Pitney Bowes CEO Murray Martin: A Big Believer in The Cloud
Pitney Bowes CEO Murray Martin argues that cloud computing makes his company more resilient and nimble without compromising security—and that companies need to attract the next wave of workers who are familiar with these new technologies.
July 13 2011 by Robert Lawrence Kuhn
Excerpts from an interview:
How do you analyze the pluses and minuses of the cloud from a CEO’s perspective?
The advantages of going to a cloud base are both cost and access. In the cloud, if the technology changes, everybody in your company will have it quickly. You don’t have to update devices. It’s much more efficient to move into the cloud.
You have to weigh that against security. The security is just as good as what we had behind the firewall and life got a lot easier, and it cost less. You can secure your data by encrypting it on the transmission up to the cloud, while it’s in the cloud and back down to your own systems.
Doesn’t having your systems located on someone else’s servers make you less able to adapt and respond to changes in the market?
Actually, I think it’s the opposite. It makes you more flexible. It’s not that different than outsourcing components. You’re moving to an outsourcing provider that has more capacity and more expertise in a segment than you have. So if I have a room with a rack of servers in it, why is that better than a campus of racks that is backed up by another campus in real time? The cloud provider has new equipment that’s been upgraded. I think you can gain more flexibility, more scalability and more variability than in the old model.
Don’t you feel that CEOs should own and control systems that are so important to their success?
What does the desire to own and control really mean? Do I own and control a system more if I have the hard drive sitting on my desk, in my basement, in my IT center, which is in a different building–or in a cloud that is somewhere else? If you look at that progression, there is not a big difference from my asking, do I have to own my IT center, which is 50 miles away? Do I own the hardware or do I lease it? If I’m renting the building and leasing the hardware, why don’t I just rent the time from somebody else? It’s a very logical progression.
Don’t you worry about the risks to your enterprise?
To me, this is another benefit of the cloud. I have 30,000 PCs with data on them. I don’t know what data is there. It’s been extracted from my mainframes. How do I enforce rules about destruction of critical data, or how long data is kept? Control is lost. When I centralize it and control it in the cloud, I can now have much better control over enterprise risk than when the data is dispersed.
How do employees react to the cloud concept?
There will be a convergence between how you operate at home and how you operate at the office. Employees are expecting the same experiences. Legacy applications at the office are not as friendly as what you’ve grown used to in consumer applications. The user interface is not as good. It’s not as adaptable. As the newer generations move in, they have grown up with continuous technology change. They don’t want to be held back. They don’t understand why if I use an iPad at home, why do I have to use your old clunky device at the office, which isn’t very cool? This is the big shift that’s going to happen over the next number of years. Corporations are going to be pushed to deliver the same experience at work as at home.