One thing that has been puzzling me is how, or more important why C-level executives ignore the momentum behind cloud computing. As a transformational technology shift, cloud computing should not be ignored.
Last year, I read an industry article that said when a CEO was asked about his plans for cloud computing, he responded that it was “a lot of hype” and made a comparison that “back in the day,” time sharing made a lot of sense. These days, he continued, computers are so cheap you can easily buy one for a few hundred dollars and have it under your desk. I couldn’t help but marvel at this short sightedness.
Why would anyone continue to do business the same old way? Is it because this is the way we’ve always done it? Kind of like the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Maybe their perspective that this is only an insignificant IT fad with little benefit to their business is where they miss the point. The value propositions of cost, efficiency, and economies of scale should be enough.
When cloud computing was first getting initial attention, it reminded me of client server computing from back in the 1990s. Without getting into its similarities, I do know that everyone talked about it, was ill-defined, but press momentum built it because everyone was talking about it. Client server (thick versus thin) had some faults to make it fall into ill repute, but cloud computing seems to have established itself with enough attributes to deliver proven value. Companies in the industry have created enough proof points to make it stronger.
There are fears among those who oppose its growth, including vendor lock-in, others handling their data, and, of course, security. In a recent Rackspace survey, nine in ten decision-makers have a positive view of cloud computing. Larry Ellison, once a staunch opponent to the notion of “the cloud,” even calling it “complete gibberish,” has since begun extolling its virtues. Why is this? Was it because he finally convinced himself that this “new” paradigm was the next step in the transformation of computing? I think that has a lot to do with it, but primarily, I believe that next step in accepting a new arrangement of the way things work is a difficult one to accept; one that takes time.
Nicholas Carr, in his book The Big Switch, provides an excellent comparison of the private electric companies, a utility that we all take for granted, to the centralization of information technology. He states, “Like the electric utilities before them, the new computing utilities are achieving economies of scale far beyond what most companies can achieve with their own systems.”
The cloud market is maturing fast. What was once a question of “what is cloud” a year or two ago, is now “what can cloud do for me?” There will always be those decision-makers who are chained to the past, and slow to embrace new ideas. One of which is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”