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In my youth, I played a fair amount of chess to a reasonable club standard and there was often discussion about gaining a tempo. Gaining tempo was the sign of a good and clever player; one who could achieve desired position fewer moves than normally expected or at least forcing the opponent into making moves and hence wasting them. There was always a certain amount of debate about what tempo was worth and whether a sacrifice was worth making in order to gain tempo; the answer was ‘it depends’. A very good player can often make tempo pay off where as a less good player would probably be better sticking to a more conventional position.

I am beginning to look at Cloud as a way of businesses gaining tempo; public clouds can allow new start-ups gain tempo early on in their development, this speed of deployment can allow position to be developed which in a conventional infrastructure deployment would take much longer. It allows experimentation and flexibility which is not a usually available but there is a risk that you can manoeuvre yourself into a position that is hard to get out of longer term. You still need to develop a strategy and just like chess, you need to look at the moves ahead.

More established companies can use the public cloud in a similar way to start-ups but also with an established infrastructure and organisational structures; private Cloud may be a way to build flexibility and agility into the organisation but often at the sacrifice of some budget.

Either way, once you have built your Cloud infrastructure; you will almost certainly gain tempo both over your competitors but also your own internal customers.

But tempo is pointless without some kind of idea where it takes you.  I think that is probably the biggest risk of all; if Cloud changes nothing then you might have been better sticking to a conventional strategy.

If we are talking chess, think Karpov and Kasparov.

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