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A couple weeks back, I used up my one good pun about the cloud-versus-CPE debate, in a blog post entitled, “Don’t Jump to Conclusions About Premises.” But there’s more to say about this topic, thanks to more great No Jitter posts dealing with the whole issue of cloud migration, from the perspective of both the vendors/service providers and the enterprise end users.

First off, Phil Edholm of PKE Consulting and Brent Kelly of KelCor produced a masterful analysis of the factors that are driving technology providers to offer cloud communications services and push their customers onto those services. This is a long piece, but I really hope you can set aside some time to read it all; I guarantee you’ll be smarter when you finish it than you were before you started.

The piece is important for enterprise folks to read because it’ll help you understand why your suppliers—and your would-be suppliers—are offering what they’re offering, and how that behavior is shaping the market. As a kind of counterpoint to Phil’s and Brent’s post, consultant J.R. Simmons posted a piece called “Examining Enterprise Cloud Resistance,” in which he looks at the same issues from the end user’s perspective.

I say that J.R.’s piece is a counterpoint, rather than a response, because he’s not arguing that you should or shouldn’t move to the cloud. What he is saying is that enterprises should do what’s right for them, and not necessarily assume that the vendors are the only ones in the driver’s seat. Specifically, he emphasizes the incentives for incumbent vendors to continue offering CPE, and for at least some types of users to continue buying CPE: “If enough customers demand an alternative, basic economic theory tells us that someone will step up to supply a solution,” he writes.

“Our clients worry about their own bottom lines, not the vendors’,” J.R. concludes. “Although there may be many reasons to go cloud … the financial advantages [of cloud] remain more clearly in favor of the vendors than the customers.”

As we’ve pointed out many times, financial considerations aren’t the only reason for going to the cloud; surveys increasingly show that considerations like business agility and scalability are more important to those enterprises that have made the move. Still, cost is never not a factor.

All of the signs point to the CPE-to-cloud transition being a long one, just like every technology transition before it. That means you have some time to figure out what’s best for your enterprise, and you have a window of time to plan. It also means that you can plan a hybrid strategy that best fits your needs according to all of these top considerations—cost, agility, scalability, or whatever else you confront in your enterprise.

Your environment may not wind up being any simpler in this hybrid world, but that probably wasn’t in the cards anyway, however much everyone always says that’s what they want. It just doesn’t seem achievable, between corporate mergers and acquisitions, organizational disruptions, and changes in the industry vendor landscape. At least over the last decade or so, the job of managing communications and collaboration technology has been about shepherding users through a continually changing technology environment, while making sure that environment meets the security, compliance, and business needs of the enterprise.

That’s why Enterprise Connect has never been about technology as it exists in a vacuum or in a lab or in the distant future—it’s always been about what you need to know in order to get the job done today and plan for the near  and medium term. This year’s event, taking place the week of March 18 at the Gaylord Palms hotel in Orlando, is no exception. And right now is absolutely the best time for you to register, because our lowest rates for Conference passes expire today, Jan. 11. I hope you can join us in Orlando and be a part of the conversation.

Eric Krapf
GM & Program Co-Chair Enterprise Connect & WorkSpace Connect
Publisher, No Jitter

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