While in-store come-ons don’t actually happen in the IT realm, an analog sort of does.  If you’re a small or midsize business poised to move to the cloud and you’re working with a clean slate, your choices are fairly clear from the get-go, even if the answers are neither obvious nor universally applicable.  You could dial up an MSP who’s moonlighting or track down an IT consultant linked to Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services.  You could go directly into the big provider maw or keep it artisanal.

Given the cloud’s popularity, identifying your path has become harder, not easier, with the passage of time.  It’s a tale told by a lot of consultants that’s full of static and noise and frequently not signifying anything definitive. Given the temptation is to do what’s convenient, not what’s smart, perhaps it’s understandable that the voice you listen to might be the one booming over the P.A. In other words, volume trumps nuance.

That’s an important realization because confusion and uncertainty tend to favor “safe” choices, and, increasingly, today’s default choice is likely to be a big gun, a commodity provider.  By way of analogy, consider Dell Computer.  When Dell broke through in the PC business in the late ’80s, the company popularized the term “mass customization,” which only seemed like an oxymoron.  With apologies to Burger King, Dell shoppers pretty much could have it their way.  And whatever the veracity of the pitch, it worked.  A market leader was born.