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The Cloud Confusion in the Enterprise is a great thing

November 7, 2011

Do not get me wrong confusion usually never does any good. But in this case actually the many definitions and interpretations of what cloud is or could be have a very bright side. Let me outline some examples of the confusion first.

PWC study

Today someone shared a PWC study with me. I admit I had high hopes but was utterly disappointed. They created a wild mix of private and public, compared apples to pears and even had some misleading, if not straightforward wrong, information on data privacy in there. I know some of the folks they cited personally and how they think about cloud. That you create a total confusion of a topic by mixing these topics and people is no surprise. Still they had a professor signing it. Strange enough isn’t it.

Discussion with an ECM software company

They stepped up deliver services on top of their software. While this is a great decision in itself they got lured by the big hype in the market to call their hosted solution a private cloud. Do not get me wrong, their solution is great and it is a fantastic first step into the right direction but it is no cloud in a religious sense. Much like Microsoft did with BPOS-Dedicated which was no cloud either but nonetheless their starting point for a journey towards multi-tenant cloud services.

Battle between Larry Ellison and Marc Benioff

It was fun watching these to alpha males battling themselves. But actually what did they discuss? They discussed technology and bits and bytes rather than the value cloud computing could deliver. I am convinced that Marc has a better story (see cloudforce videos) but he got lured into this “my technology is better than yours” battle. Apart from the technology experts and the cloud experts they left the world baffled. What is it these two are discussing? Is it relevant? Is it relevant for me?

That and many customer discussions I have had, have proven that confusion is all around us. So I believe nobody would battle that statement. But what is about this one?

I actually do tell you the confusion is great.

Surely, you would argue,  it is good for someone like me helping customers to identify business potential and make the whole cloud discussion business relevant but that is not my point today. It is good for the whole industry!

The Cloud Confusion opens doors that would have otherwise been closed.

It creates a need to talk the whole cloud thing through. It gives folks a chance to sell their solution as a cloud, against cloud or disguised as a cloud. It is a conversation starter that keeps the discussion between customer executives and service providers, technology providers and consultants alive. You might go from there into the direction of virtualization or CRM or social collaboration or the creation of a new mobile application or many other things. But at least you go somewhere. Even if you do not sell cloud computing at all, so neither technology nor a real service, you do benefit from this discussion as it has potential to free up resources for what you want to achieve.

So in that sense the confusion is great. If everybody would have a united understanding of what cloud computing is and where the benefits are, the sales profession would be much harder.

Remember: You can only sell fridges to Eskimos if you talk to them in the first place!

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