As a kid I thought there was only water vapour in the cloud.. but well now there is storage space, money and telent! All in the cloud 🙂
In the last couple of years there has been a lot of talk about cloud computing with substantial growth in cloud services, companies and users. Cloud computing means services provided over the internet that replace the need to install applications locally. For example using word on Gmail instead of buying Microsoft Word application. Simply speaking all my presentations, documents and spreadsheets can be stored in a “cloud” which I can access through Internet.
Recently I was doing a research on social enterprises in India and in one of the companies model’s I came across “cloud financing”. Fancy term to use, but I was confused on what it really means and how does it work? Internet search didn’t tell much. All I got was IBM cloud financing, which is financing solutions for companies moving to cloud computing. So during the interview, I asked about cloud financing to the enterprise’s VP. He explained that cloud financing was raising capital through Internet from individuals. So I would say it means the same as ‘crowd financing’, which simply means raising money from different people. The idea is not new, NGOs have been doing this since long (remember the collection boxes at payment counters in supermarket and malls) but Internet now has made it very easy to reach out to the crowd. Not just NGOs but startups and social entrepreneurs also seek support from the crowd. More recently it has been used by a Bollywood Production house for the movie I AM. Production money was raised through twitter and facebook. The director, Onir, offered supporters co-production credits and a share in profits.
Just like crowd financing is for raising capital; crowd sourcing is used for raising talent by tapping into the customers. So many companies now have customer forums on their website to give feedbacks, ratings and provide solution to fellow customer’s problems. Customer feedbacks and user generated media such as blogs and Wikipedia are reducing organisation’s research expenditure.
Businesses don’t just depend on customers for demand of their products but a lot more. As Jeff Howe, the author of crowdsourcing says
“The Power of Crowd is driving the future of businesses”