Channel trade association CompTIA released the results of its 4th Annual Trends in Cloud Computing report last month, revealing several interesting key points, including the fact that confusion among end users is a primary reason delaying their move to a complete cloud offering. One of the primary misunderstandings is knowing the difference between hosted offerings and cloud offerings. The marketing around hosted solutions doesn’t help matters much either, as the word ‘cloud’ is often applied to nearly every IT service nowadays.
As an IT service provider, it’s important to fully understand the differences between hosted offerings and cloud offerings and then to tactfully find out whether your customers and prospects understand the differences, too. As you try to discern your clients’ knowledge about the cloud, pay particularly close attention to the following three primary sources of cloud confusion:
1. Cloudwashing. This refers to the marketing ploy of labeling all remote computing activities as cloud in an attempt to capture the growing cloud market. Asking customers open-ended questions about “the cloud” (e.g. How exactly are you currently leveraging the cloud?) is a good way to discover whether a client understands the differences or not.
2. Downplaying the Cloud. While it’s true that remote or distributed computing has been around for many years, a client who downplays the cloud as “nothing new” could be a sign that the client is confusing the cloud with its much older relative — hosted computing.
3. False Cloud Adoption Claims. CompTIA’s research also found that some end users will describe their infrastructure as cloud-based to have the appearance of keeping up with the trend and others may apply the cloud label to their IT systems without much thought in an effort to avoid further discussions on the topic.
If it turns out your prospect’s current “cloud” offering is really just a hosted offering in disguise, discussing some of the key attributes of the cloud, such as elasticity, which allows for a dynamic increase in computing resources and/or storage capacity via a “pay as you grow” model, could help open your client’s eyes and ultimately mean the difference between a roadblock and a closed sale.