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Adopting a Cloud First Mindset

How enterprises, service providers and ISVs must transform their approach to win

Much has been written here, and in many blogs, about Cloud Adoption. However, most of this has focused on the tangible and critical pieces like technical architecture and operational considerations. This can’t be minimized in the least. However, in my work with both vendors and end customers, I’ve identified what is another critical success factor across all organizations, and that is adopting a Cloud Mindset. And while mindset may seem “softer” than the other issues, if we don’t shift our mindset, we will continue to cling to ideas and assumptions that served us well in the past, but can get in the way of our future success.

The OPF™ Mindset Framework
I’ve developed a model to both understand and manage mindset transitions. In the OPF framework, Mindset is composed of 3 components; orientation, perspective, and focus. Each of these has a very specific definition:

    1. Orientation – My relationship and adjustment to the environment that I am in
    2. Perspective – My way of regarding/judging and interpreting facts
    3. Focus – Where I choose to concentrate my attention

In order to change, to bridge from one mindset to the next, it is often helpful to explicitly define, discuss and agree on an organization Mindset.

Let’s now apply this framework to the three transitions in question, ISV to SaaS, Service Provider to Cloud Service Provider, and Enterprise IT To a Cloud First Organization.

The SaaS Mindset
As I blogged earlier, ISV and new SaaS providers need to change their Mindset:

  • Orientation: from Product to Service
  • Perspective: from Spikey to Continuous
  • Focus: from Transaction to Relationship

Without these changes, the incentive to drive the organizational requirements for success and the framework to make strategic choices will be flawed. I’ve seen many cases where ISVs have not succeeded with the transition to SaaS, not because of technical barriers, but because they failed to change mindset and therefore made poor organizational, resource and strategic choices.

The Cloud Service Provider Mindset
Service Providers, of course are in the business of selling services, not products, so they have a different challenge in transitioning. They must become more agile, like the technology they support. They must accept that they win not only by expanding their service catalog, but by making it more “open” to other cloud providers, and adding value in layers above their traditional service catalogs. Applying the OPF framework to this transition, we can summarize this transition like this:

  • Orientation: from closed and control to open value add
  • Perspective: from customer value from me to customer value through ecosystem leverage
  • Focus: from Service expansion to Service agility

The more a service provider opens up and expands its catalog, business practices and value add to the Cloud ecosystem, the more opportunity opens and barriers to winning the Cloud melt away.

The Enterprise IT to a Cloud First Organization Mindset
Traditionally, IT has been the provider of services to the Enterprise. And while this is the role that they will continue to play, it is being transformed daily. First of all, with layers from IaaS to PaaS to SaaS being provided to IT, they must understand that they are no longer a buyer of services, but have in many cases become the consumer of these services. They must consume, add value and broker these services to their internal and external customers across web, mobile and other channels. They must move beyond exploring the cloud and drive to strategies that exploit it. In short, they are the beneficiaries of the work being done by ISVs and Cloud providers, but only if they learn to consume, exploit and effectively broker new and innovative services. In short, their mindset must shift like this:

  • Orientation: from buyer to consumer
  • Perspective: from exploration to exploitation
  • Focus: Service delivery to service brokering

As we see, Cloud Adoption changes the role and mindset across the IT service delivery value chain. Has you organization changed or is it clinging to an old mindset? By explicitly thinking, discussing and agreeing on an organization’s mindset, it’s Orientation, Perspective and Focus, you can change the speed and effectiveness of your cloud adoption and success. Happy Bridging…

More Stories By Ken Rutsky

Ken Rutsky is a Product and Service Marketing Consultant, and has spent 20+ years in the industry, launching his first Internet services while at Netscape from 1995-99. Since then, he has been CMO at several start-ups and ran Network Security Marketing at McAfee. Ken launched McAfee's Secure Web Protection Service, and his time as a consultant has included the launch of Nimsoft's Nimsoft On Demand service. Today, he is laser-focused on helping ISVs and start-ups understand how to bridge from the world of products to SaaS Services with their mindset, organization and go-to-market tactics. Follow him on Twitter @jayrutz, on Linkedin at http://www.linkedin.com/in/kenrutsky, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/KJR-Associates/224894750772.

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