'Featuritis' could lead you to the wrong cloud

Specific capabilities can feel like a better fit, but be careful before putting certain features ahead of the big picture

'Featuritis' could lead you to the wrong cloud

Winning Evernote's cloud business was a nice feather in Google's cap -- deservedly so. Google had put a great deal of effort in its machine learning offering in the Google cloud, and Evernote responded. I'm sure there were financial incentives as well.

The question then arises: Will enterprises buy cloud services -- or even partner with cloud providers -- around tactical features that they believe are important? Or will features trump market share?

Enterprise IT is tactically focused in many respects. While some IT departments will select cloud providers with the most customers and the most datacenters, others will look at specific features that a cloud provider may do well, such as machine learning.

Take big data, for instance. Although Amazon Web Services has strong offerings, so does Google. If enterprises do a feature-by-requirements comparison of both cloud offerings, they may pick Google as the primary cloud provider simply because it supports their big data requirements. But the same calculation could result in in AWS's favor -- or Microsoft's.

In my experience as a cloud computing architect, I've seen enterprises consider strategic requirements when selecting a cloud provider, such as market share, viability, storage, and compute. However, many also think tactically, such as which cloud supports machine learning in a way that their enterprise believes will be valuable, as Evernote did.

Other features driving some decisions include internet of things (IoT) systems and big data -- or some combination of IoT, big data, and machine learning. (Talk about buzzword bingo!)

Picking a cloud should indeed be a strategic decision, considering that you'll have to change skill sets, operations, and development around that new platform. In some cases, you may have to use more than a single cloud provider to meet your strategic and tactical requirements.

Still, at many companies it could be more about specific features that someone falls in love with. Try not to fall in love, and only let tactical capabilities sway a decision if the value of that tactic is much greater than all the other factors.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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