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I wrote last time about a roundtable I was part of when I was last in Texas. The first video looked at some of the issues business need to think about when moving to the cloud. This next video talks about some barriers to adoption that organizations face and how many of those barriers are perceived or real. In the roundtable I was joined by Matt Brace, Senior Engineer at Invodo and Don Fornes, CEO of Software Advice.

We talked about the issue of control – the fact that there is this tension between IT and the business unit when moving to the Cloud – IT sees having to give up a degree of control is a negative thing whereas the business units, which are only focused on getting things done, react positively to handing off control to a third party.

The functional gap of web apps came up – Fornes pointed out the functionality lacking in Google Apps for example – however my take on this is that if one looks at the velocity of innovation over web applications generally, that the time to feature completeness is rapidly shortening and any real functional gaps will be filled soon. This does however raise another issue – one of “how close is close enough.” It’s an issue I’ve spoken about previously, but essentially I contend that 20 percent of the functionality included in Microsoft Office, for example, is unneeded and unused. That said, there is a degree of functional gap that is to be expected and is in fact appropriate when comparing cloud applications to desktop apps.

Related to the control aspects of moving to the cloud, we talked about visibility and control and the fact that in the cloud it is hard to get a good picture of where money is being spent and what resources are being used across an organization. There are companies however dealing with this problem set and again I believe that this is a function of maturity rather than one of systemic problems.

We touched on the issues or factors around the decentralization of control and the ever-important balancing act between agility and control. My personal opinion is that the agility the cloud brings more than makes up for any loss of control (and I contend in fact that this loss of control is actually a positive thing for strategic focus), but clearly others have a different perspective and the next few years of cloud adoption will be interesting as people slowly warm to the idea.

Finally we talked about my old faithful – getting mom and pop businesses into the cloud. It’s my personal biggest challenge and one that, if solved, will really start to show just how valuable the cloud can be.

Anyway – the video is embedded below – hope you enjoy it!

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

  • Ben, isn’t the most important question for Mom & Pop stores – “why should they adopt the cloud?”?

    The common answers presented by cloud vendors (anywhere/anytime, security, “it’s the future”) don’t work because they are talking about operations, not markets. Mom and pop stores need the cloud to enable them to increase sales, more than they need to improve system efficiencies. SMBs are similar – the cloud represents channels to new markets, more than it represents efficiencies.

    eBay is making it happen. 61% of 41m listings on are fixed price. Only 100 of UK vendors are “known retail brands”. PowerSellers are a surprisingly small segment of eBay revenue/listings, which leaves a very long tail of first time and small Merchants (including my mother!).

    Few people know more about enabling the small merchant to become an online merchant than Chris Dawson, who penned a thoughtful piece on this subject just yesterday

    Nice shorts, Andy

  • How about a round table dedicated solely on getting the mom and pops to the cloud. I look forward to hearing more. Have a good weekend guys!.

  • Great stuff. I recently wrote a similar piece for VentureBeat about considerations for cloud migrations which is at this link:

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