NexGen Cloud Conference in San Diego – Missing the Point
December 5, 2014 Leave a comment
The NexGen Cloud Computing Conference kicked off on Thursday in San Diego with a fair amount of hype and a lot of sales people. Granted the intent of the conference is for cloud computing vendors to find and develop either sales channels, or business development opportunities within the market.
As an engineer, the conference will probably result in a fair amount of frustration, but will at least provide a level of awareness in how an organization’s sales, marketing, and business teams are approaching their vision of a cloud computing product or service delivery.
However, one presentation stood out. Terry Hedden, from Marketopia, made some very good points. His presentation was entitled “How to Build a Successful Cloud Practice.” While the actual presentation is not so important, he made several points, which I’ll refer to as “Heddonisms,” which struck me as important enough, or amusing enough, to record.
Some of the following “Heddonisms” were paraphrased either due to my misunderstanding of his point, or because I thought the point was so profound it needed a bit of additional highlight.
Heddonisms for the Cloud Age:
- Entire software companies are transitioning to SaaS development. Lose the idea of licensed software – think of subscription software.
- Integrators and consultants have a really good future – prepare yourself.
- The younger generation does not attend tech conferences. Only old people who think they can sell things, get new jobs, or are trying to put some knowledge to the junk they are selling (the last couple of points are mine).
- Companies selling hosted SaaS products and services are going to kill those who still hang out at the premise.
- If you do not introduce cloud services to your customers. your competitor will introduce cloud to your customers.
- If you are not aspiring to be a leader in cloud, you are not relevant.
- There is little reason to go into the IaaS business yourself. Let the big guys build infrastructure – you can make higher margins selling their stuff. In general, IaaS companies are really bad sales organizations (also mine…).
- Budgets for security at companies like Microsoft are much higher than for smaller companies. Thus, it is likely Microsoft’s ability to design, deploy, monitor, and manage secure infrastructure is much higher than the average organization.
- Selling cloud is easy – you are able to relieve your customers of most up front costs (like buying hardware, constructing data centers, etc.).
- If you simply direct your customer to Microsoft or Google’s website for a solution, then you are adding no value to our customer.
- If you hear the word “APP” come up in a conversation, just turn around and run away.
- If you assist a company in a large SaaS implementation (successfully), they will likely be your customer for life.
- Don’t do free work or consulting – never (this really hurt me to hear – guilty as charged…).
- Customers have one concern, and one concern only – Peace of Mind. Make their pains go away, and you will be successful. Don’t give them more problems.
- Customers don’t care what is behind the curtain (such as what kind of computers or routers you are using). They only care about you taking the pain of stuff that doesn’t make them money away from their lives.
- Don’t try to sell to IT guys and engineers. Never. Never. Never.
- The best time to work with a company is when they are planning for their technology refresh cycles.
Heddon was great. While he may have a bit of contempt for engineers (I have thick skin, I can live with the wounds), he provided a very logical and realistic view of how to approach selling and deploying cloud computing.
Now about missing the point. Perhaps the biggest shortfall of the conference, in my opinion, is that most presentations and even vendor efforts solved only single silos of issues. Nobody provided an integrated viewpoint of how cloud computing is actually just one tool an organization can use within a larger, planned, architecture.
No doubt I have become bigoted myself after several years of plodding through TOGAF, ITIL, COBIT, Risk Assessments, and many other formal IT-supporting frameworks. Maybe a career in the military forced me into systems thinking and structured problem solving. Maybe I lack a higher level of innovative thinking or creativity – but I crave a structured, holistic approach to IT.
Sadly, I got no joy at the NexGen Cloud Computing Conference. But, I would have driven from LA to San Diego just for Heddon’s presentation and training session – that made the cost of conference and time a valuable investment.