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Why is a cloud provider like a restaurant?


Author: Les Pall , Consulting Services, HP Helion


You may well wonder why a cloud provider is like a restaurant – but I expect it will become rapidly clear, that there’s a striking similarity that could inform you on how to set up your Cloud operation successfully and meet your business goals.


Let’s look at restaurants – from fine dining establishments through to mass-market fast-food outlets.


What are some of their defining characteristics? They all have:

  • An identified target market and a corresponding value proposition;
  • Defined their repeatable service offerings;
  • Invested in creating business processes and systems to help them deliver that value proposition to their customers;
  • Created a great ‘location’ for their interaction with customers and delivery of service to them;
  • A business model that is clearly articulated (i.e. how they operate and make money) including how they can expand and serve more customers profitably keeping their customers loyal.

Now let’s look at successful cloud service providers. They all have exactly the same things!

In my experience the thing that marks the unsuccessful restaurant is the belief that having the best kitchen equipment (or the cheapest, depending on their business model) – is the defining factor in their success.


What rubbish! Any experienced restaurant patron can tell you that it’s all about the customer experience – and how the customer perceives the value delivered by the restaurant.


The customer only has the ‘front-office’ experience – the location, parking valet, Maitre d’, bar, seating arrangement, ambience and of course, the menu and service. The restaurant might only be a drive-through fast-food outlet, but the same principles apply. The customer makes a choice of provider based on their required value proposition and expect that to be delivered.


They don’t care how the kitchen is run (other than it must be clean and safe) – they’re purchasing a meal, and maybe an experience to go with it.


Similarly it seems that many companies who are trying to transform themselves into Cloud service providers, be they Enterprise shared-service cost-centre-based IT or “go-to-market” (for profit) based; focus only on whether they have “the best of breed” technologies, without having a thought for how they are going to delight their customers in the delivery of the value proposition they promise.


These companies are making the same mistakes as the restaurant who thinks that the right kitchen equipment alone will make the difference, and ignore the other elements listed earlier.


They need to establish their target market and value proposition (“why choose us”), Service Portfolio (“menu”), service delivery and support systems and processes (“the restaurant experience”), locality of offering (“restaurant location”), and security (“kitchen hygiene and safety”). They would also have trained their entire staff on the right service culture to ensure that the customer experience is as promised (“friendly waiters”). And finally, they need to build out the capability that works in the background (“the kitchen”) to ensure efficient and effective delivery.


These challenges are the reason for the development of the “Transform to Cloud” workshop.


Today, our customers want cloud, but don’t have a clear view of their expected outcome, let alone the journey required to achieve that outcome.


Clearly, Cloud is more than technology – there’s a business view that drives it; one of the most neglected critical success factors, resulting in unrealized business value from the investments made.


That’s where HP comes in – helping customers transform to a cloud model in a way that makes sense to them and delivers business value by ensuring the right things are addressed at the right time, with the right executive sponsorship.


Our patented approach to transformation starts with a strategic workshop led by expert facilitators that involves key stakeholders to create a common understanding of their business drivers and objectives before collaborating to identify transformational goals and actions that inform a high-level strategy that can be used to gain executive sponsorship and valuable actions.


The workshop is delivered in a rich, interactive “slide-free” format and creates productive engagement using industry examples without a product or technology bias, thus enabling rapid progress from concept to implementation.

The Transform to Cloud workshop could be the best investment that you can make of two days of your valuable time; so that your organization can gain business value from Cloud.


Ask your HP representative about the HP “Transform to Cloud Workshop” – you’ll be glad you did!


Senior Manager, Cloud Online Marketing
About the Author


I manage the HPE Helion social media and website teams promoting the enterprise cloud solutions at HPE for hybrid, public, and private clouds. I was previously at Dell promoting their Cloud solutions and was the open source community manager for OpenStack and at Rackspace and Citrix Systems. While at Citrix Systems, I founded the Citrix Developer Network, developed global alliance and licensing programs, and even once added audio to the DOS ICA client with assembler. Follow me at @SpectorID

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