You Will Move to the Cloud… Whether You Like It or Not

At least a part of your business will be done in the cloud sooner rather than later.

Welcome to the Think Tank with Frank Kenney

With decades of analyst and integration industry experience, Frank Kenney is a fountain of knowledge on all things tech. Now, he aims to share that awareness with you. Come back every other Thursday for your biweekly dose of thought leadership in this blog from one of technology’s most insightful thinkers and gain perspective on a variety of topics ranging from what’s happening in integration today to what’s on the horizon, poised to disrupt the integration space going forward.

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I don’t want to, and you can’t make me…

Surprisingly, this isn’t a statement I heard from my son when he was a toddler. Rather, this is a regular protest that I hear during calls with companies trying to solve integration challenges — the type that I have every day. And by the way, this is often a response to the statement, “You will need to move to the cloud.”

I understand that some people don’t like being told what to do — or to add a little nuance — don’t want to be explicitly told what to do. I say explicitly, because like it or not, there is a team of agile developers somewhere in the world updating, fortifying, and enhancing the critical applications you use every day. And I’m not just talking about the ones that make money; I’m talking about the ones that you run your human resources on, the ones you do company accounting with, the ones you achieve productivity with, and even the ones you use to store your data. The default option today for most of these applications is going to be the cloud.

And so, like it or not — you are moving to the cloud.

This implicit strategy decision that’s been made outside of your purview and control has astounding consequences for everyone in your company that uses impacted applications and systems. The cloud is disruptive to your people in a few ways that immediately come to bear:

  • New skills are needed
  • Old skills are retired
  • Existing personnel are refocused on new functionality

This changes the stakes when it comes to hiring and retaining talent. While the cloud is often touted as a way to address one type of skills gap, it simultaneously calls for a new or augmented one. You are now looking for resources to manage systems you haven’t even thought about deploying. You are recruiting for people to run teams of other people that haven’t been assembled yet. That’s the biggest reason why the business should push sales and marketing professionals to always ask about cloud strategies and planning. Because every C-level executive has:

  • At least 100 MB of PowerPoint presentations covering cloud strategy
  • Participated in two-months-worth of local, regional, and countrywide conferences on cloud strategy
  • Spent tens of millions of dollars on consultants, analysts, and soothsayers

(I may be embellishing the amount of money spent on soothsayers, but Nancy Reagan listened to numerologists and astrologers (!), so nothing is out of the question.)

Certainly, my frustration is showing through. What companies want is to realize a level of self-determinism that lets them dictate a strategy and determine when they choose a path to migration, especially as it comes to something as disruptive as the cloud. We all want to make our own decisions. I get that.

The problem is that a whole slew of platforms, such as Amazon, Alibaba, Salesforce, Walmart (yes, Walmart is a platform; sounds scary, doesn’t it?), AT&T, Uber, and Netflix are vying to get into your market. That may seem ridiculous, but how many degrees of separation are these platforms from your business?  Logistics? Already there. Supply chain management? Already there. Education? Already there. Defense? Already there. I submit to you that in most cases, you don’t have a choice. It’s already been made for you.

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About Frank Kenney

A former Gartner analyst and current market evangelist and strategy director, Frank Kenney is widely credited as the creator of the term managed file transfer (MFT), and was the first to write about and discuss its modern architecture, platform, and use cases. Previously, Frank served more than 10 years as a research director at Gartner, where he defined the MFT, B2B gateway, SOA governance, and cloud service brokerage (CSB) markets.

Before joining Cleo, Frank held leadership roles in product marketing, aligning vision and strategy with integration products, services, and messaging. As an independent IT consultant, Frank helped technology providers create, validate, and implement a variety of business strategies.

Frank holds a degree in music technology from the Center for the Media Arts, holds degrees and certifications in digital multimedia and instructional technologies, and studied English and computer science at the University of Tampa.