Saturday, December 1, 2012

Dear CEO's: Be Careful with that Cloud PR Stuff

Jimmy Bergmark posted an interesting item on Google Plus about some quotes from Autodesk CEO Carl Bass regarding the future of Cloud services.  The quotes were posted on Ralph Grabowski's World CAD Access web site...
"There are a lot of applications that will [still] be done on the desktop. Whether Autodesk does it or not, I can't think of a single function that won't necessarily be done in the cloud." - Carl Bass, CEO of Autodesk
As Jimmy commented...

Asked whether there was some resistance by Autodesk users to make the move as fast as the company is making the switch he said that people are already living in the cloud with their personal applications and that there are somewhat different issues for them.
"Foremost in people's mind is security, privacy, reliability, confidential information. Some of those concerns will fall by the wayside."
Here's the rub I have with folks like Carl (not with Jimmy, he's a genius):  When it comes to Public Relations (aka "PR") these guys are making a HUUUUUUUUUUGE mistake and it is already having a detrimental impact on their business.  Let me itemize, if I may...

  1. Understand the difference between a PUBLIC Cloud and a PRIVATE Cloud!

    I'm not going to spoon-feed you here.  That's what Google and Bing are for.  But, when the CEO doesn't understand how f***ing important this distinction really is, how can anyone beneath them fully grasp the importance of it as well?
  2. Be prepared to explain that difference to your customers

    Every single time a CEO/CIO/CTO/CxO opens their mouth and says with a smile "We're going to the cloud!  Come along with us!" it scares the living shit out of their customers.  Why?  Because they translate that directly into the following:

    A. The products are moving into a Public Cloud platform
    B. Customer data is going to move into someone else's sandbox
    C. Customers will lose at some control (possibly even intellectual property rights) over their content
    D. More points of failure will be inserted between the Cloud point and the customer point
    E. The more points inserted in the middle, the more likely potentially interrupting business operations

    Rather than saying "Cloud", make damned sure you elaborate on what your vision and execution plans are for both Cloud types.  Reassure your skiddish customers that they will have an option to retain all the control over their operations and content that they currently have, while having the additional (potential) benefit of leveraging the Public Cloud for (possible) cost savings.
  3. Make SURE your products are fully-aligned with both Cloud platforms

    A lot of products are being shoe-horned and relabeled to become "Cloud" products/services.  IT administrators and power users can smell that a mile away.  Don't assume your customers are idiots, that's a dangerous place to go.  This is especially true for larger customers (enterprise-level corporate shops, the kind that tend to buy subscription pricing contracts to leverage volume discounts).

    If you (Mr./Ms. CEO) are sincere about pursuing Cloud services, on both Public and Private environments, break out your cattle prod and put the fear of God into your chain of command to insure they design, and execute, a strategy that natively works in a real Cloud environment on both environments (public and private).

    If you really don't intend to support Private clouds, don't fake it.  But also be prepared for a tougher hill to climb when it comes to winning over big-shop customers.
I'm sure all the CEO's of the world read my blog and will take this to heart.  So by the time you've read this, all will be corrected and working fine.

P.S.  Follow Jimmy Bergmark at JTB World.  Follow Ralph Grabowski at UpFront eZine, and World CAD Access

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