Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Episode 14: Happyslapped by a Cloud Marketeer

Cloud brokers & consultants like to talk alot about 'demistifying the cloud'. There's alot of whitepapers, case studies & cloud blogs on 'what is the cloud'. Marketing people almost soil themselves in delight at the prospects of how much money they can make from some of the cloud sales campaigns they design, complete with resplendent back slapping over well-earned cocktails on a Friday evening after work.

The I.T. industry is getting drunk & high of its own spin & the slap-happy tags of 'As A Service' onto things. But recently, I do believe this merriment has gotten to the stage of 'wasted'. That point of drunkeness where even the smallest task is nigh on impossible. I'm talking about the recent love affair with 'Bring Your Own Data' being slapped on as a marketing tag. Which usually comes now with a side order of 'all you can eat data'. Now sure, 'all you can eat data' is nothing new. Anyone who's worked in telecoms has had this phrase bandied about in meetings, internal memos etc..

But, this was never a phrase much seen in marketing. It would usually appear under 'unlimited data' with an asterisk pointing to small print telling you fair usage limits applied. The actual phrase 'all you can eat data' in the cloud is being used, & being used as its considered 'disruptive' & to make it stand out from the traditional straight-edged I.T./telecoms marketing speak of 'unlimited data'.

Okay, so disruptive marketing in the current I.T. services market is nothing new. But slapping 'Bring Your Own Data' on as a marketing piece frankly just shows both how desperately stupid marketing people are about the cloud, & also how incredibly badly those in the Cloud space have been about educating their customers, & also why the cloud space is so small right now. And this really shows in our nearest trading partner, the UK.

A new survey reveals that the current cloud computing services market for UK SMBs is worth £660m. According to the region-by-region reports done by the British Government that were published in October 2010, the total number of small to medium businesses in the UK is somewhere close to the order of 4.7 million. If you were to just take a pure average on that, the survey shows SME/SMB spend on cloud in the UK is currently valued at approx. £150 per year per small company. That's barely even the cost of a few Google premium mail accounts.

Stupidity such as 'Bring Your Own Data' is not marketing people being smart, or driving business into Cloud companies. In fact, the entire prospect of what the cloud offers, whether it is PAAS/SAAS/IAAS was always based on 'Bring Your Own Data'. It is in fact a fundamental of it. Calling it BYOD is stating the bloody obvious, & fooling no-one.

For example, in an IAAS scenario, you're asking people to bring their own data to your cloud facilities, otherwise they'd be bringing their own hardware & data & it would be classed as colocation. In the scenario of SAAS services, of course they're bringing their own data - whether they are a start-up, OR an established company. The same even goes for PAAS; you're bringing your own data to plug into a platform to generate systems in the cloud.

The marketeers in the Cloud have become too drunk off their own illusions of success that they can slap 'As A Service' on things, found a new cow to milk that upon inspection, even at possibly the biggest cross section of the potential market for Cloud, even just within the UK as an example they've made a cloud market worth roughly the same as the shared hosting market four years ago (i.e. pre recession/global market meltdown).

Success? I think not. Cloud marketeers need to get their heads out of the clouds, back onto a footing of reality, & actually engage with the prospective customers. The excuse of 'people won't pay' doesn't wash. They will. People look for cheap services because there's nothing to make them see beyond the value of the cheap services. And it's really a message that is crucial right now as the world still recovers; LOOK AFTER YOUR CUSTOMERS.

Slick marketing & corny chat-up lines like 'Bring Your Own Data' are like the prawn cocktail; dated, & no-one's really buying them. Return to basics, & bring your customers along with you, & give them the value they will pay for, & get rid of silly marketeers who are damaging the growth potential of the Cloud. You'll save yourself money too in the process that you can spend properly on your customers.