Cloud Computing, Milkshakes and the Future of IT

The Researchers Have a Plan

After reviewing the raw data and analyzing the two types of customers and determining what jobs these two demographic groups were “hiring” the milkshake to do, here are the recommendations the researchers came up with:

  1. Create a thick blend shake for the morning crowd because Customer A needs the shake to last throughout his long boring commute.
  2. Create a thin blend shake for the afternoon crowd because Customer B needs the shake to be consumed quickly so she can proceed with her busy schedule.

That’s it?? Thick shakes in the morning and thin shakes in the afternoon? How boring! But it was an easy solution that could be implemented right away with almost no risk, minimal staff re-training and negligible added cost to the business. Needless to say, the experiment was an unqualified success.

You can read more about Professor Christensen’s Milkshake Marketing experiment here.

Back to the Lunch

The CIO immediately saw the benefits of the JTBD approach for his cloud transformation project. He admitted that he needed to understand what job his IT department WASN’T doing for his users…which led the users to find their own solutions outside of IT. He also realized that a cloud transformation was a major undertaking that could significantly disrupt the status quo and could introduce unacceptable risk to his organization. Instead, they would have to “eat the elephant one bite at a time.” #Eww.

We came up with a back-of-the napkin project plan and agreed to meet later to discuss next steps:

  1. Embrace the public cloud: Build a walled garden at a public cloud provider so users can instantiate pre-approved workloads in a protected environment right away.
  2. Build a private cloud: Deploy a scalable and agile backend infrastructure that can be the foundation for an IT-as-a-Service model when the organization is ready for it.
  3. Be transparent: Over-communicate your plans to transform to a cloud model and how it will benefit the users. At the same time, raise awareness of the governance, risk and compliance issues with unauthorized use of the firm’s intellectual property.

The Future of IT

In my line of work, I deal with some of the largest and most established IT organizations in the world. It will take several years for most of them to embrace “the cloud” for the same reason it takes an oil tanker 2km (1.25 miles) to change course. But the reality is that cloud computing has become part of the mainstream conversation. As a result, IT leaders need to think about their organizations no longer as purveyors of technology but as business owners who need to serve their customers–customers who now have outside options that may be cheaper, better and faster than what IT has to offer.

In the most famous job recruiting pitch ever, a young Steve Jobs in 1983 convinced then-Pepsi marketing executive John Sculley to become Apple’s CEO by asking him “do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life or do you want to change the world?”

Well, the world has definitely changed. Nice job, Steve! And technology purveyors need to get to know the marketing guys who sell sugared water and even milkshakes. Together, we can deliver what services our customers need. Then we can really change the world!

I think the CIO agreed with me. He paid for lunch 🙂

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