The Stack Archive

Sell cloud’s value not the technology urges Weinman

Tue 8 Apr 2014

Cloudonomics author and industry expert Joe Weinman has urged cloud protagonists to promote the business benefits of cloud not the nuts and bolts.

“When did you last go to a pizza restaurant and it was super tasty and you spoke to the pizza chef to compliment the electricity utility?” he asked.

He used the same example for IT. “When did you last go to a pizza website and compliment the ISP or the electricity company powering the ISP? The single most important thing about cloud is its business value.”

Weinman ribbed his audience by flagging up statistics showing that IT was unimportant. “The correlation between IT spend and profitability is the same as the correlation between the colour of your shirt and your ability at golf,” he said.

But he said the black swan rule – seeing one black swan dispels the belief that all swans are white – challenged that. “All IT is irrelevant, but one black swan will falsify that. Google’s rack of computers (before it became Google) is that black swan. If the technology doesn’t matter, how come Google became successful?”

He said Google did not have a brand, did not have preferential access to scarce resources (owning the diamond mine), did not have preferential access to equity (it was broke), and was not first to market.

In contrast, he mentioned Encyclopaedia Britannica and the Borders bookshop chain, both of which had suffered at the hands of modern IT-led companies Wikipedia and Amazon.

He said: “Given that we live in an increasingly digital world, what in the world could be more important than IT? It is strategic. There is nothing more important. The correct approach is focused investment.

“£1 invested in IT generates £1.91, which is a better return than marketing and R&D. And the return is on the revenue side.”

He gave an example of how the Intercloud was replicating existing practices. “Individual airline providers can do live application migration, called handing off passengers between airlines, and data migration, which is handing over their luggage as well. This required things such as common naming of airports, common naming of flights, a common messaging format, which is the English language.”

He said the cloud needed similar open standards and a single language.


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