Cloud computing is far from a new phenomenon and it has seen a wave of vendors changing the game in their respective industries, such as Salesforce.com disrupting CRM and Zendesk doing the same to customer service.
The simple idea is that you don’t need to install and maintain the software, whether in your own IT datacenter or at a hosting provider. Instead the software lives in the cloud and is updated by the vendor, effectively removing the need for tasks like upgrading, maintaining and generally worrying about keeping the solution up and running.
If you are a customer looking to acquire a digital experience solution, content management system or similar, now is the time to look for cloud-based solutions. We drew a line in the sand between 3 and 6 months ago, and I would no longer recommend customers to look at traditional on-premise solutions.
The resistance to cloud tends to be irrational as enterprises have widely adopted cloud in other business-critical areas witnessed also be the rising popularity of Office 365.
If you are looking to upgrade, then read: How most customers get the digital platform upgrade painfully wrong.
The cloud changes the game for the digital experience space
The longer version:
For some strange reason the entire digital experience marketplace with leading vendors like Adobe and Sitecore has remained on the good old on-premise approach and has so far offered little in terms of cloud, except the occasional mention of cloud in their marketing.
To be fair, some leading vendors have adopted cloud as a storage option, but that doesn’t really count as it still requires on-premise installed software
On a weekly basis and at each and every J. Boye group meeting, I hear about how customers are stuck on older versions, such as an old Drupal version, an old Sitecore version or what have you, and are now struggling to move to a new version. Upgrade projects are rarely fun and usually risky and expensive.
The old paradigm was either proprietary software with a fixed price to acquire or open source. Either way, it was on-going costs, both in terms of maintenance and support as well as resources required to keep the systems running and upgrading when necessary.
As a customer you’ve been faced with many infrastructure tasks that a vendor handles for you when you go cloud.
Some of the resistance, I’ve encountered has been along the lines of:
IT won’t agree to it due to security and privacy concerns. I would suggest you let your service provider talk around this, e.g. by storing key data locally, but if you are using Google Apps or Office 365 or Salesforce.com there are holes in your logic
IT won’t agree to it as it will drastically cut their budget and fundamentally redefine their purpose
The impact is profound as you have a mature offering like Amazon Web Services, which offers basically all the infrastructure features you would expect. At the same time you have hot start-ups like Contentful for a developer-friendly API-approach to content management and GatherContentto provide a cloud-based interface that makes editors happy. This could lead to an entire new generation of home-grown web platforms after we’ve just spent a decade migrating from home-grown to standard vendor offerings.