UPDATED 07:20 EDT / MAY 07 2013

Don’t Believe Everything the CEO Tells You On Stage, Says Ben Kepes #emcworld

Ben Kepes, Director/Principal Diversity LimitedI was extremely interested to catch the interview of Ben Kepes (Director/Principle) Diversity Limited on day one of EMC World 2013. Hosts Stu Miniman and John Furrier had a very insightful conversation asking Kepes opinion on everything from cloud migration to the changing landscape of legacy/traditional vendors. Ben is an active member of the Clouderati, a global group of Cloud thought leaders, so his opinions on the state of the cloud are ones that should be listened to very closely. Diversity is a broad spectrum consultancy specialising in SaaS, Cloud Computing and business strategy.

Can legacy/traditional vendors change they way they act in the fundamentally different world that we as technologists, consumers and service providers now live in? That is the billion dollar question in Kepes’s eyes, as the world moves to a software-led everything. New applications are being built in a mobile and agile cloud kind-of-way, and it all looks very heterogenous. From his own blog: “It seems to me that the public cloud vendors are running as fast as they can to encourage third parties to launch and host free versions on their partner platforms; Organizations genuinely enjoy the benefits of having massively flexible third party integrations.” But in the wake of this cloud migration sprint, we’re starting to see some pushback. A mismatch of size and scale of the marketplace provider and the third party vendor is proving out that when the economics finally come into play, not all systems are go.

Not so Fast, Traditional Vendor Haters

Furrier asked Kepes to comment on Dell, and its acquisition of Enstratius today. Dell is obviously chasing a software-defined future for the company. Dell’s world is changing, moving out of hardware and towards software more and more every day. A very interesting angle on traditional vendors is when Kepes explained how he was empathetic to those traditional and legacy vendors. He alluded to how there is a heck of a lot of money being spent in the traditional world, and how the bleeding-edge of tech (which largely controls the narrative on the web) needs to take a step back and realize something: just because they aren’t moving as fast as we overreact to them needing to, doesn’t mean they aren’t moving. Sometimes us tech bloggers can get too drunk on our own Kool-Aid to realize that the world of billions of dollars doesn’t deal in the absolutes that our very limited opinions do.

Everyone Is Doing Everything In Big Data…Which Means Few Are Doing Anything

Big Data is in fact going to be Big, but that it’s a way overused term accordingly to Kepes. Fundamentally there is a deluge of information that we simply cannot understand right now. In terms of Big Data, we need to figure out how to digest and make the gobs of data useable. “Everyone is doing everything,” said Kepes. He sees a world that in the very near future is going to see rationalization and consolidation of Big Data terms, companies and service offerings.

“It doesn’t help that we have CEO’s standing up on stage and saying we’re going to help you analyze social signals, big data, …it’s BS”

I couldn’t agree more. Big Data is much bigger than those throwing around the term truly understand, and in my own personal opinion use a lot of shock, awe, and scare tactics to dupe companies into believing they can harness the amount of real-time purchasing, social, and connected-consumer data that the client currently sees. They can’t. I can’t. No one truly can yet. But big companies are taking a crack at it. Kepes is excited with what GE is trying to do in the ‘Internet of Things’ (Industrial Internet) and mentioned GE’s recent $105 million into Pivotal (EMC & VMware’s lovechild).

Speaking of EMC, Kepes had a very astute and interesting response to Furrier when he asked him what the core message of EMC World 2013 was, in his estimation. He believes that EMC is trying to slow innovation. EMC is attempting to create a message that customers move at a steady pace, as to not get ahead of what EMC can keep up with. Fascinating thoughts, and as I took a step back to digest I thought to myself, “I think that is eerily valid.” The rate of evolution in the software space right now has to be outpacing service providers, platforms, and the minds that build them.

It was refreshing to have Furrier and Miniman really dig for opinions from a respected mind in the cloud computing world. If intelligent conversation and shared opinions invoke as much mind-racing for you as it does me…well…you’re welcome.

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