Most CIO’s Not Sold On Cloud? Good, They Shouldn’t Be…
I find it amusing that there is so much drama surrounding the notion of Cloud adoption.
There are those who paint Cloud as the savior of today’s IT great unwashed and others who claim it’s simply hype and not ready for prime time.
They’re both right and Cloud adoption is exactly where it should be today.
Here’s a great illustration: “Cloud or Fog? Two-Thirds of UK CIOs and CFOs Not Yet Sold on Cloud“:
Sixty-seven per cent of Chief Information Officers and Chief Financial Officers in UK enterprises say they are either not planning to adopt cloud computing (35 per cent) or are unsure (32 per cent) of whether their company will adopt cloud computing during the next two years, according to a major new report from managed hosting (http://www.ntteuropeonline.com/) specialists NTT Europe Online.
Whose perspective you share comes down to well-established market dynamics relating to technology adoption and should not come as a surprise to anyone.
One of the best-known examples of this can be visualized a by a graphical representation of what Geoffrey Moore wrote about it in his book “Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers“:
Because I’m lazy, I’ll just refer you to the Wikipedia entry which describes “the Chasm” and the technology adoption lifecycle:
In Crossing the Chasm, Moore begins with the diffusion of innovations theory from Everett Rogers, and argues there is a chasm between the early adopters of the product (the technology enthusiasts and visionaries) and the early majority (the pragmatists). Moore believes visionaries and pragmatists have very different expectations, and he attempts to explore those differences and suggest techniques to successfully cross the “chasm,” including choosing a target market, understanding the whole product concept, positioning the product, building a marketing strategy, choosing the most appropriate distribution channel and pricing.
Crossing the Chasm is closely related to the Technology adoption lifecycle where five main segments are recognized; innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards. According to Moore, the marketer should focus on one group of customers at a time, using each group as a base for marketing to the next group. The most difficult step is making the transition between visionaries (early adopters) and pragmatists (early majority). This is the chasm that he refers to. If a successful firm can create a bandwagon effect in which the momentum builds and the product becomes a de facto standard. However, Moore’s theories are only applicable for disruptive or discontinuous innovations. Adoption of continuous innovations (that do not force a significant change of behavior by the customer) are still best described by the original Technology adoption lifecycle. Confusion between continuous and discontinuous innovation is a leading cause of failure for high tech products.
Cloud is firmly entrenched in the Chasm, clawing its way out as the market matures*.
It will, over the next 18-24 months by my estimates arrive at the early majority phase.
Those who are today evangelizing Cloud Computing are the “technology enthusiasts” and “visionaries” in the “innovator” and “early adopter” phases respectively. If you look at the article I quoted at the top of the blog, CIO’s are generally NOT innovators or early adopters, so…
So don’t be put off or overly excited when you see hyperbolic references to Cloud adoption because depending upon who you are and who you’re talking about, you’ll likely always get a different perspective for completely natural reasons.
* To be clear, I wholeheartedly agree with James Urquhart that “Cloud” is not a technology, it’s an operational model. So as not to confuse people, within the context of the “technology adoption curve” above you can likewise see how “model” or “paradigm” works, also. It doesn’t really have to be limited to a pure technology.