Who is waiting for whom?

Fujitsu Forum will open its doors on November 9th. I can hardly wait for the inspiring talks and discussions with customers and partners. Cloud services will definitely be a hot topic within the overall theme of ‘Reshaping IT’.

Waiting for the event makes me think about the relationship between customers and the cloud. An event is only a success if enough – and the right – people attend. You don’t want to attend if no one else is going. Is this true for the cloud, too? Do we have a chicken-and-egg question when it comes to cloud services? Who is waiting for whom – the cloud for the customer, or the customer for the cloud? And I am talking about real cloud services, not about outsourcing, managed services or traditional license or product businesses which are glossed over by some providers as cloud (aka “cloudwashing”). From my point of view this is really cheating customers.

I’ll give you an example: In order to make cloud computing more attractive for the professional mass market in corporate environments, adequate numbers of companies will have to push developments such as gapless broadband access or standardized virtual interfaces that help to avoid any lock-in and enable the integration of different cloud functions and applications. But potential customers – and that is the crux – are hesitating to enter the cloud as long as they perceive it as technically immature.

The same thing has happened with every groundbreaking new technology – from the PC to social networks. Ever since Geoffrey A. Moore wrote Crossing the Chasm* we know that early adopters have different expectations than the early majority. But the latter is the crucial group we need to win over in order to transition a new disruptive technology into our everyday lives. So what is this early majority looking for in the cloud?

They are called “pragmatists” for a reason. According to Moore, clear, no-nonsense benefits and visible effects on their business is what will convince them. However, this can’t be provided by a single enterprise. The joint effort of the entire market is required to build this bridge.

First of all, the necessary cloud infrastructure and the ability to access it must be in place. In this case (to stick to the metaphor) the technical infrastructure is the bridge. So for instance, comprehensive broadband access is obligatory – and thankfully, it’s already available in many parts of the world. However, once the bridge is there, how do we encourage companies to cross it and embrace the new cloud landscape? I’d say let’s get pragmatic. Very often, seeing is believing. So we need to clearly showcase the different aspects of the cloud and the positive effects it can have on businesses that are already there, like our customers VBH or RTT.

The Fujitsu Forum will be a good opportunity to talk about such genuine opportunities and the real risks for each company in setting and finding pragmatic approaches to transitioning into the cloud. To me, there’s no question as to who should be moving first: provider or customer. We should walk together because no one can expect to sit back and wait for the other guy to take the first step. Remember: crossing bridges is a good way to make new friends. Are you ready to move? Come to the Fujitsu Forum and meet me or one of my fellow cloud experts for some travel planning! Or go and charter your trip to the future under: www.global-cloud.ts.fujitsu.com.

*http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/rethinking_crossing_the_chasm.php

Sincerely,

Andre Kiehne

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Author: Andre Kiehne

Director Solution Sales, Microsoft Germany GmbH

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