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"Don't mention the cloud!"

If you're over 40 you probably know the British TV series 'Fawlty Towers' in which John Cleese plays the clumsy, abrupt and often pitiful Basil Fawlty. His hotel is home to a guest called 'the Major'. A slightly confused, oblivious and racist war veteran at an advanced age, still living in the past and often saying the wrong things at the wrong times. In one episode Basil tries to keep him and the hotel staff from saying anything about the war to the German guests in the hotel: “Don’t mention the war!”

I suddenly thought about this famous episode when a number of colleagues and I were visiting an important customer in the United Kingdom. This client manages about 600 buildings of which about 400 are equipped with Priva products. Because of the increasing number of buildings that needed to be managed, this organization has built up an impressive ICT network. A major problem (no pun intended) is that the organization is under great pressure to keep all those separate systems (which are located in their own data center) up and running. Due to the increasing scale and rapidly changing technologies, people are constantly lagging behind. Data required for analysis is retrieved several times over and stored in several locations. In other words, massive overkill.

Red rag to a bull

‘Now there’s some room for improvement’, my British colleague must have thought, and he talked to the manager of the service department about the possibilities and benefits that Priva Cloud services offers for his department.

However, that didn't go well. "Cloud is of the table," he said resolutely. Not once, but several times in that following year. The word Cloud seemed to work more and more like a red rag to a bull. Because we as Priva really like to continue doing business with this customer, and as far as we are concerned the future lies in Cloud technology, we wanted to discuss this with the customer and then also have an ICT-guy at the table so that we could better understand the objections.

Before we went to the customer, the responsible British colleague pressed my heart: 'Don't mention the Cloud, let him start'. I felt a bit like a member of Basil Fawlty’s staff.

Unknown makes unloved

For many people, the Cloud is little more than a new technology that on the one hand can solve a difficult problem and on the other hand offers a wealth of new opportunities for our market (and to me that is the right view on the Cloud). For others, however, the Cloud is an elusive, incomprehensible concept. And what we don't understand we have to avoid, right?

This manager belonged to the second category until the conversation ended up on the Cloud (not by us, word of honor). The ICT-guy at the table looked a bit strange when hearing the firm rejection of his colleague and remarked that if the Business needs Cloud technology, it is the ICT departments task to see how this can be made possible. My kind of guy! Immediately the conversation took a completely different turn. The manager became interested and asked all sorts of questions about the line of Cloud products we offer and what this could mean for him. The order for the first Cloud service for a mail-sorting Centre in North London has been received.

All ends well

The moral of this story is that for many people the Cloud is an elusive thing and as a result companies and organizations avoid the Cloud. If you as a company encounter such objections, it is important that you come to the table with the right people. After all, ICT people do see the advantages and know that their organization benefits from the flexibility and scalability that Cloud solutions can offer.

In conclusion

Understanding the value of new technologies in the building-world is something that we at Priva find very important. So, let us know how you view the application of new technologies within your own organization or when talking to your customers. Did you mention the war and all hell broke loose? Or maybe you have already solved it? If you do, just let us know how you solved it.

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