ARcade » Mamut http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/arcade Weblog maintained by Hill+Knowlton Strategies\' global Analyst Relations team. Wed, 30 Nov 2011 02:40:13 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 Grappling with the Cloud – What the Analysts Say (and why their opinion matters) http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/arcade/2010/03/05/grappling-with-the-cloud-%e2%80%93-what-the-analysts-say-and-why-their-opinion-matters/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/arcade/2010/03/05/grappling-with-the-cloud-%e2%80%93-what-the-analysts-say-and-why-their-opinion-matters/#comments Fri, 05 Mar 2010 09:30:29 +0000 Tris Clark http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/arcade/?p=167 Cloud. It’s the word that won’t go away in IT circles. If you believe the hype it’s a new approach to technology that will redefine the way we deliver and consume IT. If you don’t, cloud is not a new concept, but a rebranding of various technology services, processes, practices and strategies that have been evolving for several decades. 

 

The top line concept is relatively simple: Exact definitions vary, but Cloud Computing is effectively a metaphor for computing over the Internet. For example, instead of a company hosting their IT on their own PC or sever internally it is managed and delivered by a third party supplier. Effectively their IT is hosted in a virtual ‘cloud’ of external servers.  The IT industry has argued itself silly over various technical definitions, opportunities and problems with the concept of cloud. A lot of communications in the market around cloud has come from the vendors. In quite a few cases we question whether these messages have really contributed to clarifying what these services actually bring to customers.  

 

Where do analysts fit into this debate?

The topic of cloud computing is ripe for debunking. Analysts have been playing a key role in this – constantly outlining the various technical and strategic options for companies – and contradicting technology vendor’s marketing claims when they break step with reality. Analysts are particularly important to the cloud debate for multiple reasons:

 

Firstly, they are advising their clients (IT decision makers of every stripe) on IT matters every day – they are intimately familiar with companies day to day challenges, and how they can be solved.

 

Secondly, they talk with a wide range of technology vendors, and are frequently discussing the various ins and outs of trends. Vendors have a reputation for slinging mud at each other and spreading FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) about each other’s respective offerings. The analyst industry originally grew out of a desire to counter the rising tides of vendor hype. If anyone can tell you the real deal … it should be an analyst.

 

Lastly, because analysts gain access to technology developments before they even hit the market (and technology adoption rates can take several years to filter through to the mainstream) they are in the know well before the media. Analysts are rightly lauded for their independence – their influence can sometimes make or break a multi-million pound technology deal. Analysts have too much to lose if they become compromised by hype, so you know they will give you an honest answer to a straight question.

 

Cloud – New or not?

Most analysts have been around for a long time. They have heard it all before. The Application Service Provider (ASP) was the original poster child for ‘IT over the Internet’ back in the early 90s. The technology wasn’t up to scratch, so it never really took off. Prior to cloud many people got hot under the collar over Software as a Service (SaaS) – the same basic concept but delivered on a multi-tenant basis. SaaS has itself now been subsumed within a wider ‘theoretical’ cloud model which also includes hardware, applications and storage.

 

Much of this is a question of vendor positioning. There is an argument that ‘true’ cloud computing is globally scalable in nature – and requires the kind of resources and reach that only the likes of Microsoft, Google and Yahoo! can provide. Although many smaller, and less scalable, vendors would dispute this in their own cloud definitions. It’s also true (up to a point) that here have been several technological developments – virtualisation and web-orientated architecture for instance – that allow Internet resources to be used much more effectively by enterprises. Cloud is more pervasive than most technology topics because it embraces so many IT touchpoints. For example, a recent Inquiry H&K had with Gartner on virtualisation contained a healthy portion of focus on the topic of cloud – due to the role of virtualisation in supporting private clouds.

 

The analyst team at Freeform Dynamics have eloquently made the case that cloud is essentially a slightly tweaked IT approach to the old problems that IT has always grappled with – a view I am very sympathetic to. Dale Vile, Research Director at Freeform Dynamics called a spade a spade when he recently wrote in the Register that,while this discussion about styles of IT service delivery might be new to some, it certainly isn’t to anyone who has moved in senior IT and business management circles.”  His colleague Jon Collins, Managing Director and CEO at Freeform, added, “I think some vendors are being taken by surprise by the fact that Cloud just equates to IT done right.”

 

The good folks at Freeform are certainly not alone within the analyst community in arguing this point, indeed it’s probably fair to say that the majority of analysts arguably support this view. These kind of pragmatic ‘sanity checks’ from analysts are very welcome indeed. Such analytical doses of reality help the IT community to keep its feet firmly planted on the ground – dealing in the world of the possible rather than just focusing on the aspirational promise of tomorrow’s ‘next big thing’.

 

Cloud Adoption – Where it’s really at

More than ever the waves of FUD need to be countered – cloud particularly needs to be put into context. Although it is topping most of the ‘hottest’ technology lists for 2010, caution is justified. Broadly speaking analysts are advising a wait and see approach to adopting cloud services.

 

The analyst firm Gartner produces yearly Hype-Cycles, in effect market barometers which track technology adoption and market penetration. Coincidently, the latest Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies places cloud computing at the ‘peak of inflated’ expectations. This indicates that the technology has become as hyped as it’s going to be. Over the next two years the topic will slide into the ‘trough of disillusionment’ as customers begin to discover problems and issues with the implementation of cloud services.  This doesn’t mean the technology has failed; merely that it has reached the most difficult period in its lifecycle. As a general guide Hype-Cycles are a strong, but not infallible, method of tracking technologies and the right time to implement them. I’ve oversimplified the intricacies involved in Hype-Cycles slightly (but that’s a whole other blog post…)

 

Over the next year or so it will be bumpy ride for cloud computing enthusiasts.  Indeed, the words of caution from analysts have been circling for some time. According to a pan- European and American  survey[i] , conducted by the analyst firm Forrester, 49 percent of respondents recently decided not to implement cloud services due to ongoing security and privacy concerns. More questions are being asked over the ‘pure play’ approach to cloud, this trend will increase.  Such candour is well come as IT decision makers are risk averse at the best of times and rightly want to know their investments are justified (and will pay off).

 

The Real Future of Cloud

This is the part where I own up to having a vested interest in the debate. Several of my clients are actively involved in a hybrid approach to cloud computing which is known as Software+Services (S+S). The S+S model is championed by Microsoft, and other technology partners such as Mamut (a pan European software provider focused on SMBs). Both of whom – I’m very proud to say – are clients. Their approach is an evolutionary one to cloud.

 

In a nutshell S+S is a model which embraces both traditional on premise IT and the functionality provided by the cloud – letting the user decide whether they want to use online or on-premise functionality, or a combination of the two. It’s a salient approach as, in reality, most companies will use a mix of traditional IT and cloud services. Over the next few years the wider IT industry will come to acknowledge that cloud is not an ‘all or nothing’ proposition.

 

Indeed, for many businesses cloud is not an either/or debate – reality is rarely so neat and tidy – and there is a fine line to tread between business agility and retaining resiliency. In most of H&K’s conversations with analysts to date the feedback on S+S has been very positive. Whilst analysts won’t necessarily endorse one IT delivery model over another, many of the analysts the H&K AR team have spoken to agree that the future IT environment will be a heterogeneous beast. In our view, such an environment favours Software+Services. It lets the user pick their flavour of IT at their own pace. And in the end, cloud hype or no, it’s the user’s preference, and the IT facts on the ground, that truly matter.

 

If you are interested in starting a conversation with analysts or would like to discuss technology trends with the AR team at Hill & Knowlton then please do drop us a line.

 


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Norwegian-British Chamber of Commerce Member’s Forum at H&K London tonight http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/arcade/2008/09/23/norwegian-british-chamber-of-commerce-members-forum-at-hk-london-tonight/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/arcade/2008/09/23/norwegian-british-chamber-of-commerce-members-forum-at-hk-london-tonight/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2008 10:08:00 +0000 Dominic Pannell http://blogs2.hillandknowlton.com/arcade/11190.aspx Eilert
Hanoa, the CEO of one of our clients Mamut, is giving the key note at their
members forum on September 23.

The subject of Eilert’s talk will be “Doing Business in the UK – Mamut’s Success and Experiences”.
Eilert is a great public speaker and a genuinely interesting man with a
fascinating story to tell about his entrepreneurial background and the
phenomenal success of Mamut.

The
Norwegian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) is an independent non-profit
organisation with more than 700 members, including over 150 Young Professional
Members. The NBCC was founded in 1906 and welcomes members from Norway and the United Kingdom. The chamber has
played a significant role in supporting Anglo-Norwegian trade relations during
the past 100 years. NBCC is funded through member subscription fees and its own
activities.

Founded
in 1994, Mamut is a leading European provider of complete, integrated software
solutions and internet services for SMEs. Mamut offers complete and
user-friendly solutions at the best value for money integrating CRM, sales
force, logistics, accounting, e-commerce, domains, e-mail, web hosting and
security. More than 400,000 European customers simplify their daily business
with solutions from Mamut.

Click
here

to see the online invitation. It’s late in the day, but I’m sure we can
accomodate a few more people if you call us on 0207 413 3000 and ask
for Dominic Pannell or Sara Jurkowsky.

The
event will start at 6.30pm, with a drinks reception after the
presentation at around 8pm. The address is our office in Soho Square:

Hill
& Knowlton
20 Soho Square
London W1A 1PR

To view a
map, click here

Nearest
tube: Tottenham Court
Rd

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