I was having coffee with a friend and colleague who works at one of the largest data centers in the country. Our conversation turned to cloud computing adoption patterns, and he looked at me intently and said, "Your company should offer a 'cut through the cloud fog' service." He elaborated that many of the prospects his company speaks with display a curious diffidence: They approach the initial conversation with great motivation, but when it comes time to develop an action plan, they begin hemming and hawing, noting "complications" in moving forward. They push out start dates and eventually the discussion dissipates, like water running into sand.
After seeing a number of these promising beginnings turn into stalled launches, my friend concluded that some kind of organizational anxiety was preventing them from taking concrete steps. He believes a "defogging" service designed to help IT organizations clearly understand their options would help them move forward with confidence.
His experience mirrors my firm's. At speaking engagements, I interact with people who are intellectually convinced that aggressively moving toward cloud computing is necessary, but seem hesitant and even confused about what to do. In fact, you can see me discuss this in a video interview conducted at a recent conference.
Upon reflection, the reasons for their confusion are obvious:
Deluge of solutions. Everywhere one turns, up pops another "cloud computing" solution. Each day brings new solutions along with old solutions disguised in new cloud computing raiments. The plethora of choices does not ease decision making. In fact, too many choices, as I wrote about a while back, actually makes people more likely to make no decision. Not understanding what is the right choice in an environment of many choices breeds disquietude.
Vendor overload. It's obvious that the landscape of IT is changing, and if you're an established vendor, your revenue stream is at risk. So you develop a cloud product and then turn every sales rep in the company loose with it. The relentless stream of vendors insisting that you need to listen to their cloud vision results in apathy and lassitude--and an intense wish the clamor would stop.
Fear of being wrong. If you're a senior IT executive feeling overwhelmed by the number of cloud computing options, not knowing which is the right one, and fearing that if you make a poor choice it could all go terribly wrong, with associated career damage--well, or course you plumb for more research, additional evaluation, more consultation with technology analysts. Anything to avoid making the wrong choice.
The result? An approach-avoidance conflict that creates stress, confusion and a refusal to make any decision. Nevertheless, the need to move forward is manifest. The tired legacy approaches aren't getting any more satisfactory, and the pressure from executive management isn't going to abate.
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