I recently attended an IT planning meeting with a client. And in the midst of all the back and forth, it struck me that while the client was nodding their approval that they were understanding our conversation, it was clear that they actually weren't. In mid-sentence, I stopped the conversation and bluntly asked them if they could explain the difference between "the cloud" and "virtualization". We had spent the last half hour discussing different strategies, impacts, and options and how it related back to their business in particular. And while they hemmed and hawed and tried to communicate these two concepts back to me in plain English, they finally gave in and admitted, "I have no clue".
Not that I hold them responsible for not knowing. This isn't their job and shouldn't be their responsibility. I do, however, have to hold our industry responsible for what seems like always over-hyping the latest and greatest technological solution as the "end-all be-all". At first it was managed services, then virtualization, and now it's the cloud. And don't forget BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). This is another hot topic. "Everyone get on board! This is going to solve all your ills!" This is what we're told by all the big players - Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Apple - all the channel partners, all the pundits reporting on the industry, and everything in between. And this is what clients hear and then want to implement. It seems no different to me than what I assume is happening with all the drug ads now on TV. The end user hears something that's supposed to solve their problem and then tells the doctor what they should prescribe. And with the ever "dumbing down" (i.e.: commoditizing) of IT - everyone thinks anyone and their brother can setup a computer - therefore we (professional, experienced, and certified) IT professionals are no different and they (our end-user clients) should be running the show.
What it comes down to is not the fact that a client didn't understand the difference between the cloud and virtualization, but rather here are some fairly complex concepts that are being sold as slam dunk solutions. The reality is that while the concepts themselves might be easy to grasp, the nuances of them and the lack of proper consideration and implementation are making things harder for us and worse for our clients. Bottom line - beware the panacea. It usually isn't.
In my next blog, I'll actually define these two concepts. Stay tuned...