[Article] The cloud industry: Middle child no longer

March 17, 2017

Sourced from https://www.missioncriticalmagazine.com/articles/89918-the-cloud-industry-middle-child-no-longer

The Cloud Industry: Middle Child No Longer

Mid-market companies can no longer be overlooked.

Even if you didn’t grow up watching re-runs of the Brady Bunch, you know the saying: “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” It’s the exasperated cry of middle children everywhere who too often get overlooked — caught in the twin shadows of younger and older siblings who always seem to get the attention, just like poor Jan Brady did in every single episode.

The cloud industry has its own middle child whose needs have too long been underserved in favor of its larger and smaller siblings. Its mid-market companies who have gotten far less attention from cloud providers compared to 1) the wide swath of small businesses that represent a lucrative market for retail-style cloud services, and 2) large enterprises who have much deeper pockets and whose large implementations are a magnet for cloud providers’ sales teams. Mid-market companies have been the Jan Brady of the cloud industry, but that middle child status is about to be as outdated as the 1970s fashion in those re-runs.

A “Cloud” burst on the Horizon

In large part because of the lack of support from cloud providers to serve their unique needs, mid-market companies have lagged behind both large enterprises and small businesses in cloud adoption. But that is changing rapidly and it will re-shape the landscape of the cloud market, which for years has been dominated by the upper and lower ends of the market. Large enterprises have naturally led the way in cloud adoption because of their far greater staffing resources and financial resources for experimenting with the cloud, conducting more pilot projects, launching more products that leverage the cloud, and more. To complement that internal momentum, large enterprises have also received tremendous support from cloud providers who provide specialized services and dedicated teams to meet those needs.

On the other end of the market, small businesses have also been very aggressive adopters of cloud because retail-style packages of bundled, plug-and-play services meet their basic needs, achieve some clear savings and require minimal support from cloud providers. This lower end of the market has also gotten a lot of attention from cloud providers who frequently utilize a retail sales and service model to tap into this massive market of hundreds of thousands of companies with pretty basic cloud needs.

That focus on the needs of the biggest of the big and the smallest of the small meant that the mid-market has too often been left on its own to figure out the cloud for itself. And without adequate support from cloud providers, it’s no wonder that the mid-market has lagged behind on cloud adoption. It may have taken this size of company a bit longer to start and finish their cloud pilot projects, but everything I am seeing in analyst research and my own conversations with customers says that the mid-market is going to embrace the cloud in a big way in the next six to 12 months. Mid-market companies — all 200,000 of them in the U.S. economy — are ready to start transitioning critical applications and business operations to the cloud, and they will need help to do that in a way that factors in the lessons that early adopters have learned about the cloud.

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