Better than 'The Office': How IT Leader and the Cloud Helped Paper Company

Loraine Lawson
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Five Cloud Computing Trends Affecting Cloud Strategy Through 2015

On "The Office," someone is always trying to revitalize the business and make the small paper distributor profitable.


I haven't seen it in a while, but maybe they need to appoint a head of IT and talk to her about the cloud.


Why? Because of Paul Stamas and Mohawk Fine Papers.


Stamas was recently featured in TechTarget, after being named a finalist for the SearchCIO-Midmarket.com IT Leadership Awards. Now the vice president of IT at Mohawk, he revolutionized Mohawk, an old-fashioned paper business, increasing its online sales from zilch to 25 percent of the business in five years. His tech plan helped shift the company from 300 distribution partners to 30,000 direct customers.


Oh, and along the way, he made the company more agile. When an envelope manufacturer partner went belly up, Mohawk was able to step in and take over, thanks in part to his design idea. It now makes 30 million envelopes a day, which has become a "significant, high-margin business" for the company.


And he did it by building a $50,000-a-year cloud platform for suppliers, customers and software-as-a-service apps. Although, to be honest, I don't think it hurt that he did his doctorate work in cloud integration at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University.


He worked with Liaison Technologies, a cloud broker, on the integration-as-a-service platform.


I've written about iPaaS before, (fair warning: sometimes, that "I" can stand for "infrastructure," so usually I've seen integration as a service written as integration platform as a service, or iPaaS), but I think this feature, as well as the details on his entry, will give you a better understanding of how iPaaS can be used broadly as a sort of B2B, B2C portal.


TechTarget notes that the portal is designed around business processes, which makes it easy for Mohawk to add and drop new services - even products, like those 30 million envelopes.


It's always easy to think of integration as a tactical play. What's made the cloud a bit different is so many people were growing into integration problems, and until very recently, these problems were hard to figure out. But once that piece was solved, it became a bit harder to connect the strategic dots, even though research firms have predicted big things from iPaaS in the future.


Of course, as an integration blogger, I'm duty-bound to say, "absolutely," and make my case. But honestly, it's hard to sound convincing when you're not sure yourself.


So I found Stamas' use of cloud enlightening. So often, integration can be strategic, if it's used in a creative way that grows the business. He's one of the few who not only made integration strategic, he did it using a cheaper, cloud-based solution.

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