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Selling Three Top IT Trends in 2019 

2019 IT marketing challengesBetween waves of new technology and political and economic jitters, 2019 will be an extremely noisy marketing environment. Getting and keeping the attention of IT buyers will be harder than ever.

Here are three of the biggest IT growth areas I’m seeing from my work with clients, and suggestions for practical messaging that will lift you out of the “me-too” scrum this year.

Cloud Migration

With security fears easing and cloud providers upping their game, it’s no longer news when a customer moves to the cloud – or that you helped them move to the cloud. Here are some not-so-obvious angles to differentiate your cloud platform and/or cloud migration consulting services.

  • How you help automatically identify which of a customer’s apps are best for the cloud from a business This might take into account management costs, software licensing, security/regulatory requirements, application performance and demands for local hosting in area such as the European Union.
  • How you automatically identify which apps are best for the cloud from a technical This might include dependencies on aging hardware platforms that would make such migration difficult or impossible and how you help link internal access control, security, management or chargeback platforms to cloud environments.
  • How you help customers manage their cloud migration so they don’t wind up with islands of expensive, insecure cloud apps.

Raising Digital Twins

Expect more talk in 2019 about “digital twins” (software-based simulations of physical objects or processes that continually become more accurate by analyzing real-time data from the Internet of Things. This ongoing realistic modeling of real-world objects and processes promises to slash time to market, prevent breakdowns through proactive maintenance and improve the efficiency and quality of products and services.

Ways to make your messaging stand out:

  • Explain what a digital twin is with examples specific to your industry. For pharmaceuticals, that might be a digital drug trial using wearable sensors; for an electric car manufacturer, a map showing range and charging stations for a customer based on their driving habits.
  • Explain how your digital twin technology or architecture handles obstacles such as intermittent or slow network connections with IoT devices.
  • Explain how you handle the all-important ingestion, cleansing and normalization of data needed to create an accurate digital twin.
  • Explain how each component in your digital twin architecture (from field devices through data gateways and cloud-based analytics) is designed to work most efficiently and securely.

Software Defined What?

Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen once famously predicted that software will eat the world.  Software may not consume everything in the IT world, but it is increasingly defining it. By that I mean using software to automatically configure, provision and manage compute, network and storage hardware far more quickly and less expensively than manually clicking through a user interface or changing wires on a patch panel.

Between software defined wide-area networks, software defined storage, software defined data centers, infrastructure as code and (yes) software defined everything, how do you stand out?

  • Explain where you fit in all these conflicting market spaces and create a simple, elevator pitch to explain it to customers. For example: “We deliver on the promise of `software defined everything’ by automating the provisioning, management, updating and troubleshooting of all components of your infrastructure from a single pane of glass.’”
  • With everyone moving to public or public/private hybrid clouds be ready to explain how your management spans the private, hybrid and public cloud worlds. Be precise about which cloud platforms you support, and how robustly.
  • The same goes in spades for your support for popular scripting and management tools such as Puppet and Chef. Explain how to what extent you support them and (if you’re providing services) the scale and depth of your expertise with each.

Hey, What About Blockchain?

I left out the blockchain distributed-ledger technology as the hype seems to be fading due to security and performance problems, and the lack of high-profile success stories. But there’s still a lot of enthusiasm among the faithful. If you’re among them, check out my 15 ideas to jump start a blockchain blog and tips on driving thought leadership in blockchain. I also didn’t covert “digital transformation” as you need to decide what type of “transformation” you’re selling before you develop content for it. (Tips for doing so here.)

Whatever you’re marketing, economic and political uncertainty plus new technology means a lot of confused, frantic, “me-too” messaging. Stand out in 2019 by digging beneath the buzzwords to explain the practical, real-world challenges our customers face and how we help meet them.

Author: Bob Scheier
Visit Bob's Website - Email Bob
I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

Do You Want Sales or an Audience – or Both?

Give clients “real business metrics,” says, Joe Lazauskas of Contently.

Walking the halls of my first Content Marketing World I wasn’t surprised to hear lots of agreement that high quality content is essential to effective marketing and sales.

But I was surprised at the mixed messages about whether the goal of that content should be to generate short-term benefit in the form of qualified leads and sales, or if it is enough – or even better – if content captures the right audience and makes you the dominant “voice” about whatever you’re selling.

The answer to this question will determine everything from your editorial to your distribution and content marketing measurement strategies. Hence, it’s something we need to figure out before producing a single piece of copy. Check out these arguments from both sides.

Show Me the Money… 

First, as if anyone needed convincing, research from the Content Marketing Institute and business news publisher SmartBrief  reinforced “the value of content marketing in guiding prospects during the purchasing process.” Among the findings: Two thirds tap sources other than manufacturers or vendors in the initial information gathering stage of a purchase, and almost as many said the most important consideration was that the information speak to their specific needs or pain points. That seems to point to the need for content to generate leads and sales, and to be measured on that basis.

One speaker, Joe Lazauskas, director of content strategy and editor in chief at software and services provider Contently, argued in favor of “accountable real business metrics” that generate return on investment, rather than just “impressions” when a reader sees a piece of copy. Another speaker, Jeannine Rossignol, chief executive and marketing officer of Edge Building and Construction, urged content marketers to think more like sales people and design content to drive sales, not just hits on a Web site.

…Or Show Me the Audience

But an Curran, CEO of content publishing software and services vendor PowerPost, argued that the real road to success for content marketers isn’t  in generating leads, but  in capturing share of “voice” – being a or the leading authority on a subject. The market presence and leads will follow, he argues.

But don’t his clients want hard dollar results like quality leads, I asked? Unfortunately, no, he said – because they often lack the internal processes that would let their sales forces put those leads to good use. This is a real and continuing problem, with some research indicating sales forces ignore a full 50 percent of the sales leads they’re given.

Robert Rose, chief content advisor for the Content Marketing Institute, had an even more revolutionary take. Maybe, he said, we’re not really in the business of creating content but of creating audiences. Those audiences can then be tapped for anything from advertising (Google) to sales of goods and services (Amazon) to tracking their needs to fine tune new products and services. Rose’s stance is not that sales and lead gen isn’t an essential goal for content marketing, but that focusing on it exclusively can blind you to even greater benefits.

“Strategic content creation helps build an engaged audience of people who exhibit specific, desirable behaviors – like greater willingness to share personal data, greater interest in upselling opportunities, and greater brand loyalty and evangelism,” he blogged in October 2016. “When your content compels your audience to adopt these behaviors, not only does it become easier for your business to achieve its long-term marketing goals, it can also open up new business opportunities – and even new revenue streams.”

When Things Go Bad

I can’t help think that, if and when the economy slows, our clients are going to revert to (if they’re not there already) demanding quality leads and not just share of voice or audience to justify their content spending.

But even so, should we be giving equal attention to building long-term audience and “share of voice” along with short-term qualified leads?

Author: Bob Scheier
Visit Bob's Website - Email Bob
I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

15 Ideas to Jump Start a Blockchain Blog  

blockchain blog topics

Emin Gün Sirer of Cornell University tells the MIT conference how to build blockchains right.

Let’s say you want to put a marketing stake in the ground around blockchain (networks of encrypted ledgers that automatically assure the accuracy of data and transactions without the need for a central authority.)

You’re convinced there’s real potential, but are not sure exactly where you fit in the market and how it will all play out. How do you begin building your reputation, making contacts and getting feedback and partners for your technology or business plan?

Based on sessions at the recent “Business of Blockchain” event, organized by MIT Technology Review and the MIT Media Lab, and my own blockchain marketing work, here are 15 quick hit questions you can blog about even if you’re not a blockchain expert. (Check out videos of the event here.)

Legal and Regulatory Issues

  1. What levels of assurance (if any) will central banks need before allowing the use of alternative currencies?
  2. What changes to laws and contract terms will individuals and companies need to safely rely on blockchain transactions?
  3. In the absence of banks and auditors, who will determine when a blockchain transaction has failed or when a ledger entry has been compromised?
  4. How will responsibility (legal and financial) be apportioned for the failure of blockchain transactions? Who will mediate such disputes – the courts or the parties themselves, in true “peer to peer” fashion?
  5. At what point, if any, should governments or industry groups step in to define blockchain standards and implement auditing systems?
  6. Can and should blockchain operate less like a traditional market and more like an open source project or Internet working group where many participants are motivated as much by a passion for the technology as by profit?
  7. Where should the traceability of a virtual currency stop, and who should its trail of ownership be visible to? If a bitcoin has been owned by a drug dealer or terrorist, should law enforcement have access to that information? If others can see a virtual currency’s checkered ownership history, does that reduce its value and thus make it less usable than current currencies?
  8. What is the best balance between “Big Brother” surveillance and the “Wild West” of a completely anonymous cyber- or cryptocurrency?

Technical and Implementation Issues

  1. Which are better: Permission-based blockchains that limit who may participate or permission-less blockchains open to all? The permission-based approach gives you more control, but risks creating an enterprise-specific silo that limits adoption. As with clouds, will these two flavors of blockchain merge over time? Why or why not?
  2. How many nodes on the blockchain must agree to deem a transaction or data entry valid? How might this change for different business needs? Who gets to decide which approach to use and how to determine the “voting rights” of the nodes?
  3. How do you cost-effectively develop and deploy different code for different blockchain nodes, to reduce the danger of the same vulnerability exposing all nodes to the same attack?
  4. How do you find “low hanging fruit” use cases that prove the value of blockchain in the short run (such as reduced transaction costs) to drive wider acceptance in the long run?
  5. What technical mechanisms should organizations use to prove the identity of those on the blockchain? How do you determine how much proof of identity you need for different transaction types, and with whom will you share that information?
  6. How much “scalability” and “robustness” does your blockchain require for various use cases, and how do you provide that scalability?
  7. To what extent will your blockchains need to interoperate with your legacy systems, and how will you accomplish that?

Don’t Sell. Explore Possibilities Instead

The blockchain movement is bottom up, not top down, evolving constantly with new standards, technologies and even definitions of terms. This is not “selling” to a known group of decision makers but organic, many-to-many discussion brainstorming. Be informed and have an opinion, but use your content marketing at this stage to scout for partners and build awareness of your expertise even as you seek help from others.

Finally, if you’re serious about blockchain be prepared to keep creating content for the long haul. As Amber Baldet,  blockchain program lead at  J.P. Morgan told the conference, her hope is to develop an open source community that builds a “market infrastructure for the next 20-30 years that supports the trust and robustness we need.”  That means a lot of thinking, talking, and communicating still to come.

Author: Bob Scheier
Visit Bob's Website - Email Bob
I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

Lose Content Flab, Make Buyers Swoon  

Illustration of a Man with a Rose Admired by WomenWell, maybe not swoon. But with 55 percent of visitors spending fewer than 15 seconds on Web sites, you don’ want to waste their time before they get you
r marketing message.

Shorter is often better when it comes to marketing content. But all too often, your in-house experts turn in bloated, unclear, jargon-filled bylined articles, blog posts or white papers that are far long than they should be. What’s worse, a lot of the words don’t need to be there at all.

Getting the essential points across in the least amount of space takes work, and experience. In my years of editing I’ve kept a list of words or phrases you can cut without losing anything useful – and actually improving your content.

Try deleting the words or phrases in italics and see if the copy gets to the point faster.

  • Saying the same thing twice: “First founded,” “predict future failures” “combined together with” “…In addition, it will also…”
  • Unnecessarily wordy terms: “quality control processes,” “products in use” “critical and essential.”
  • Unnecessary clauses: “The ordering process that was being followed…” “The audits that were required…” “Operational costs while using the product…”
  • Unnecessary “throat clearing” phrases: “In other words…” “essentially” “basically” “The list of critical requirements is listed below…” “The customer’s problem was clear and critical…
  • Two buzzwords when one is clearer: “Software solution,” “cost cutting and optimization,” “transformation and migration to the cloud.”
  • Quotes that don’t describe specific benefits, your competitive differentiation or why a prospect should consider you: “We were very pleased to offer our XYZ solution to Acme Widgets…” “The XYZ met our needs for a scalable, end to end solution…” “Global Services Inc. successfully completed the project on time and on budget…”
  • Restating needs rather than describing your solution: “Next-generation virtualization solution that cuts costs and increased efficiency to reduce excessive overhead and underutilization of virtual servers.”

And After Cutting…

…use the extra space wisely. Add words that describe specific benefits, how your product or service is different or better than your competitor’s, and how it helps customers save money or increase sales.  Write, and edit, as if every word cost you money. Which it will, if it’s not gripping enough to keep your prospects reading.


Author: Bob Scheier
Visit Bob's Website - Email Bob
I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

Robot hand typing on a computer keyboard.With software already writing routine stories for The Associated Press (my former employer) it’s only natural to wonder when such apps might start writing press releases, cases studies, Tweets, blog posts and other marketing content.

The AP claims its robo-writing of sports and quarterly-earning pieces hasn’t cost any jobs, but freed staffers to create more nuanced, in-depth stories. But as writing software gets better, it will be able to tackle more complex stories and (by extension) more complex marketing content such as white papers and responding to (just not creating) social media content.

For the sake of (choose your age bracket) our mortgages, our kids’ college funds and our 401(k)s we need to keep moving up the value chain and away from anything that is too formulaic and hum drum. Here are five content creation “fortresses” I see as safe for humans for a while yet.

Thought leadership: In a story about a game or a company’s quarterly earnings, the inputs (runs, hits, errors, revenue, extraordinary charges, etc.) are all well known. So is the format of the finished story. (“Gregg Jones led a fourth quarter rushing blitz that led the Panthers to a last-minute 33-29 win over the Cougars.”)

But I haven’t seen software that can suggest an idea or concept you can’t describe beforehand. That’s at the core of much of the work I do with clients developing thought leadership pieces. For one client, for example, I’ve spent weeks and dozens of hours reviewing background briefings and sitting in on discussions of their technology “vision.” It’s hard and necessary work to tease out and creatively package the unique content, and nothing I can see a set of business rules or algorithms tackling.

Cleaning Dirty Data: In the enterprise application world, dirty data might be three customer records for the same person with different combinations of first and last names, which can lead the company to think it has three different customers when there’s only one. Garbage in, garbage out.

In content creation, “dirty data” is raw material that is incomplete, inconsistent, unclear, loaded with jargon, too long or too short. How do you train an application to sift through a 60-slide PowerPoint full of buzzwords and distill the new, compelling message? How would you write a business rule defining “transform” when it can mean anything from cutting the cost of on-premise software to moving it to the cloud?

Asking the right questions: The more time I spend in marketing writing, the more value I find I provide by asking seemingly obvious questions. They might be as straightforward as “How do you define the cloud?” (Ask three experts and you’ll get four different answers.) Does any robot know to even ask the question, much less keep asking if the answer isn’t good enough to use in marketing collateral? Or creatively take four seemingly different answers and combine them into a new, compelling marketing message?

Coping with chaos: Software works great in defined, predictable environments where inputs and outputs can be predicted and rules created to respond to them. Ever seen a product manager or marketing campaign that works by set predictable rules with everyone following the workflow? How would you design software that can automatically reconcile multiple dueling agendas as new “cooks” in the form of product managers and outside agencies dip their spoon into the content stew?

Applying street smarts: I’m currently moderating a LinkedIn group for IBM on sales performance management software. When one study indicated some sales people are more motivated by “the thrill of the chase” than the size of their bonuses, I reacted with a very human “Really?” based on personal experience. How would you build such real-world knowledge into an application? Or, for example, the knowledge that sales and marketing staffs never seem to get along, or that security and operations staffs are always at odds because one is paid to assure safety, the other uptime? Applying such real-world perspective is essential to showing your prospects you know their business and can meet their needs.

Don’t get me wrong. Robo-writing software will get better at all these things, and maybe more quickly than we expect. That’s why we human marketing and PR types need to keep finding the “fortresses” of expertise that can’t be quantified in algorithms and business rules.  Which ones did I miss — and are you worried about content creation robots?

Author: Bob Scheier
Visit Bob's Website - Email Bob
I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

Can We Lead With Value in 2015?

2015 trends B2B content marketing Another day, yet another lament about how lame business-to-business (B2B) marketing content can be.

The latest eye-rolling comes from Forrester Research, courtesy of a report in AdAge. It quoted Laura Ramos, a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, on her review of 30 B2B Web sites in in the technology, software, investing, medical products, manufacturing and services industries.

She scored the sites on ten criteria, “ranging from a customer-centric home page to innovative use of video” Out of the 30 sites, only four passed. The biggest problem, says Ramos, “is that the majority of content talks about the company, what its products and services do and how many awards they’ve won, but doesn’t speak to the issues their prospective buyers are trying to solve.”

Funny, I was just blogging about how often this happens in case studies (and how to prevent it.)

Two of Ramos’ suggestions jumped out at me, one of which I agree with, the other I don’t.

Good: Lead With Value

Ramos talked up how offering usable content such as research and self-evaluation tools can engage the prospect and keep them reading by offering value. Two recent survey-based projects in which I took part show how this works.

One survey, done for Oracle on global cloud adoption trends found, among other things, that:

  • Traditional datacenter requirements, such as performance, service-level guarantees, application lifecycle management and integration, become more, not less, important in the cloud.
  • Frequent cloud concerns include migrating applications with very high performance, availability and security requirements; inability to easily migrate existing application data; lack of ability to manage/monitor or modify existing applications in the cloud; and inability to integrate with non-cloud applications.
  • There are intriguing differences between the workloads customers plans for public vs. private cloud (see below.)

cloud adoption trends

Or consider another recent survey in which I played a role, this for Dell on mid-market use of Big Data.

Its findings include:

·        The biggest drivers of big data success are IT/business collaboration, proper skills and performance management.

·        The biggest causes of failure are lack of IT/business cooperation and lack of tools and skills.

·        And that the most influential departments in big data projects are IT and sales/marketing.

Surveys like this let your salespeople lead by offering valuable help, not putting on a hard sell. By describing the actual state of the market, they can better frame the argument for your products and services. Finally, knowing what customers really care about helps you fine-tune your marketing message and strategy.

Not So Good: Saving the Client’s Bacon

While most b-to-b companies feature case studies on their websites, they don’t do a good enough job telling customer stories, Ms. Ramos said.

“The case studies were OK, but they weren’t really compelling. There are a lot of companies bragging about themselves, disguised as customer success stories, but they don’t feature people and their struggles and successes.” she says. “Companies need to show the things they really struggled with, where they failed, and then show redemption — everyone loves a story of redemption.”

Everyone, that is, except the legal and PR departments of the customer featured in the case study. .  What CIO wants to fess up to that, even if the near-disaster was (of course) their predecessor’s fault? And what legal or PR department would let them make such a confession, when it’s hard enough to get clearance for today’s vague “We’re very pleased with the job XYX did for us…” quotes?

One global services client struggling to describe the “real story” in their own case studies raised another objection: That the IT department itself is reluctant to paint itself as the hero that saved the rest of the company from disaster.

Finding satisfied customers in the business to consumer (B2C) space is one thing. If anyone’s found a way to tell the full “redemption” story for a named B2B customer, I’d love to hear it.

Author: Bob Scheier
Visit Bob's Website - Email Bob
I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

Should We Really “Think Like Publishers?”

Just when we all got used to the idea that “every vendor should be a publisher” comes word that, indeed, they shouldn’t. They instead need to be marketers who publish content to achieve specific business objectives.

It’s one of a number of good points in a very useful presentation “Yeah, it’s content, but is it marketing?”  from the PJA Advertising + Marketing agency.  It’s aimed at marketers who aren’t getting the return they need by content marketing efforts that cost too much or deliver too few leads.

Maintaining, promoting and monitoring an ongoing stream of great content takes too much effort not to tie it to concrete business goals, they point out. I like their advice to shift from a focus on “What (content) will we produce?” to “What are we trying to achieve?”

 Doing It Better

Among their specific tips:

  •  Tie branded content to business value by “understanding a conversation your buyer is interested in—and defining a valuable role for your brand to play in it. “ At each stage in the buying process, the role you play as content provider should change. (See next tip.)
  •  Make “the buyer journey your roadmap” In the awareness/education stage, teach them about why they might need a product or service. As they move into consideration, start talking about what features to look for in such offerings. As they move closer to product selection, start offering detailed implementation tips.
  • Think as hard about promoting content as creating the content. By simply using the scheduling feature in Hootsuite to schedule a series of promotional Tweets for each new post (instead of just at the original post) has boosted retweets of my posts, and my Twitter followers. Even simple steps to promote and target readers can pay off big.
  • Add a specific call to action to each piece of content, and track the uptake on them to measure the ROI of the hard work that went into it. Consider asking for something more specific than a generic “click here for more information” by asking for something that drives further engagement, such as subscribing to a newsletter, providing contact information, filling out a brief survey or registering for a Webinar.
  • Be flexible about formats. Coming from the long-form journalism world, it’s easy to think that every question needs a long, text answer. I’m finding that shorter Q&As, checklists, videos or podcast sometimes work better. An edgier format that’s more fun to produce is also likely to generate more interest.
  • Finally, and not surprisingly, the agency suggested to “grab a partner” that can handle some of the content marketing load better than you can. This isn’t as self-serving as it sounds. There’s a lot of moving parts involved in marketing automation and they’re changing quickly. By outsourcing what you don’t excel at, you can spend more time making sure you have a solid business goal for your content marketing.

Getting Started

Check out my sample content sequences for selling cloud services, security response and DevOps. And let me know what other IT products or services you’d like to see a sample sequence for.

Author: Bob Scheier
Visit Bob's Website - Email Bob
I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

survey shows cloud concerns Senior IT buyers want the cloud to make them more agile, not just save them money. But they’re also skeptical about whether such Web-based services can meet traditional IT standards for performance, interoperability and security.

To succeed, cloud marketers need to address in detail both these hopes and fears. Those are my top takeaways from a survey of more than 300 IT executives in midsize to large organizations I helped craft for Oracle.

They are open to “up-scale” pitches for the cloud that include enabling new business models, not just cutting costs. But they need detailed, specific explanations of how these cloud services can meet traditional datacenter requirements like performance, reliability, application lifecycle management and integration.

Cloud Promise

The 87 percent ranking “lower capital expenditures” as important in considering cloud was not a shocker. I was surprised, though, to see equally high (or higher) rankings for modernizing operations and better competing in global markets. A large majority also mentioned greater business agility and more rapid implementation of new business models. That makes such business benefits important to include in marketing collateral, and not just the bits and bytes of cloud implementation.

Application development and testing remains one of the most popular uses of the private

Cloud (controlled by customers rather than a public provider such as Amazon) predicted to rise from 39 percent of respondents today to 52 percent in two years. That’s because the cloud is well-suited to the sudden, unpredictable nature of app dev and testing needs. It may also reflect the growing popularity of “DevOps” that combines development and operations to speed new applications to market.

Next up for private cloud adoption are core business applications (rising from 41 percent to 50 percent); high-performance computing, such as analytics (rising from 38 percent to 47 percent); and data storage and retrieval (rising from 46 percent to 54 percent).

With the explosive growth of mobile apps, it’s no surprise more companies are using the cloud to develop them. One reason is that development code, while sensitive, isn’t as life or death as customer credit numbers or the molecular structure of your breakthrough cancer medication.

But in a sign of caution, deployment of online transaction processing applications—long considered some of the most sensitive and business-critical—is expected to remain steady in the public cloud, at 36 percent of respondents, while rising in the private cloud from 38 percent of respondents to 44 percent.

Still Scared

In fact, doubts about whether the cloud is ready for prime time was a surprisingly constant theme.

survey concerns cloud customers

Click to enlarge

Moving existing applications with very high requirements for performance, availability and security to even private clouds concerns 78 percent of respondents. Their doubts included whether the cloud is ready to support mission-critical applications, can integrate well with applications, data and services still housed in  internal datacenters, and can be easily managed with existing tools.

Just over two-thirds mentioned legal or regulatory requirements as their top public cloud challenges. (Note: If you can track and prove whether a customer’s data is in Bergen, N.J. or in Berlin to meet European security regulations, flout it!)

Enterprises also favor private clouds dedicated to their own apps and data, rather than to multitenant public clouds shared with other customers. In two years respondents expect to have 47 percent of their workloads running in a private cloud, compared to only 15 percent expecting to run them in a pure public cloud.

 Public? Private? Huh?

Vendors make a big deal out of the differences between public and private clouds. I was surprised at how many respondents showed similar levels of concern for both in areas including:

  •  Migrating applications with very high performance, availability and security requirements.
  •  Inability to easily migrate existing application data.
  •  Lack of ability to manage/monitor or modify existing applications in the cloud, and
  •  Inability to integrate with non-cloud applications.

For marketers, these means customers might need more education about the real differences between public and private clouds and how these differences meet specific business needs. And in each of these are areas where, if you have a good story to tell, flesh it out specific explanations, proof points and explanations of how you’re better than your competitors.

 Déjà vu All Over Again

After about 25 years covering each “new” shift in the IT industry, from minicomputers to client-server to cloud/mobile/ social/Big Data, some things never change. The latest razzle-dazzle technology may be great, but the old stuff never goes away and there’s always a market for the dull, but essential, job of making sure it all works right.

As marketers, our challenge is to explain clearly and concisely how the new stuff works and how it helps the customers.

 (The survey was conducted by Computerworld Strategic Marketing Services and Triangle Publishing Services Co. Inc. on behalf of Oracle. Read the full results, check out a sample content marketing sequence for cloud services here and tips for using “how-to” stories to sell the cloud.) 

Author: Bob Scheier
Visit Bob's Website - Email Bob
I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.
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