Can you “do cloud” if you aren’t agile yourself? Many large vendors seem to think so, but customers are increasingly skeptical. At a recent 451 Group event, Bank of America Merrill Lynch architect Rupert Brown said…
…he thought that lack of agility was a big problem, and that this was the result of the companies not creating innovative solutions.
“We have found the same problem with all of the big vendors to be honest. IBM, HP and Oracle are all paralysed when it comes to innovation. They buy things to sell, they don’t innovate internally,” he said.
In my experience, most ServiceMesh customers agree with Brown’s statements.
Note that I’m not just making fun of the competition out of spite. Brown is pointing out a structural problem in high-tech. The fact is, when you’re a big vendor, it’s REALLY hard to deliver the innovation required to stay on the leading edge. You have existing revenue streams and life would be so much easier if the market was just static and you could continue taking your existing (large) cut every year. Heck, you could almost put the whole business on auto-pilot and then get a few more rounds of golf in.
The problem is that the new thing, whatever it might be, invariably cuts across multiple existing product domains. As a big company, not only are you going to have turf wars over who gets to lead the adventure into the new territory, you’re going to have existing resource and budget structures that are going to have to get blown up and then shifted around. And change like that is never fun. It takes a long time and you need to work through all the people issues.
On the other hand, you have all the small startups out there innovating like crazy. While they’re innovative, most of them are on temporary life support, burning cash like crazy, hoping to reach critical mass with enough customers to go cash-flow-positive before the VCs cut them off and close up shop. Further, most startups in the cloud space don’t seem to understand large enterprise IT. The products seem to be geared toward Web 2.0 companies with NO existing infrastructure or legacy concerns.
What’s a large enterprise customer to do? Stability without innovation on one hand; innovation without stability on the other.
Luckily, at ServiceMesh, we’re small enough to have started our cloud work with a clean slate, we’re lean enough to reorganize ourselves the 2nd Tuesday of every month if we need to, and yet we’re large enough, growing, and 3-years-profitable so that you don’t have to bet on an unknown startup in freefall. We’re able to move forward quickly, innovating and adapting to suit the landscape as quickly as it presents itself. That’s one reason we’ve been able to capture tier-1 customers in banking, pharma, consumer products, and media.
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