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Regardless of who won and who you supported in the recent US midterms, the pollsters got it dramatically wrong. A recent Wall Street Journal article had a great summary of the final polls’ average call per race compared to the actual results. The pollsters missed it by 20+% even when the races were widely expected to be “close”.   So what does this have to do with cloud computing?

There are plenty of Monday morning quarterbacks pontificating on why the pollsters got it so wrong but in the end it all has to do with surveys. The surveys failed to reflect how folks actually voted. And here’s the analogy- the same is true with many of the claims about the importance or non-importance of cloud computing (Interest in Cloud Computing Has Peaked). Cloud computing has IT people and general business folk alike feeling as though they should be doing something about it. This is just like many people telling pollsters they are going to vote because they are sheepish about admitting they won’t. In both cases what are they really doing?

Is cloud important? Some surveys say yes and other say no. Most talk to 400 or so individuals who are willing to talk to them. And a lot of time there is a heavy weighting of IT staff. As managers who don’t eat, sleep and dream IT but are dependent on it – how do you weigh the contradictory information? What is a reasonable executive to do? How do you see how businesses and users are really voting for cloud computing solutions? Actually, it is easy to blow through the smoke and noise – follow the money!

A big shift is underway; overall IT spend is growing at an anemic few percent but spending on cloud is skyrocketing at an average of 22+ percent annually. The math of this voting (purchasing) is inexorable, increasingly IT spend is cloud based and will soon dominate new IT spend. Want to know who is leading in supplying these new offerings? Use the same methodology. Look which candidates (vendors) are getting the votes (revenues), see: Amazon and Google are Battling to Dominate the Cloud – and Amazon May Have Already Won for a nice summary.

So, what as managers are the lessons we take away?

  • First, Cloud is coming to you soon. Only about 18% of enterprises are really using cloud in a bell weather fashion today. But, they are seriously outpacing their competitors. If you are in the 80+% yet to seize the initiative vigorously, get ready or get run over.
  • Second, this is a new paradigm. Be prepared to challenge your IT team and many of your traditional vendors who might be “cloud washing” their offerings (old wine in new bottles) by pressing them hard on their actual numbers – money and performance – compared to the new model and competition.

Why take the time and effort to grapple with this subject? After all, if you are not in IT, this is not in your wheelhouse, right? Sorry, not true. Cloud computing enables the non-IT executive, manager and staff to tackle knotty business problems that used to require the elite IT staff.

If you are not already doing it, pretty soon you will be asked to vote. And don’t be a no-show, remember sins of omission are worse than sins of commission. Time to come up to speed. Ask for help. Absolutely, go talk to your IT folks. I’ll bet they will welcome it. But, in addition go talk to folks outside of IT and your firm. I’ll also bet they have a different view.

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