Contributed by Tim Bowman and Nick Buckley.
“Cloud-first strategies are the foundation for staying relevant in a fast-paced world … the market for cloud services has grown to such an extent … helping to create a new generation of start-ups and ‘born in the cloud’ providers.” – Gartner
Gone are the days when a customer would come to their existing IT provider and request an upgrade to the latest server model or switchboard or license. Today, with a few clicks and a credit card, customers can spin up a virtual machine with workloads ranging from deep learning to human resources management to a full-fledged communications platform.
Along the way, they are able to instantly compare competitors’ prices and offerings, trial new solutions, and explore reconfigurations that would have take months previously. Not only IT departments but CFOs and strategy leads are wading into discussions of how best to structure the business’s IT infrastructure to complement other business activities and enable growth. Key questions center around scalability, security, and portability (e.g., technical and operational debt).
Small businesses’ shift to the cloud is not surprising – it allows them to leapfrog larger market incumbents by providing near instant access to scale, flexible platforms, variable upfront costs in place of large fixed costs, enhanced customer service and support, and access to the most advanced technologies.
The onus is now on the B2B providers – the machinists who help these small companies retool – to meet their customers (both old and new) in the cloud and help them prepare for their next five years.
As customers of tomorrow look to retool to work in the cloud here are some of the key questions they ask:
- Portability – What technical and operational debt will I incur from adopting this solution?
- Security – Do I trust that I can build my business and meet my end customer’s needs securely with this?
- Scalability – Does this solution give me the ability to quickly grow (and shrink) to meet business needs, with a synchronized cost structure?
- Agility – Can I quickly trial solutions, learn from them and iterate or do I have to land it right the first time?
- Ubiquity– Can I get access to my products and services from any platform or device, anytime, anywhere?
In case you missed it, check out our last post, Cloudy with a Chance of Commoditization. And also stay tuned for our next post, Managing the short-term pressures of the cloud transition.