In 754, Boniface found out the hard way that too much evangelizing will kill you. Would the poor man have lived in our time, no doubt he now would be an IT guru. Think about it: the IT industry is relatively young and immature. New, augmented, much improved solutions pop up over and over again. Initially, their potential only seems to be grasped by a few – self-proclaimed – enlightened ones that feel the irrepressible urge to inform, than convince the rest of the world. Which would be just fine, if only they knew when to stop preaching and start acting. It happened with open source, 3G mobile, SOA and – still raging on right now – Web 2.0. I am quite sure you can fill in the blanks yourself, easily naming more promising IT themes that quickly became a buzz and ended up evangelized to death or at least boring the hell out of everybody involved.
Cloud is such a promising theme as well. And it’s entirely up to us if we want to meander yet another few years around it – discussing definitions, benefits, obstacles and possible roadmaps – or start doing something useful right now.

Somehow, time is much shorter nowadays. It helps to become pragmatic. I conclude that already today, cloud-based solutions have set a new benchmark, a new ‘normal’, in terms of how easy it should be to buy, create, deploy and manage an IT solution. The business side already gets the point and they may need much less convincing than the IT side thinks.
Yes, it’s 2011. Time to act.
And believe it or not, there are books on their way that can help considerably. I just reviewed one, written by an illustrious team of professionals within the Capgemini group together with our partner IBM. For sure, it contains all the definitions, insights and perspectives that get a firm grip on the cloud phenomenon. It’s all the bible you need, if you like. But more importantly, it is down-to-earth, pragmatic and action-oriented. This is illustrated by many cases from real life, telling us about inspiring people and their businesses, already exploring, testing, learning and benefiting from the cloud.
The same approach is taken by the cloud work group of The Open Group. They are currently synthesizing the excellent results that have been produced last year into the upcoming ‘Cloud Computing Guide for the Business Executive’. Yes there are definitions again (fortunately the work group chose to embrace the definitions of the US National Institute of Standards and Technology, which seems to evolve into a generally accepted standard; saves a lot of time) and there are quite some musings about cost models, risks, roadmaps and disruptive business models. But central in the guide is a collection of 24 Cloud Use Cases: very business-oriented, most of them sector-specific, distilled from real-life scenarios and experiences, ready to be used right now.
Two titles to look forward to. I will keep you informed. In the meantime, here is the motto for 2011: stop evangelizing, start acting.