Send in the Clouds
Here's why companies are
getting soaked by their cloud solutions
by David Bernard, Managing Director of
DB Marketing Technologies
song “Send in the Clowns” from Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little
Night Music” has nothing to do with clowns or circuses. The
line “Send in the clowns” is a reference to the theatrical
practice of distracting an audience with comedians telling
jokes when a performance is not going particularly well.
For some companies Big Data, CRM and Multi-Channel
Marketing initiatives are not going particularly well. The
challenges range from poor solution integration to high cost
to a lack of analytic maturity in the organization. So they
“Send in the clowns”---well, actually they send in the
“Clouds”—to magically address these challenges.
The Clouds promise an enticing combination of “Faster,
Cheaper, Better.” Companies are all too willing to believe
that the Clouds are the answer to all of their problems.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of heartache hidden in the
clouds. A company’s hopeful efforts to streamline and
optimize delivery of CRM or Multi-Channel Marketing with a
cloud solution routinely turns into a money pit of
inefficient and costly solutions that lack maturity or full
The problem is that cloud solutions are sold as turnkey
products to be easily run and managed by clients. They’re
not. Once companies stop high-fiving themselves for their
miraculous find, they discover that the low cost of the
cloud product is derived from the lack of support for the
technology – there is no one floating on the cloud to
integrate and manage the solution. Companies underestimate
the required application of specialized integrated skill
sets and domain expertise needed to make these solutions
perform. All of a sudden they need to add a support layer,
which can be very costly and more than offset the savings
they calculated. At the end of the day, if not planned and
managed properly, cloud solutions are more costly and less
capable than what they are replacing.
So, when considering a cloud solution for your
CRM/Multi-Channel Marketing capabilities, keep the following
- Do not be fooled into thinking Clouds are
Turnkey. The “Clouds” want you to believe
they do not need to be vetted under the hood as they are
a turnkey solution, more like a software purchase
decision that only requires you to focus on features and
functions. Nothing can be farther from the truth. In
their architecture and delivery, cloud solutions are no
different than the in-house or managed solutions they
are replacing. Integration, processing and resourcing
issues at the cloud solution provider have the same
impact on ongoing reliability, pricing and scalability.
The only difference is that cloud solutions tend to be
less mature, requiring more scrutiny in the design,
integration and software.
- Do not under-estimate the need for skilled
resources. The “Clouds” block out
critical thinking regarding the skills and labor
required to get the job done right. Clouds may seem like
magical places where optimized software eliminates the
need for skilled resources, but they aren’t. The worst
thing that can happen is that you are caught by
surprise.This is where any hope of a good ROI on the
investment can go out the window. There is nothing like
huge and inefficient labor costs to drive your
initiative over the cliff.
- Do not under-estimate the need for
management and oversight. The Clouds want
you to believe they are “set it and forget it” and you
will be free from the need to actively review
performance and execution. As mentioned previously,
under the hood, these solutions are no different than
any other, except there may be less support from the
provider for ongoing operation. This requires more
oversight and scrutiny rather than less. Automated audit
reporting and scheduled performance reviews are a
So go ahead and Send in the Clouds. Just don’t
get lost in them - and watch your wallet.
For more information
about how DBMT® can help your company with
Cloud Solution Selection, Implementation or Management , please email us at
or call us at 212-717-6000.
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