Cloudiness - Business Wise and IT Wise

I thought I would start with "The Cloud".  In so many ways, the term recalls to me "I Can See Clearly Now" by Johnny Nash.  There is obscurity and then clarity. This is true today in both the business world and the IT world.  

Clarity is the name of the first Module of the Focal Point curriculum.  The goal of this module is to get the Owner or Executive to be clear about Who they are, What they are Doing, Why they are Doing and What they Want.  It is the basis under which we coach.  Most start-ups have that clarity when they begin.  Over time it gets lost or probably needs to get replaced.  That is what is beautiful about working in a start-up.  You know exactly what you have to do and everyone is pulling in the same direction. As a company ages, there is the challenge to either maintain the initial vision or to modify it.  Either can be the right path.  The problem is that you find people pulling down both paths.   Things can devolve from there or recover.  Again, this is based on the strength of the Leadership and the Team.

We have two local companies that I am familiar that are in that transition:  Enphase and Cyan Optics.  Both had their Initial Public Offerings within the last 18 months.  Both are substantial firms.  Both are still losing money.  They are very different firms with good people that I know in both.  They are in different spaces.  But they have some of the same challenges:

- What is the plan to get to GAAP profitability?

- Once that is achieved what is the plan to get to sustainable growth?

- How do I go forward from here- by staying the course or altering it?

These are questions that many companies face and that is the beauty of the way Focal Point operates.  It focuses the common questions first and makes sure there is clarity in place before trying to address the separate details.

This is being posted on the other kind of Cloud.  The problem here is one of clarity of meaning.  The Cloud started as a technical term being used to describe how applications would be developed and deployed.  Public perception has altered this view to a slightly different view.  Now any Internet connected service is part of "The Cloud", whether it is virtualized or not.  I think that is a great way of getting the public to understand in one sense, but I think it creates a problem in another sense.  Companies now declare all manner of things as part of "The Cloud".  From an investment and technology sense, the term is now devoid of meaning.  There is still value in the public use of the word, but no longer in the technical use.  

Some of the companies that I work with have "Cloud" offerings.  When they tell me that, I know I will need to spend 15 minutes to get a handle on what they mean by it. There are worse things in the world, but trying to reach Clarity on "The Cloud" can make your head spin.  That is partly because people tell me what they think I would like to hear about their business, when really I need the reality.  "The Cloud" just obscures my vision of the truth.

So, Clarity is a great thing.  Clear away the clouds.  Create your vision, Execute a plan and Achieve what you want.


Jim Sackman
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