I’ve spoken at several Cloud conferences over the last couple of years, including the recent Informa Cloud World Forum, UBM CloudConnect, Sys-Con Cloud Computing Expo, and several others. And while many of these events attract a good number of attendees, there is something that all of them are missing.
Of course, this statement is a broad generalization. Plenty of techies who have budgets show up for these events looking for Cloud products or services. But not nearly as many, proportionately speaking, as at other IT conferences I’ve attended.
Furthermore, the reason for this missing constituency conveys an important message about Cloud Computing in general. The core problem is that to an increasing extent, Cloud buyers are on the business side. They’re not techies at all. And nobody on the business side would be caught dead going to a geekfest like a Cloud show (generalizing again, of course.)
The SaaS market is an obvious example. Whether it be CRM or email or social media apps, buyers don’t go to Cloud conferences to find such capabilities, and as a result, you don’t find that many SaaS providers at these shows. But even with IaaS, there isn’t a lot of action. The exhibitors that you do commonly find are providing capabilities for building Clouds (in particular, Private Clouds), rather than providing Cloud services themselves.
My prediction is that Cloud conferences will become obsolete in a year or two, as it will become apparent that they all struggle to attract the critical mass of buyers and sellers that makes such events valuable for all participants. In the meantime, come see me speak at Dataversity NoSQL Now! 2013 in San Jose, California, on August 21, Cloud World Forum Latin America in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on August 28, and SNW Europe Powering the Cloud in Frankfurt, Germany, on October 29!