Corporate Eye

Catching Up with the Cloud


After noting (in a previous post) that the Wall Street Journal seems a bit late to comment on social media recruiting, I was surprised again the very same day by a story on the PBS program Newshour, titled “Cloud Computing” Concept Gains Traction.  Again–nothing wrong with the story.  It’s just another reminder that the mainstream press can lag rather far behind in its reporting on technology developments.

Which is more proof of a famous observation by Neuromancer author William Gibson:

The future is already here.  It’s just not very evenly distributed.

Corollary:  What’s established (or even retro) strategy for IT expertistas may still be cutting-edge (or even science fiction) for the average human.  And even the average CEO.

So I went surfing to find out what folks on the techier side have to say about cloud recruiting, and I found quite a bit of material.  Here are some interesting stops, if you want to take the tour:

  • First, spend some time at Infoworld for an explanation of What Cloud Computing Really Means. There are definitions ranging from the very narrow to the very broad, but at the core we have this fairly straightforward proposition: “Cloud computing encompasses any subscription-based or pay-per-use service that, in real time over the Internet, extends IT’s existing capabilities.” In practice, the cloud space is mainly made up of Software as a Service (SaaS) products like and GoogleApps, plus . . . virtual storage and servers (also known as “utility computing”); programming interfaces (APIs) that let enterprises connect their own apps to the cloud; managed development platforms (like Google App Engine and Yahoo Pipes) and IT services (such as Postini and CenterBeam); and–so far, slow to arrive–integrators that consolidate cloud-based capabilities.
  • Visit info-rich Cloud Computing Journal, which covers a wide variety of cloud-related concepts, from .net to iPhone to virtualization. The site has plenty of tech content, but there’s also a business orientation, and lots of news. Tap into their RSS feed to get a drip-drip view of what all the fuss is about.
  • Then check out plans for the upcoming Cloud Computing Conference & Expo. Presentations are not yet set for the November event, but keynoters will include top hands from Unisys, Yahoo!, and Oracle. Might as well get on the mailing list and see what evolves.
  • As for “cloud recruiting”–there are two views of the concept:
  1. In one, the focus is mainly on a fusion of mobile recruiting + social media recruiting. For this view, watch some glitzy presentations at Cloud Recruiting; browse the Cloud-tagged section of Recruiting Guy’s blog; and eavesdrop on some discussions in the Cloud Recruiting area at
  2. The other view focuses more on recruiting via SaaS–and naturally, much of the material in this camp comes from the vendor space. Players include familiar names (Taleo has a product called Talent Grid, and SuccessFactors is starting to deploy its own cloud solution) as well as relative newcomers (like Pointwing and Workstream).

Takeway:  The concept of cloud recruiting is still mainly an appropriation of a popular buzzword, rather than a well-developed new paradigm.  But there’s clearly more to come, so now is a good time to get up to speed on the basic ideas.

(Thanks to Simon Eugster for the beautiful cumulonimbus cloud with big anvil!  And–for a “history” of the William Gibson quote, check out some delightfully obsessive research by Brian Dear, CEO of

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Cynthia Giles has followed a serpentine career path from academia to publishing to marketing and design to information technology and corporate communications. There’s plenty of detail about this journey at, but briefly--the common theme has been ideas, and how to present them effectively. Along the way, she became an accidental expert on data warehousing and business intelligence, and for the past ten years she has combined corporate contracting with an independent consulting practice that focuses on marketing strategy for smaller businesses and non-profits. Having spent quite a bit of time looking for work, and anywhere from two weeks to two years inside a wide variety of American companies—she has given much thought to what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to creating a great employment fit.