The other day someone asked me why we, as a small company, have effectively two brands: one focused on delivering IT strategy assessments and transitions and another similar brand with a cloud focus. The question was, is there a difference and do you need two brands?
Initially I was adamant that, yes, there is a big difference. The IT strategy question occupies the entire value chain from business applications, through to IT management and on to the systems services themselves, so it is much wider and much more business process focused then a pure cloud question….. But within a second I had stopped myself. Why? Because each and every part of the IT value chain, whether it is business application software, IT management tools, or the hardware itself, is available in the cloud somewhere, so should be part of the strategy question and decision making.
So let us step back and consider how we decide on the way forward in different areas of the business and/or IT. In our organisation we always focus on the overall business objectives for the entire company and benchmark any decision to these. Specific options for each service can be tested against the business objectives. Put simply, cloud presents another option in the matrix – instead of the classic “build versus buy” we now have “build versus buy versus rent”, or instead of “buy versus lease” we now have ”buy versus lease versus pay as you go”. No cloud there, no technical jargon, just a straight business decision using the same tried and tested decision methods.
So back to the question – do we need two brands? Realistically no, cloud strategy is just IT strategy using the same decisions processes. Yes, the risks and technical issues may be different, but no more different than the kind of strategy decisions organisations have taken over many years. However given the hype and the fear, clearly the cloud is still considered as something different, and will be for a while to come, so treating it with care and attention can make sense.