IBM didn’t have to flaunt its debatable cloud dominance over Amazon Web Services on the sides of public buses if it wanted to upstage the cloud kingpin at its user conference this week — Big Blue could have just led with the news that its famous, Jeopardy!-champ-destroying Watson system is now available as a cloud service.
That’s right: Developers who want to incorporate Watson’s ability to understand natural language and provide answers need only have their applications make a REST API call to IBM’s new Watson Developers Cloud. “It doesn’t require that you understand anything about machine learning other than the need to provide training data,” Rob High, IBM’s CTO for Watson, said in a recent interview about the new platform.
More on the the details later, but first the big picture. If IBM actually delivers a workable cloud platform around Watson and developers actually take advantage of it to build new, smart applications, it will be a big fricking deal.
No doubt cloud computing is changing the face of the IT channel, and resellers and VARs need to act quickly to ensure they are not left in a cloud of dust. Just consider some of the nuggets in this great infographic via The Cloud Infographic.
- The largest channel pub CRN says the cloud is ripe to explode – especially among SMBs – the IT Channel’s primary audience.
- At least half of the respondents cited show improvements in security, data access, ROI, customer satisfaction, productivity – sounds like all of the buzzwords we have been using for traditional IT over the past 3 decades….could it be even that much better?
But, there are some naysayers, and the largest impediment to cloud adoption (aside from, ironically, security – which appeared as both a benefit, and an obstacle) seems to be awareness and education. Channel resellers and VARs have a great opportunity in front of them to be the trusted advisors SMBs need in navigating the cloud. With all of the talk in the IT circles around cloud, still, 71% never heard of it, nor knew anything about it. This says that the numbers relative to the benefits of the cloud are derived from 29% of those polled. Here is a talking point to kick off your cloud customer discussions, and education.
“Did you know that of the ~30% of SMBs that are aware of the cloud and have implemented cloud computing in some way are experiencing lower costs, higher customer satisfaction, greater agility? That means that your competition, that has adopted the cloud, may be ahead of you in terms of growth. It’s time to take a closer look at the cloud, and what it has to offer your business.”