In popular mythology, the ostrich is famous for hiding its head in the sand at the first sign of danger. As human beings we are faced with a dichotomy: fight or flight. But what most people don’t realize is that there is a third part of fight or flight: freeze, the proverbial deer in the headlights. Danger aside, when it comes to day-to-day scenarios that threaten business owners, I think our tendency to freeze comes from our resistance to change.
Unless you have stuck your head in the sand, you should be fully aware that “the Cloud” is a disruptive and transformational technology. For IT solution providers, the “Commoditization of IT” has created a threat to our livelihood. We cannot stick our head in the sand; we must evolve or die.
Evolving Really isn’t that Difficult
In my business, I have always told my software developers that they must be a lifelong learner and be constantly reinventing themselves. It is the nature of IT. From a technology perspective, that is something that most people in the IT business understand. But as a business owner, I submit the same is true; if we do not evolve with the market our businesses will die.
IT has always ruled the roost, but as a software engineer, I have always understood that “It’s the Application Stupid”. It’s the software application that does the work and provides the business value. And therein lays the key: business value.
As a solution provider, we have to get into the mind of our target customer. For most small business owners, technology is often the bane of their existence. They usually don’t know the difference between a router and a switch. Moreover, they don’t know the difference between SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS. More than likely, they probably don’t know the difference between Microsoft Office and Office 365. But most importantly, they don’t care. When it comes down to it, the small & medium-sized business owners only care about the efficiency, operation, survival, growth, profit, employees, and their customers. Technology is simply a means to an end.
The Cloud is a Small Business Equalizer
I have spoken with thousands of small and medium-sized business owners over my thirteen years in business and twenty-one years writing software, and never once have I heard any business owner tell me they got into business because they wanted to own a bunch of IT assets or software systems.
The Cloud is a small business equalizer. It allows small businesses access to global enterprise infrastructure and enterprise software systems that they would never be able to afford, maintain, or implement. With access to resources like that, the Cloud allows every small business to operate and gain efficiencies like a big business. It allows them to focus on business value, not IT.
Change Your Destiny
If you’re an IT button-pusher or screen-watcher this probably scares you. Likewise if you’re a hardware or software reseller it scares you. You’re becoming obsolete.
You have the ability to change your destiny. Set your fear aside, don’t be a deer in the headlights. Fight and evolve! I submit the Cloud presents a huge opportunity and offers more opportunities for services. Embrace the Cloud; know it, understand it. Focus on what delivers business value not the technology. Technology for technology sake is excess and waste. Small & medium business owners want business value. Those solution providers that understand how to architect cloud solutions and have conversations that focus on business outcomes that deliver business value will become valuable assets to the SMB market.
What About the Cloud Scares You?
Has your business adopted a cloud strategy? I welcome your thoughts and feedback about cloud strategy and specifically your thoughts on Windows Azure.
If you don't have a cloud strategy, my question is: why not? The Cloud is certainly a transformational and disruptive technology. Are you willing to let your business lag behind while your competitors adopt and prosper? What is holding you back? If your a small business and considering the cloud, reach out to me. What are your cloud questions?