There has been a lot of dialog about how cloud computing is changing our industry, yet at the core one could easily make the argument that the trend we are witnessing is just another entry in the long history of attempting to reach one, simple goal: reaching your target audience in the most accessible fashion. For many software publishers, the target audience is either the CIO or somebody who reports into that office, and the confusion and consternation we are watching unfold with the emergence of cloud computing is the classic case of trying to predict reactions to change.
However, as IDC analyst Amy Konary recently wrote , the issues really haven’t changed all that much. While her article was really directed at private cloud implementations, the implications for software publishers are really the same as they were in the antiquated pre-cloud era. How do you bring your offering to market in the cloud? What are the “right” ways to sell it? Do you have a platform and offering that allows you to a) scale, b) manage and c) adapt? Moreover, within the public cloud the scalability responsibility also shifts somewhat. The opportunities available to a startup publisher in the cloud vs. an established player begin to look startlingly similar as Amazon’s CTO Werner Vogels recently mentioned at Cloud Connect. To use one example, he mentioned that some services which would have historically only been available to large enterprises in an on premise world are now available to company’s of all size in the cloud, such as encryption and security . An inability to scale can no longer be attributed to lack of resources when you are in the cloud, but must now come down to more fundamental questions of ensuring that your offering can secure appropriate monetization through its own value.
Likewise the platform upon which software is provisioned and managed is no longer the domain of only the biggest of the big. The size of your engineering team does not exclusively determine how agile you can be in the cloud, as third party offerings make their way to market as they should for software publishers: in the cloud . Whether you are in the midst of a private or public cloud implementation, the only thing you can be assured of is that the need to adapt will be fierce and omnipresent. Business models are in flux as to what will be most successful in the cloud, and CIO’s are not holding back from making their desires and requests known. So perhaps, while some things really aren’t changing, perhaps other things are. The industry’s ability to offer innovative business and licensing models is changing, and is an emerging reality. The limits are no longer technical, and arguably not even economic. The limits lie within our ability to adapt at the required pace, and to ensure that we are appropriately communicating our capabilities.
Maybe the only guarantees aren’t death and taxes. It certainly feels like we should add change to that list.