Cloud expansion is being driven not by IT, but by everyone but IT. Gartner predicts that by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs. Therefore, in looking at how to speak Cloud, it’s important to recognize that you have three very different and distinct customer segments to communicate with (and sell to): Organizational Departments, DevOps and IT. And these three very different audiences require different messages. Let’s examine those three.
Organizational Departments – Focused on buying solutions that benefit the business. Seen typically in purchasing “Software as a Service” applications however it’s much broader. In the past, it was engineering departments purchasing departmental servers for specific computational needs. Now, it’s marketing department contracting with “cloud based” companies to gain increased insight on customer purchases, assist with Social Media marketing, drive mobile marketing, and manage business intelligence CRM, E-commerce, and so on. They are trying to find the best ways to market to customer segments like millennials and IT is not their first stop at finding solutions. Organizational Departments speak solutions, not platforms and infrastructure. The key conversation needs to revolve around how each solutions needs to integrate to gain maximum value for the organization.
DevOps– Previously thought off as Application Developers, DevOps are a more IT independent group focused on building applications that positively impact the business. Long ago, they discovered that IT was not responsive to delivering a timely compute environment and quickly turned to the cloud for computational cycles. One of the critical knowledge points to recognize is applications developed on an external to IT environment, often times don’t work “as developed” in the internal IT environment and therefore remain in the cloud forever; no different from applications built on the mainframe decades ago. DevOps speak platforms for creating solutions, not infrastructure. Key conversations revolve around how applications developed on one platform will work / integrate with the corporate platform.
IT – Focused on the infrastructure and the technology; not on how that technology is a part of the corporate solution to drive business value. IT has been in the business of managing the infrastructure for so long, they missed the fact that the infrastructure is second to the applications driving business value. And those applications don’t necessarily need to live in IT. IT however is still the logical point for housing many corporate applications. They ultimately have insight and vision for how mobility, security, and corporate governance can impact and enhance corporate applications and ultimately business solutions. IT speaks infrastructure, but not necessarily solutions. Key conversations need to revolve around how IT can become a service to the organization.
Ultimately, IT needs to evolve into IT as a Service (ITaaS). But for most, that evolution is only just beginning. Until then, it’s critical that you segment your messaging to each key player focused on their primary drivers and motivation with a view towards solutions integration, platform integration, and ITaaS.