Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cloud vs. Licenses

Been debating this for quite some time but it comes up quite often.
On one hand, some IBMers get paid on selling licenses, others get paid on Cloud initiatives.
On the other hand, as an example, Lotus Connections IBMers would prefer if clients bought licenses instead of LL Engage.
This short lived cannibalization of sales and internal posturing is not unique to IBM. Microsoft has similar issues, especially when confronted with losing major money from their #1 money maker, Office.
So what is a Business Partner to do? Naturally offer clients the best of what is available and make the proper choice. Not just select the one that pays more commission. And on that note, Cloud options pay much less, as if there was any doubt.

So what can the mothership do to resolve this dilemma?

One thing to do is compensate everyone, internally and externally, equally for the products. Really, what benefit does it serve to have it any other way?

Another option is to provide equality to all products and let the PC side be equal to the Cloud side. If someone owns one license, they should get one Cloud account for free. I understand this may reduce revenue, but this also provides an excellent way to work in the interim while companies try to decide their future directions, or more importantly when they will make the leap, if ever. Charging twice is just not a nice option.

Lastly, applications are needed. No offense to the great marketers out there, but just going to the cloud, without a real application, I do not consider social media or Office related tools as applications, doesn't have enough excitement by itself.

What would be exciting? Let your imagination run wild.