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Friday, January 14, 2011

Cloud Computing Marketeers Have Their Work Cut Out For Them

 Despite a plethora of information about cloud computing, it isn't only non-IT personnel who have yet to come to terms with the meaning of the term.

Perhaps the issue arises from an over-saturation of different interpretations about the term "cloud computing" in addition to the daily onslaught of information about this new (though some argue it's "not so new") computing paradigm.  And adding confusion on top of confusion, it's not just the term "cloud computing" IT and non-IT workers must understand but also cloud computing architecture, the various cloud computing layers and the increasing number of deployment models -- from public cloud to the Intercloud.

As a result, no one should really be surprised with the results of a recent survey of IT and business professionals working in midsized businesses where two-thirds of the participants admitted to not understanding the meaning the of the term "cloud computing."

A number of respondents have even deployed and adopted cloud computing solutions without knowing it.  For example, more than half of the respondents didn't know that cloud-based applications currently in use in their companies were, in fact, cloud-based.  Salesforce.com, Gmail and Google Docs and WebEx are among the applications mentioned.

Virtacore Sytems, a developer of hybrid cloud services (does anyone remember what that term means?) for the midmarket, sponsored the survey which was administered to 210 workers in companies ranging in employee population from 100 to 1,000.  About one-third of the group works in IT with the remainder working in sales, finance, management and other business-side departments.

According to the results, the cloud remains a bit of a mystery to nearly half of the respondents identifying themselves as IT personnel.

The cost benefits message associated with cloud computing also isn't getting through as evidenced by those respondents -- about half of the group -- who pointed to lack of budget as a reason their organization isn't using cloud-based solutions.  And cloud security, perhaps the number one reason some organizations shy away from cloud computing, didn't show up on the short list of the respondents' reasons to avoid the cloud.

The results point to at least two things:

  • the midmarket needs to invest more resources in saturating its employees in the cloud if they are going to continue to innovate in their respective industry, thrive in the cloud computing age by exploiting its advantages and not get left in the dust by larger, resource-rich competitors.  
  • cloud marketeers need to do a much better job of educating their target audiences on cloud benefits using crisp, jargon- and hype-free messages that are easy-to-digest, not easy to forget.  

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