The BizCloud Traveler

Recently I found myself in the position to explain “The Cloud”, the advantages & disadvantages, how to get there and how to identify technical, geographical and functional requirement – this very much for non-techies. Thought I could share my latest analogy:

Being a frequent business traveler I have identified quite a number of similarities between cloud services and hotel services:

  • A cloud service is similar to booking rooms in a hotel where number of rooms and consumed additional in-room services might be uncertain at the the time of requesting the services, but I do know I need access to the hotel
  • I might also be interested in door-2-door services, i.e. get from home to hotel, have a rental car available for spontaneous trips and at one point in time really want to get home again
  • I expect the hotel to cover some basic needs and have those covered by the basic charge
  • I definitely want the hotel to be flexible in regards to my potential upcoming request and am willing to pay a fee for additional services (while still hoping my loyalty program covers at least some of my additional requests); I also accept fees will go up when ordering services out of standard hours or non-standard services
  • I know I will pay for some services I won’t use (e.g. I never managed to use more than 2-3 tea bags per night – in a lot of hotels you get up to 10), but I also understand the service provider (i.e. the hotel) has done the maths for finding the right balance between satisfying the contractual obligations and teasing me into using additional services (“You like the tea? More available at the front desk”) vs losing a customer by including unnecessary items into basic charge

Some obvious statements

  • I want to feel secure in the place I stay – in room and also when walking in the neighbourhood
  • Different hotels offer different choices and levels of quality for certain services
  • Every traveler has different likes, requirements and financial capabilities
  • Services offered from hotel as well as services requested from any traveler might change even during stay
  • Let’s say I originally booked a “just good enough” room, find a precious valuable for my wife on the local market and intend to protect that => “Can I have a safe with adequate insurance coverage?”
  • Let’s face it – it might even be I just don’t like the hotel and want to move to a different one in a close location
  • Searching a room just for myself is way easier (and can be done by myself) than organising a meeting with a few people (that’s where assistance from secretary/PA and travel agency comes in); it’s getting even more complex if a large crowd needs to be gathered for let’s say a conference – that’s where professional conference services take over. (And I’m not yet even talking about the real complex topics like arranging visa for certain countries etc)

Travel scenarios

  • If I travel to a place I’ve been before I tend to look for either my favourite hotels or – of not available or plainly too expensive – check the area I like for something similar – and yes, i of course do this before I travel; I am also pretty adamant on having a confirmation from where I intend to stay before I depart – for some regions / countries on this planet it’s actually a requirement to have the confirmation to get the visa done.
  • In case I need a visa or work permit I will also engage the right professionals – i.e. the ones who give me a guarantee on success before I take next steps like contracting with the client
  • In case I travel to a place I had not been before but know my employer has an office not too far away I might decide to stay close to that office (because I know the hotels around or because we have a great discount) and accept having a slightly longer ride from travel target to hotel or back
  • In case I need to go somewhere I have no clue about I will ask some folks – that’ll include people I know having been there as well as the travel agency to get me a good price for the recommendations received from friends, colleagues and customers

Business Travel Conclusion

  • When on business travel there’s a clear objective for the business part – and I also tend to have one on the travel part reflecting / mapping with the business requirements.
  • I want to be secure, I want my belongings to be secure (insurance for in-room storage of electronic devices and passports, no surprise like another guest in the same room…)
  • I want the accommodation to be flexible to my needs (early arrival, late departure, unplanned check-out, taxi call on time, conference room for x people on request….)
  • Basic stuff like “split my bills into business and private items”
  • If I am a loyalty program participant I expect the hotel to have both my addresses (business and private) on file
  • I expect my travel agency to fully comply with my corporate rules on security, costs, locations..

Analogy Conclusion

  • When I move business data and applications to the cloud I expect full compliance with internal and external regulations
  • My provider needs to cover basic requirements like access management and security
  • I want to have a provider reflecting and responding to my changing requirements
  • I want my provider to be able to respond to scale up/down requests
  • I need to have a Service Level Agreement that explains in detail the expected charges for scaling standard services or requesting non-standard charges
  • A supplier offering the majority of services in a financially reasonable fashion at a consumption based rate will have an advantage over the competition in the same area

Rough thoughts at the late end of a day – might clean up in the next days.

Appreciate your comments as always

/Chris

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