Chris Noe was born and raised in the sea of corn we like to refer to as Iowa; in the small town of Cresco, home to America’s first commercial airline stewardess, Ellen Church. As a young lad with obviously nothing to do, he gazed longingly at the clouds in the sky. It was through these youthful ruminations that inspired Chris to enroll at the University of Northern Iowa (at UNI, you enroll, there is no acceptance) and thus began a lifelong fascination with Management Information Systems.

After a move to Minneapolis, Chris was plucked by Salesforce from a LinkediN connection, and shortly became a Sales Consultant for the CRM powerhouse. He’s now the Director of Cloud Computing at Concord, and I grabbed a few minutes of his time to find out what the heck he does every day.

What would you say you do here?

[Chris Noe]I joined Concord to help develop a practice devoted to delivering cloud computing technology services for our clients.  I currently have a broad scope of responsibilities including cloud marketing strategy, sales, technology partnerships, architecture, design, development, and delivery of cloud based services.  I also spend as much time as possible enhancing Concord’s own use of Salesforce.com as a tool that helps drive our business.

Ellen Church

Explain Concords approach to Cloud Infrastructure.

CN: We look at cloud computing as another viable technology option that can help companies grow their business without growing their infrastructure footprint or adding staff.  It’s a great complement to our other practice areas because it gives clients the opportunity to offload some of the administrative burden associated with on premise applications and infrastructure so they can focus on more strategic initiatives for their organizations.

Why should people care?

CN: Traditionally, an average of 80% of the IT spend for an organization is considered “dead money.”  These costs are associated with “keeping the lights on” for existing systems.  That leaves only 20% which can be spent on transforming the business.  By moving to cloud based solutions, organizations offload many of the traditional costs and resource requirements of on-premise solutions including infrastructure support, backups, and application and hardware upgrades.

This allows them to focus their energy on delivering real value to the organization in the form of new application development and enhancements to existing systems and business processes.  IT organizations that utilize cloud computing technologies are more closely aligned with the overall business strategy and the solutions they deliver on these platforms help the organization realize a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

What’s your least favorite Cloud “buzzword” and why?

CN: Web 2.0.  It’s an old and tired term.  I don’t like to think of the “web” in terms of versions.  Internet technologies are constantly evolving and the pace of change cannot be captured or quantified by version numbers.

iPhone or Droid?

CN:iPhone

IE of Firefox?

CN:Firefox

Strokes or Stooges?

CN:Strokes

How has your background helped you build Concord’s Cloud Strategy?

CN: I spent 2.5 years working in enterprise sales at Salesforce.com.  My entire career has been focused on designing, building, implementing, and selling software solutions in a variety of technology environments and verticals.

What do you do when you’re not taking Clients into the Clouds?

CN:Trying to keep up with my 20 month old daughter

Twitter handle?

CN:Chris_Noe

What would you say to the Cloud haters of the world?

CN:Cloud computing is real and it is here to stay.  Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

Top three favorite websites, cloud-related or other?

CN:google.com/reader, hootsuite.com, linkedin.com, developer.force.com

That’s actually 4. It appears you can’t count that well. Are you smarter with Clouds than you are with numbers?

CN: Yes, much better with clouds.  I only work with 1’s and 0’s so anything greater than that and I’m lost.  Remember, there are 10 types of people in the world, those who understand binary, and those who don’t.

How do you address the concerns of our larger clients who are apprehensive about storing all of their data in a warehouse in Murfreesboro, TN?

CN: Realistically, I don’t think large enterprise organizations will get to the point anytime soon where ALL of their data will be stored in the cloud.  I feel that large enterprises will adopt a hybrid strategy whereby their most critical data and applications will still reside within their four walls.

I also believe that applications and infrastructure that they choose to manage in a cloud based environment may in fact be more secure than those they host internally.  Cloud providers have the best and brightest working around the clock to ensure that their systems are secure and that they perform as good or better than on-premise applications.

What does the future for Concord and the Cloud look like?

CN:The future for Concord and Cloud looks extremely positive.  Concord’s focus on emerging technologies such as cloud computing help us stay relevant with our clients.  Every IT organization has cloud computing on their radar and they are constantly looking for ways to enhance their existing usage of cloud technologies or find new use cases.  We can help bridge the gap between a cloud vision and reality.

If Concord and the Cloud made a baby, what would you name it?

CN:They would most likely have twins and would be named Thunder and Lightning.

What’s your favorite type of Cloud? Stratus, Cumulus, Cirrus, or the very rare Cumulonimbus?

CN:No contest, Cumulonimbus.  I spent 7 years living in the middle of tornado alley.  The Cumulonimbus is much more common there and a phenomenal site.  By far my favorite cloud.

Contact info: Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, email, phone, whatever you’re comfortable with –

CN:chris.noe@concordusa.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/chrisnoe

http://www.twitter.com/Chris_Noe

Mobile 952-223-1265

Check it out: Chris Noe will be contributing often regarding Concord’s evolving cloud strategy, and how best to bbq a beef brisket. Get us in your RSS feed !

Advertisements

Stay Relevant

June 16, 2010

People in “business” love to talk about mission statements or “five year plans”.  I often hear people discuss “aligning to your goals” or “casting their vision.”  I am fine with all that – for you.  Not for me.  Not for Concord.  Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a successful business focusing on adhering to their mission statement, or vision, or five year plan.  But we at Concord have taken a different approach altogether.

We are trying to adhere to one thing and one thing only: staying relevant.  Now, some might call that a mission statement (or plan, really), and I would not necessarily fight that.  However, have you read a typical mission statement recently?  They are usually so overly word-smithed that they have lost their edge.  They become benign.  Long winded sentences that account for every last variable and are ensured not to offend.  But staying relevant, now that has a bite to it.  In fact, the inverse terrifies me.  Waking up one day and finding this company (or myself, for that matter) irrelevant is a horror show.

And having a traditional “plan” tends to complicate things for me.  I have seen too many companies “stick to their plan” and slip out of relevancy.  Believe me, it is easy to do.  The computer industry transforms itself every six months nowadays.  And the clients we serve are changing almost as quickly with government regulations or recession economics or their own relevancy initiatives.  What if your clients or the industry you serve no longer aligns with your “strategy”?  Well, the answer is obvious to me – change your strategy – immediately.

One way to look at this, I guess, is to have a fluid plan.  One that can change on a dime.  A plan that is “agile” or “iterative’.  Another way is to not have a plan.  I mean, what is wrong with that?  Since when did having a plan define good business strategy?  I have a “plan” for you – stay relevant.  That is our 30/60/90 day plan.

And our 1/5/10 year plan.

Stay relevant.

Jeff Northrup, CEO