I hear this pitch all the time: "Cloud computing provides the shortest time to deploy or time to market because there is no need to purchase and configure hardware and software." That makes sense.
However, the value that comes from speedy deployments is often lost in the process that occurs in most Global 2000 companies as they allocate resources, understand compliance, and deal with security. The advantage of not purchasing hardware and software is significantly diminished, considering the amount of work required to move or create a system wherever it may be sourced. The cloud providers are emphasizing a small advantage of the cloud.
[ In the data center today, the action is in the private cloud. InfoWorld's experts take you through what you need to know to do it right in our "Private Cloud Deep Dive" PDF special report. | Stay up on the cloud with InfoWorld's Cloud Computing Report newsletter. ]
If the value of time to deploy is not the big deal we're told it is, what is the compelling reason to move to cloud computing? You might think it's the efficiency of the public cloud platforms, but that too is a relatively small advantage.
The big advantage is the ability to quickly align with changing requirements, an area where traditional approaches to IT have failed for the last 20 years. In fact, they're getting worse at it.
The trouble is that the value of adaptability, which far exceeds that of other benefits of cloud computing, is both difficult to define as a concept and even more challenging to model for a specific problem domain or a whole enterprise. Nonetheless, it should be the ultimate objective of cloud computing and -- for that matter -- any new technology.
Cloud providers should stop leading their pitches with the tactical values that vary greatly from enterprise to enterprise and instead discuss the core strategic reasons for moving to the cloud. For its part, IT needs to get a clue about this concept so that it can apply cloud computing technologies in the right directions. My fear is that both providers and enterprises don't yet understand the true value of cloud computing, and tactical "quick win" thinking will get us into trouble -- again.
This article, "Cloud providers aren't selling the real value of the cloud," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.