First posted at VentureBeat

I tend to be a little jaded about cloud technology events. I’ve attended a few dozen high-profile events a year over the past handful of years, making me a bit of a veteran. The amount of cloud-washing I’ve seen, and the number of events that rapidly descend into a battleground of highly technical minutiae, have left me frustrated many times.

Which is where CloudBeat 2011 comes in. My role in all of this cloud “stuff” is to find ways to articulate what cloud really is, and the value it brings to organizations, in language that connects with business folks.

Sure, I spend a lot of time with technical folks, and I acknowledge that there would be no cloud without them, but as I’ve written before on numerous occasions, all the technology in the world means nothing unless real world users are able to understand what that technology actually means for them.

It’s a topic that I’ve spoken with many times before with Professor Terri Griffiths, noted management academic and author of the recent book “The Plugged-In Manager”. Terri totally understands the need to find connections between technologists and real world business folks – for this reason I’m excited to be involved in a panel with Terri looking at this very topic.

In another role, I spend my time building programs and communities that aim to fill this gap between technology and end users. Indeed, the entire CloudU program is built upon the premise that, were business people fully aware of the potential benefits that cloud can bring, many of the barriers to adoption would rapidly dissipate.

Which brings me to another session I’m excited about. I’ll be moderating a fireside chat with Byron Sebastian, head of platforms for Salesforce. Byron is someone I’ve spent some time with before (see video below) and, as CloudBeat marks the first anniversary of the acquisition of Heroku by salesforce, it’s an ideal opportunity to reflect upon the value that these two different platforms are bringing to real organizations today. Not tomorrow, not some time in the future, but today.

So all in all, I’m pumped about CloudBeat 2011. It’s going to be an awesome event with some awesome talks, presentations and case studies.

In fact, one of the major parts of the event is a showcase of 12 of the best cloud case studies we can find. The fact that the showcase will be presented by cloud customers, not cloud vendors, is a measure of how this conference differs from all the others. We are laser-focused on creating an event that isn’t just another chance for vendors to push their wares.


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.


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