The buying (and in turn buyers) is undergoing a sea change.
Since cloud by definition is a new way of consuming IT resources, it is also changing the description of who the IT buyers are(they are CMOs too these days). In my interactions with IT buyers, I have a seen a range of emotions when they first come in contact with cloud services. The emotions vary from fear(what does it do to my role) to awe(you delivered a service in minutes) to smiles(I indeed bought what I wanted and not what the vendor wanted to sell), though not necessarily always in the same order.
I see four broad changes happening in the buyer’s personality:
1) Thou shall THINK: Cloud has brought solutions closest to buyer. With a few clicks on most software marketplaces, clients can search and buy what they wants and most importantly, get the same delivered instantly over the net. But it is also a very uncomfortable position to be in because it has put unprecedented responsibility on the buyer. Cloud is compelling the buyer to think more and more and thinking is inherently an uncomfortable task. Since the delivery is instantaneous, it also will compel buyers to think if they are ready to consume. This way it will surely moderate(and balance) over consumption of IT. While the client can go and buy the best enterprise solution that’s out there in the market, it also needs her to be equally learned to be able to make that decision. Its easier to download a solution at a click of a mouse than to be able to integrate it at the same speed. Clients who succeed would be those who Think IT and not manage IT.
2) Thou shall UNLEARN: Cloud is as much a business concept as technology, some would even say more. It remains embedded in technology stacks but is very a business model. Unless this aspect is understood, buyers will keep comparing apples to oranges. Increasingly the IT stream will merge into business and finance streams. Along with these would be the associated skills. The sooner the buyer learns the nuances of these three streams, the better for her. The first step towards this process is the unlearning of IT. Unlearning of IT is the biggest service IT managers can do to their careers. Learn business of IT than IT of business.
3) Seek and thou shall find-TIME: Not since the days of renaissance has this been more pronounced. One of the reasons Europe and the western civilization raced ahead after the dark ages was because people got time to THINK(and they indeed put that to good use in various fields) after some of the inventions like the steam engine. Cloud will force such a shift in IT because it is freeing up one of the most precious commodity we have, TIME. No longer are you waiting for weeks for a server or storage delivery, its made available to you when you need. It has tremendous repercussions for project time lines and productivity gains in employees. It will also lead to changing of standards of measuring employee productivity (what Dev-ops solutions have been doing). So what will you do with your new found extra time??
4) Thou shall take Risks: This has been the bane of IT managers. What if it fails? Best then is to follow the policy of least resistance. In the new world, it’s ok if you fail. You don’t have to wait for the project to finish to realize that it was a mistake(and mend the same). Neither do you need to sink money till eternity to realize the returns. You can pull back at the 1st step, the 10th or the last. There is nothing called point of no return. At any stage, you have the ability to rehash(at minimal cost) and paint the canvass once again from the start. In the fast moving world aided by instant success or failure in the social media, the luxury of retrospective is precious. Cloud gives you that luxury. You can wind up a project at any point with minimal impact financially and technically. It will hence lead to bolder decision making skills and in turn innovations which hitherto were thought as impossible. Welcome to the age of rIskTakers.
Stay tuned!! In the next post i will discuss the sellers.