At first glance there would seem to be little that creatives need to know about cloud computing – after all, it is just another hosting platform right? But there are some key things that creatives need to think about.
I don’t wear the right clothes to know enough about the creative processes or roles, so I will, for the sake of convenience lump branding, advertising, marketing and design into this group (apologies to anyone who takes offense at being lumped with this anyone else – sort it out amongst yourselves).
Understanding the implications of provisioning and scalability
If computing power can be provided with a lead time of a few minutes and a site can handle any load that you can possibly throw at it, how would that change the programmes and campaigns that you develop? What if the creative process (including product development, branding, design and launch) was the only cost and time bottleneck, with cheap computing power waiting to do your bidding? This would probably change the creative and product development processes.
Working closely with technical people to plan peak demand
In a traditional environment, a computing platform can only handle a certain load and when creatives dream up some clever idea the response from technical implementers is either ‘No’ or ‘Yes, in n months time’. With cloud computing it will be possible to plan activities that put enormous load on the system but it will only work if it was developed properly in the first place and if the technical people have some lead time (maybe a few days so that tests can be run). Done correctly and with technical bottlenecks removed by cloud computing, the relationship between creatives and delivery could (should?) be much closer and more interactive.
Outside of the existing transactional system, microsites built for specific campaigns can have rich functionality if built on cloud computing platforms because the functionality is funded, not by outright hardware purchases, but by the usage of compute power as needed and for the length and success of the campaign. Microsites could have logins that use the identity services from the transactional site, they could have underlying databases that provide rich storage of data for the user or even some transactions. Microsites will be able to plug into relatively cheap pay per use content delivery networks to handle the upload and download of rich media. (I personally think that microsites are a huge market for cloud computing vendors over the next year or two and will drive the wedge into risk averse business being comfortable with cloud computing)
Branding Effects of Failing Fast
The costs of cloud computing allow products to be hosted and operated with a low upfront cost and this will provide the development of products to ‘try out the market’ with the expectation that if they don’t work, that they cost was so low that it is no big deal. Having new products appearing and disappearing creates some interesting branding issues in order to maintain trust.
Twitter’s notorious ‘Fail Whale’ became an Internet meme and somehow helped foster a sense of sympathy and increasing user loyalty during troubled times. The fail whale was a brilliant piece of design that allowed Twitter to be buffered from customer rejection as they grew. Cloud computing, particularly when used in high load environments, will be new and mistakes will be made. The customer responses to those mistakes will be far reaching and good design will influence those responses.
Cloud computing removes some of the technical hurdles to getting a product developed, launched and operational so the rate at which ideas are turned into business models becomes the limiting factor. Previously marginal business cases are now viable and products which may previously have missed the window of opportunity (such as the response to a competitor) will now be able to be delivered in time. Unchecked this explosion of ideas can result in monumental brand failures and confused customers but creatives that understand how cloud computing can bring their ideas to life will give an edge to their customers.
Disclaimer: This is not a complete list and creative people are advised to question creative advice from technical people
The ‘Who Should Know About Cloud Computing’ Series
This post is part of a series of posts for non technical roles, which you can follow from the links below