As I help my daughter with her Ancient Greek, I am reminded that it is easy to construct plausible English words out of Greek stems. One of the broadest sets of such words is lists of “phobias”: fears which range from the well-known claustrophobia and xenophobia to the unlikely Koumpounophobia (fear of buttons). So I checked the Greek for “cloud” and came up with the word Nephophobia.

Nephophobia (n): Fear of clouds.Cloud2.jpg

Many companies are afraid of the cloud. I thought it might be useful to look at the clinical diagnoses and suggested treatments for phobias to see if they may provide treatment for companies afraid of moving to the cloud. They seem to fall into several groups.

Education

Medical phobias such as fear of flying can be overcome by learning about aeroplanes and how flight works. In order to reduce your fear of clouds, you can similarly educate yourself on cloud technologies and standards. Once you understand more about the way that cloud can reduce your costs and improve access to innovation you are well on the way to learning to love it.

Attending a self-help group

Self help groups allow phobia sufferers to meet similar people and is great to talking about challenges overcome and what works and what doesn’t work. For Cloud sufferers, meet with your business partners to learn how they are using cloud: specifically how they would like to use the cloud to connect with you. Your Customers and Suppliers are likely initiating projects to make doing business with them easier and cheaper. For example, find out if your Accounts Receivable teams are being asked to send invoices electronically over the cloud. if so, you can take this initiative to the next building to Accounts Payable, and start to reap the benefits of eInvoicing yourself.

Exposure Therapy

Phobias such as fear of snakes can be overcome by exposing yourself to non-posionous varieties under controlled conditions, and then you see that the phobia has no physilogical basis. For cloud sufferers, this means that getting started can be the best way of getting comfortable with the whole idea. What are the equivalent of the “safe snakes” for phobia sufferers? Taking your existing business flows of buying and selling (orders and invoices) and running them over a Network has the least disruption, but still has significant benefit. Once you have beaten the phobia, you can expand into Supply Chain, HR and others.

Avoidance

I don’t recommend this last treatment plan as a long term strategy. Cloud is coming, and if you refuse to overcome your fears by continuing to ignore it, you will find that you are cutting  yourself off from the latest innovations, and your inability to communicate electronically with your business partners will increasingly affect your bottom line.

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