CeBIT 2013 Review: The Cloud – or: “Same procedure as every year”

Tuesday – I traveled to this year’s CeBIT with the faint hope that I could make some progress compared to last year especially in the area of ‘Cloud Computing‘. To my regret, I was disappointed.

How did I reach this conclusion, you’re wondering? Of the events I’ve attended regularly over the past years the following factors have always influenced my evaluation: 1) vendors’ communication of messages, 2) conversations with vendors and (potential) users, 3) forum programs and speech content (if offered).

This year, I can state the following:

  • The message – Basically, I was reminded of CeBIT 2012. The ‘Cloud‘ topic caught my eye from booths and marketing materials almost 1:1 compared to the previous year. The term ‘Cloud’ which I openly detest is used to fit everyone’s own personal definition. Whether it be ‘Cloud Computing‘ according to the NIST definition (National Institute of Standards and Technology) which I also prefer to use or anything else.
  • The conversations – Undoubtedly, I came across ‘educated’ users as well as competent representatives of several vendor companies. On the flip side, I had to realize that even more often, there are still vendors who are not really capable of communicating what actually differentiates their ‘Cloud Computing‘ offer from others and which advantages it would have for those reasons. By the way, the presentation and access of functionalities over a browser as the only noteworthy attribute is ridiculous despite what one ‘Cloud offer‘ booth tried to convince me!

  • The speeches – So many forums, so many speeches. Yet again, I was reminded of 2012. Almost the same topics and protagonists, the overwhelming majority of whom were vendor speakers. Where were the user reports that must exist in great numbers by now? Speeches such as the one by Dr. Müller, the CIO of Deutsche Telekom, which discussed concrete thoughts and challenges, improvements and setbacks as well as future plans in detail were quite rare.

In summary, these observations led me to the conclusion I made at the beginning.

Also thanks to such an event, the ‘Cloud‘ still remains an umbrella term that doesn’t do much in the way of clarity. This only reinforces the skepticism surrounding the term and its associated services. Besides better communication, relevant user reports are, as always, eminently important for increasing understanding and gaining acceptance.

So as you can see, my recommendation for vendors and their marketing is still the same this year as it was in 2012: “Call a spade a spade!

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