“What’s your cloud strategy?”
The other day, I was having lunch with a SVP of a multi-Billion software company, let’s call him Kevin, when he asked me “What is Mindprint’s cloud strategy?” I usually enjoy my lunches with Kevin but that question mildly annoyed me for reasons I couldn’t quite pinpoint. My response was that it’s our clients’ choice – they can ask for a cloud based or on-site deployment model. At first, it doesn’t sound like an articulate strategy but there is strong reasoning behind our decision to take a non-dogmatic approach to the cloud. However, my response to Kevin didn’t quite satisfy the inner MBA in me and I wanted to expand on my answer here.
Kevin’s point was that embracing a cloud strategy requires more sales and training staff than with an on-site deployment model. That gave me a clue to his reasoning. Yes, if you are selling an out-of-the-box, one size fits all, standard product, it makes perfect sense to deploy it on the cloud and have a large sales team selling and training users. However, that scenario of bulking up on your sales and training team has little to do with a ‘cloud strategy’. It has more to do with your product strategy. Once you decide to sell a mass-market B2C product, a large sales and training team goes hand in hand with that decision. It also makes perfect sense to choose cloud as the delivery model for a B2C product as it brings many benefits to both you and your customers. There is really no point in giving your customers the choice of buying the product on a DVD or accessing it remotely via a browser. So you impose your “cloud strategy”.
However, Mindprint is not in the B2C business. Our strength is precise customization. Our technology, Axpert, is excellent at being able to deliver a fully customized solution at a faster pace than deploying and tweaking a pre-packaged solution. It makes no sense for us to be in the mass-market B2C business, where customizations are a big no-no. Mindprint is in the B2B business. We have chosen our client segment as mid-size service companies, where one-size-fits-all approach lands flat on its face. Our clients are successful because they are unique. They have built their competitiveness right into their very DNA, their internal processes. We engage with our clients, one at a time, and deploy Axpert to precisely meet their requirements and enhance the internal pace of their operations.
Really then, our cloud strategy is to be flexible with our deployment model. Axpert’s .net option quickly lets us deploy a browser based version of any application, pretty much with a single click. Our partnership with leading cloud infrastructure providers enables us to provide a cloud based application seamlessly to our clients. The decision then, comes down to our clients’ level of comfort with a cloud based solution. A cloud based deployment brings the benefits of perpetual revenue for us but we don’t impose our “cloud strategy” on our clients. Our clients decide whether they are ready for the cloud or not. We will continue to successfully deploy both on-site and cloud based solutions to perfectly meet our clients’ requirements. So Kevin, that’s my long winded answer to your question!