotics and Home Delivery
Product inventory is now moving at high velocity from manufacturing to delivery to your home or office by Amazon’s local robotized warehouses and cloud services. Forklift drivers have been replaced by machines. Amazon has become the #11 top retailer in the world without a single retail store. They are now threatening the grocery industry by offering local delivery of goods in large urban markets. The future is home delivery of anything from online stores like Amazon’s “Everything Store.” I envision a world where small, driverless vehicles will ultimately make frequent deliveries. The concept is being tested in Brazil where congestion in cities is being reduced by the use of small delivery vehicles. DHL, a global express delivery service, and others have been using small, daily delivery vehicles for years. Google, eBay and others are testing this form of local delivery of retail goods to replace the need for the consumers to go out to shop.
Cloud Manufacturing 2.0: Sofware-Defined Products
Manufacturing was the first U.S. industry to automate using the cloud. It first started with design collaborations between U.S. and Asian operations in the context of outsourcing. Recently, they brought some manufacturing back but use advanced lean inventory systems and robotics to reduce assets and laborers. I invented a patented process for automating supply chain network physical inventory and assets with information that are still in use today. We saved companies hundreds of millions by 2004. Defense logistics has employed similar techniques to save more than $2B. Information is quickly replacing assets and inventory.
The next step of the lean world involves software-defined products. Mobile applications have replaced untold physical things, including music players and cameras. 3D printers using cloud-based content and services are replacing the design and manufacture of toys and other goods.
Cloud Retail 2.0: Sears Roebuck Catalog Model Redux
Sears invented the catalog sales model back in the 1800s. They set up local showrooms along rail lines for consumers to browse and order products from their catalog for shipment. Amazon created online catalogs along the digital rail line. They ship directly to homes. History repeats itself — Sears is now going back to their roots in a digital manner and expanding digital catalog sales with shipments to home.
These changes are also disrupting local tax revenues and retail business models. Retailers and local communities must adapt to the new digital consumer and provide personalized services. Sadly, many local retailers are not digital and will be replaced by a new breed of hybrid, local, digital retailers by 2020.
Cloud Industry 2.0: From Lean Enterprise and Lean Startup to a Lean World
By 2020, all businesses will be digital, according to Gartner Group. The lean world was created by the cloud industry. It is forcing everyone to adapt their careers and businesses. The big cloud (Google, Amazon, Microsoft) companies provide the infrastructure for both big and small companies. They have achieved cloud computing utility economies of scale. Assets, including web servers, computer rooms and software licenses, are now owned by them; not you as a consumer or business. That changed all businesses to a lean business model. Companies do not need to own assets or labor. Workers could work from anywhere – home, coffee shops and virtual workspace locations anywhere in the world. Teams could collaborate with webinars, Google Apps/Hangouts and Skype, among many other tools. Teams would frequently include temporary virtual workers engaged to work on tasks or projects.
The next wave of the internet is 1000 times bigger than it already is, according to the CTO of Ericsson. It is creating another wave of disruption for the current generation of cloud companies and industries. New companies are emerging to create personal household and on-premise business hybrids, using the cloud as the mediator.
Lean World: Millions of Cloud Tech Jobs Available. Where do you Fit In?
The real brake on our economy is the severe shortage of social, creative, skilled workers (see chart below). Our cloud-based economy needs 10-20 other knowledge worker roles that are as equally important as coders. These knowledge workers need to know how to collaborate with developers, customers, partners and investors — some examples include creative UX designers, product managers, program managers and sales/customer service professionals. They need to speak the same language and conform to the digital lean world culture.
We have the talent pool of creative individuals who have the potential to overcome the industry, company and product learning curves. What we need to do is to accelerate their training, especially in San Francisco and Silicon Valley where there are thousands of unfilled jobs and lots of underdeveloped talent. Everyone fits in with the right preparation. Everyone fits in.