VMworld: A Good Reality Check on Cloud Maturity

I was proud of the fact that JDA Software received some great recognition at last month’s VMworld conference (@VMworld). We spoke at the event with our partner BMC Software (@BMCSoftware), who recognized us as a cloud innovator in terms of the value JDA Cloud Services bring to our customers. We were honored to receive a BMC Cloud Innovation Award and to have our own John Frazier speak with BMC’s CTO Kia Behnia.

I connected with John after the event to hear more about the conversations he had with IT leaders there about cloud computing, as I felt it would be a good barometer for how IT and the business are bridging the gap.

What was your biggest takeaway from VMworld?

VMworld confirmed that we continue to differentiate ourselves by focusing on cloud capability. Nearly all of the 300 vendors participating in the conference seemed to talk more about capacity – or the infrastructure built to support cloud computing – and not about the capability of cloud providers to offer business capability, agility and measurable results.

Despite this, I received terrific questions from attendees, both at my talk and in private conversations, about capability issues. I was pleasantly surprised by this given that the crowd at VMworld consists of predominantly IT and infrastructure folks.

I believe this shows a maturing of the thinking around cloud and it was great that our messaging resonated so well with this group of technology decision makers.

That’s great to hear. Do you think it shows that the gap in understanding between IT and the business of cloud is narrowing?

It is encouraging for sure, and suggests that this bridging between IT and business people is starting to occur. It’s something we’re trying to do in all of our engagements, where typically the business person nods his or her head quickly but it takes more time to bring the IT person up to the same level of understanding.

That makes events like VMworld  great places to have conversations with IT leaders about cloud capability.

What were the most relevant discussions you had?

The most relevant discussions were related to where an organization gets value. The challenges most IT leaders have from an IT delivery perspective relate to how much they can do with what they have. The most strategic leaders realize that taking advantage of a service like JDA’s offerings is simply an extension to what they already do.

An analogy is mobile phones. Who has their own mobile phone network? But yet it’s a business-critical tool, and when you’re looking at a service provider for it, you’re looking at who provides the value to support your business. You don’t try to build your own network. That’s where we are in this progression of business applications.

People have seen the value of moving to a shared platform for a business application like CRM through Salesforce.com, and now they are starting to see the value of more strategic applications like supply chain management. They are seeing that they can have the control they need, but move beyond their own enterprise.

I believe there hasn’t been a bigger shift on the core applications like ERP and supply chain because IT feels like they will lose control of the ability to drive the business. That said, this is changing based on the questions they asked at VMworld.

Given the mindset of attendees, what was it about JDA’s cloud offerings that resonated with them?

We got into the value of JDA’s cloud supporting the supply chain. It was centered around the fact that our cloud platform enables those business people involved in supply chain management and IT to focus on things like gaining more velocity in their logistics operations or getting better turns on their plans versus keeping the software tuned and optimized.

We’re taking the pains out of managing the software deployment complexity. This includes the upgrades, the releases, the change management, the performance engineering and tuning. The business people are looking for IT to do this and the cloud gives them an opportunity to meet this need easily.

They also realize there is value in our ability to help IT do more with what they already have. They realize that they don’t necessarily need to buy something new, but with the optimization of the platform that we provide, they get the most out of their investment.

Thanks, John. It sounds like it was a great event and the conversations are moving in the right direction.

Below is a video captured by BMC Software of John’s talk at VMworld. I’d love to keep the conversation going. How are you bridging the gap between the business and IT on the cloud?


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