Navigating the Politics of the Cloud

The only topic getting more attention in the tech industry than the Cloud is the debate over the future implications of the upcoming US presidential election. And, in many ways the two topics are intimately intertwined. Both are being propelled by plenty of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD).

Fear about the current state of affairs is driving many voters to consider changing presidents in the same way that fear about escalating competition and rising end-user and customer demands is driving many CXOs to consider Cloud alternatives.

Political Parallels

Today’s economic uncertainty is also fueling the political debate surrounding the competing presidential campaigns and pushing CXOs to evaluate the Cloud options which can not only reduce operating expenses but also produce new innovations and competitive advantages.

Yet, doubt still permeates many complacent voters who question whether either candidate can make a difference in the same way many cynics in the tech industry are convinced that the Cloud is just the latest over-hyped term to overtake the marketplace.

Even among those who agree that the Cloud does represent a viable alternative to traditional on-premise applications and legacy systems, a debate continues to rage between those who believe that the only path to success is building private clouds versus those who are confident that public clouds can satisfy their needs and makes more economic sense. I’ll let you decide which side represents the Republican and Democrat point of view.

Red, Blue Cubicles

While the political debate has centered on the economy, foreign affairs and healthcare, the Cloud debate has focused on reliability, security and the return on investment (ROI). Again, people’s answers to these questions are determined by their political orientation, which is often shaped by their status in life.

Again the parallel is interesting. In the political landscape, the preferences of laborers often defer from wealthier businesspeople. In the office environment, end-users have a different perspective from those in the C suite or IT department.

The “tea party” rebels in the political world who are speaking the loudest about these issues are similar to the clandestine office workers driving the “consumerization of IT” in the office place.

Burying the Hatchet

Unfortunately, the big issues surrounding the US presidential race have polarized the political system and slowed down recovery process. Ironically, the Cloud could play a big role in solving a lot of the problems which are at the heart of the political debates.

In the corporate world, problems like Big Data and global competition are too critical to ignore. Instead, these issues are encouraging enlightened corporate leaders to respond to the end-user and consumer rebellion which is fueling the growth of the Cloud. As a result, you’re seeing more and more organizations adopting new policies and procedures to better collaborate internally and align themselves with more responsive vendors externally to achieve their corporate objectives.

Now, if we could get the politicians to follow the example of this growing Cloud community, just think about how many of the world’s problems we could solve!

Jeffrey M. Kaplan

Jeff Kaplan is the managing director of THINKstrategies and founder of the Cloud Computing Showplace. He can be reached at [email protected].

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