GreenPages CEO: The Cloud Computing Services Debate Is Over

GreenPages Technology Solutions CEO Ron Dupler Monday kicked off the solution provider's 15th annual technology summit by urging about 100 CIOs to stop debating the merits of the cloud computing services model and "seize the day" on the new information technology paradigm.

"Cloud is here now!" asserted Dupler in keynote address kicking off the conference, which has become a summer rite of passage for information technology (IT) leaders grappling with the changes being wrought by the ever changing IT landscape. "It is real. It is happening. And we all need to seize the day and deal with it."

Dupler characterized IT executives who refuse to embrace the new cloud computing services paradigm as technology "naysayers" and "dinasours" who are in putting their livelihoods at risk by not dealing with the "tectonic" shift to cloud computing.

The theme of the three-day GreenPages conference, which is being held at the Portsmouth Sheraton in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is "Cloudscape. Consquences, Opportunities & the New Reality."

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Dupler took on the consequences of not dealing with the new cloud computing services reality head-on putting in front of IT executives an e-mail from a GreenPages customer who complained that the $100-million national solution provider 's cloud computing services focus is a mistake.

"The direction that GreenPages has taken does not align with our view of how IT should be run," wrote the client. "Cloud is the new outsource in the IT world and just like IT outsourcing in the 90s may be a fad and a downright bad business decision."

Dupler, for his part, said that customer is "trying to perpetuate the past" and ultimately is either going to "change his mind" or find himself "working in a new field."

The Kittery, Maine-headquartered GreenPages was one of the early cloud evangelists and has been out in front of the cloud computing services phenomenon advising customers to move to a fully virtualized IT environment in preparation for the cloud computing services era.

When GreenPages stepped up its cloud march in 2009 and polled customers on the cloud computing services model, 50 percent of them believed it was nothing more than market hype. At that time, the cloud computing services model was number 14 on the list of CIO priorities from respected IT market researcher Gartner. Today, cloud is number one on the Gartner list of CIO priorities and few CIOs believe it is not an issue they must deal with in one way or another.

Gartner has projected that global cloud computing services revenue will hit $148.8 billion in 2014.

Next: Looking At Cloud Computing Services As An Opportunity -- Not A Threat

Dupler urged IT executives attending the summit to look at the new cloud computing services paradigm as an "opportunity" rather than a "threat." At the heart of the cloud computing services model is a bid to reverse the long-established standard of about 70 percent of IT budgets being spent on IT infrastructure with the remaining 30 percent on technology innovation.

That would amount to a whopping $250 billion of a total $600 billion in annual domestic IT spending moving from "maintaining and building infrastructure" to improving competitiveness and business processes with game changing applications, said Dupler.

"The jobs are going to follow the money," asserted Dupler. "Our business model is going to follow the money. The people who don't follow the money aren't going to be around anymore."

With many IT executives threatened by the loss of jobs that comes with moving to a cloud computing services model, Dupler stressed that "right-sizing IT infrastructure" isn't an end in itself, but rather about "infrastructure that should run as effectively, flexibly and resilently as possible at the best price."

Dupler said that IT skill sets need to change in the cloud computing services era away from maintaining infrastructure to game changing business services. "You have to change what you are doing," he told IT executives. "Over the next five to seven years, the world is going to look a lot different. What cloud (computing services) is bringing to the market is IT price performance and business agility."

Whether customers and businesses embrace the new cloud computing services paradigm or stubbornly stick with the old paradigm will determine "winners and losers over the next five years," said Dupler. "Are you going to lead, follow, or get out of the way. Standing on the sidelines is probably not a good strategy."

Dupler said hardware centric business models from solution providers, customers and IT distributors are under attack in the cloud computing service era. "This is not about the physical world anymore," he said. "It is about services."

GreenPages is responding to the tectonic shift with an all-out cloud computing services offensive aimed at assisting customers in the journey to the cloud. "Customers need an impartial trusted advistor who understands what is going on and can help them through some, if not all, of the journey."

GreenPages is investing heavily in what Dupler called the "right people and resources to make sure we maintain a leadership position" in cloud computing services. "We fully intend to make our living on being cloud builders," he said.

In fact, he said GreenPages aims to become a private label cloud provider layering technologies on top of the cloud providing additional value and business grade service level agreements that are more sophisticated than anything telecommunications giants can provide customers.

"In the future this is about integrating service platforms," said Dupler. "It is helping you turn internal IT into a service platform itself and integrating various service platforms."