IBM’s services are designed to recognize that, in some cases, it might be better to use a cloud maintained by IBM, while in other cases, it might be better to set up cloud-computing technology within a company’s own data center. Whatever the situation, Quan says, one of the key lessons for cloud computing is to automate the process to a greater extent, so that it’s easy, for example, for customers to move between working within IBM’s public cloud and within their own private clouds.
Frank Gens, senior vice president and chief analyst at the market-research firm IDC, says that IBM is hoping to appeal to customers by making it simpler for them to get into cloud computing. So far, the adoption of cloud computing has been slow, he says, because the existing vendors have placed a heavy burden on companies, asking them to put together complicated architectures in order to connect the cloud to their existing services. “IBM’s kind of gotten it and said, ‘Okay, we have to put the pieces together,’” Gens says.
He says that in addition to providing simplified packaging for cloud services, it’s significant that IBM is making an effort to give customers a clear sense of how cloud services can be used. The specificity that IBM is offering should make it easier to sell reluctant CEOs on the cloud, he says.
The strategy that IBM is using also plays to its strengths as a company with a long history of working with corporations. Like other traditional IT companies, “they’re viewed as coming later to the cloud than Amazon and Salesforce.com, but the other side of the coin is they’re coming with these capabilities that have an appeal to corporate CIOs,” Gens says. “It’s not that they’re going to come in and take over the world, but it’s going to be a more interesting competition now.”