OK so having arrived at the first cut of a segmentation model for the Cloud Computing market, I am now embarking on a series of Reverse Engineered Positioning and Messaging Analysis (REPAMA) studies.
The problem I now face though as I start tp look in detail at various cloud vendors’ marketing propositions is that their products, capabilities and value propositions all appear to blur into one.
I guess this is a symptom of the early market nature of Cloud Computing. I would expect that as the market develops, real prospects will make real decisions based upon their real needs, and real differences will be stressed and perceived between the products and services of different vendors/service providers.
But right now the general approach I see is that no matter which product or service of a particular vendor I’m looking at, the proposition to the prospect typically boils down to.
Cloud Computing is good
…and this fits for any product in the portfolio. I see…
Cloud Computing does this, Cloud Computing enables that,Cloud Computing reduces this and Cloud Computing increases that.
Fine. But there are a couple of problems with that.
Firstly, and somewhat obviously, if all vendors/service providers simply evangelise the category like this instead of focussing on what they specifically can do, there is zero differentiation. And with zero differentiation the business typically goes the way of ‘market leader’ or at least the vendor/provider with the greatest market reach.
Secondly, if I were a prospect and all I hear about is the generic capabilities and benefits of the cloud, how do I know what each of the different products in your portfolio could do for me? It might be good to talk to me in terms of what the individual products do, how they are each different from/superior to competitors’ products or alternative approaches, what tangible things each product changes for me and what I would be left with AFTER I’ve bought each product from you.
I should stress that there is another category of proposition developing in my analysis which says cloud is good BUT there are lots of problems and potential problems to address first.
This is an obvious proposition and one that vendors/providers in new paradigms like cloud quickly rally around. It goes something like this…
Cloud will do lots of great things for your organisation but you have to make sure you do it right or all sorts of bad things could happen…
The problem with this proposition is that there is an obvious implication.
…and if you don’t solve these things, you’ll lose your job.
This negative connotation and association with the potential failures of cloud initiatives are perhaps not the best way to attempt to mobilise prospects. Having said that, as the movement toward the cloud builds pace it will likely be this “proceed with caution” proposition that gains traction. As cloud becomes a given, so it will be the vendors/providers that can prove that they can quickly address the deficiencies inherent with current cloud strategies and mitigate the risks involved that will rise to the top.
I’ve decided to first look at the Cloud Software / Cloud Management / Application Services Management category from the segmentation model. And I’ve decided to take a look at Appistry first – mainly because its a category that I’ve had direct experience of but also because in a market as broad and as complex as this one, well, you have to start somewhere.
I’ll keep you posted as I move forward.