Give Yourself A Laugh, Then Get On Board


Give yourself a chuckle. Go to Channelweb.com and take a look at the "10 Most Memorable Tech Executive Statements Of 2008" slide show.

There really were some things said this year that will make you laugh, like Jerry Yang talking about how he was taking the Microsoft offer to buy the company seriously. I'd bet he seriously wished he had taken the offer now.

ROBERT FALETRACan be reached via e-mail at rfaletra@everythingchannel.com.

But the one that really gave me a belly laugh is Larry Ellison's comments around cloud computing. It's far too long to repeat here; you really have to take a look online. It surrounds the latest spin around cloud computing and how it's really nothing more than redefining everything that already happens in the market as cloud computing. "The computer industry is the only industry that is more fashion-driven than women's fashion," he said, along with a few choice other words. I couldn't agree more, but why is that all bad? The reality is when an industry matures, marketing becomes more important both as a means of differentiation but also to build awareness and desire.

So, as they say on Wall Street, the trend is your friend. The discussion around cloud computing can and should be used to your sales advantage. In the channel, we have been talking about managed services and Software as a Service for five years. Heck, that's all cloud computing.

We all know there are going to be lots of marketing dollars spent by the big boys and even more stories written in the press around cloud computing over the next year. It's not new to you, but if it's new to a customer and it helps you engage in a discussion around how you can help them use this "emerging trend" to their business advantage, then I say, "Who are we to look a gift horse in the mouth?"

Marketing is going to be important in this downturn. Positioning your value properly may be the difference between getting the business and losing it to a competitor. I think you need to use cloud computing, or managed services, or Software as a Service or whatever is most easily explained in a sales call to create interest. The pitch is around better cash flow for the customer, who doesn't have to write a big check all at once. It's around not having to invest big money in an infrastructure that ties you into a platform. It's about flexibility and the thought that a better service can be piloted without a lot of up-front costs.

I think Ellison is 100 percent right, and you really will get a laugh by looking at the longer statement. But being right and fighting a movement are two different things. We all know Oracle will be right there next year along with everyone else talking about their answer to cloud computing. You need to be doing the same.

Is your head in the cloud when you're making your sales pitch?
Make something happen. E-mail Everything Channel CEO Robert
Faletra at rfaletra@everythingchannel.com.