It’s everywhere around you – is cloud computing a friend or foe?  Does the name make you nauseous? Career maker or career ender?  As a Cloud Client Executive (CCE) at CDW, I hear it all from customers about cloud, so humorous, in fact, it could green-light an HBO comedy series.

My role is to help organizations rationalize what the cloud means in its many infinite forms and most importantly how can it be used to first offload basic IT business functions like dev/test/QA, office productivity, voice, disaster recovery (DR), etc. – which while important does not add revenue to the bottom line.

Why not continue to keep the crown jewels (your production data) of your business on hardware that you manage… for now.  From meeting with multiple C-suite- through senior manager-level executives on a weekly basis,I’ve started to notice several Cloudy “personalities” amoung your peers:

The Resume Builder: This personality is all-in and simply put, views cloud computing as a career maker.  They will take a slice or an entire legacy on-premises environment and take it to the cloud.  They want to be seen as a trailblazer versus the old ways of being in the data center/infrastructure management business.  This person needs no handshake, as a thirty second hug will suffice upon meeting for the first time.

The Diversifier: This personality has taken an “everything but production” stance on cloud.  Meaning they’ll push everything that’s a nuance or capital expenditure (CAPEX) waster to the cloud, such as test/dev/QA, office productivity, voice and DR.  They still want hardware that they can see touch, feel and control for their most sensitive data and applications.

The Toe Dipper: This personality will use a single business function like back-up and proof of concept (POC) it for a year in the cloud. They’ll gather the ROI and return to management for more future cloud projects. The ROI will come from eliminating offsite storage and archiving charges, tape libraries and the freeing up of space on Tier-1 storage frames.

The Angry Guy: This personality believes the cloud is the devil incarnate.  I can always spot this person from a mile away, judging me for potentially taking away his or her favorite pastime of feeling the heat coming off a storage frame or server blade.  This person fails to realize that all the experience they’ve gained in infrastructure management over the years is actually transferable to the cloud and has nothing to do with them physically touching a piece of hardware.

After explaining these personalities to customers at meetings, I always have executives come up to me and say, “I really want to be the Resume Builder or I’m a cross between Diversifier and the Toe Dipper.”

They fail to realize that there are still plenty of acceptable use cases for keeping data managed in-house. But what I see on a daily basis that organizations are demanding both options – that being CAPEX- and operating expense or OPEX-based solutions.

My customers are diversifying how they manage and consume applications and infrastructure. We are having cloud conversations on whiteboards across the country. And its making an impact for businesses who are struggling to make sense of the cloud noise.  There is immediate value to be found and it’s certainly more of a marathon, than a sprint. So I ask – which personality are you above, when it comes to Cloud?