Everyone gets the cloud, but do they trust it?

Virtual Clouds gets tons of emails bursting with cloud statistics. Davey Winder ponders if these stats are worth the emails they are written on.

The often quoted line there are "lies, damned lies and statistics" is a good example of how asking the wrong questions can provide you with misleading answers.

The question I have in mind is did Mark Twain say there are lies, damned lies and statistics? A technically correct answer to that specific question is yes he did. Yet, if that answer is then used in a wider context to add weight to an argument that the quote can be attributed to Twain, you step into the kind of territory the cloud finds itself in right now.

Confused yet? Let me explain...

Twain, in fact, attributed the saying to none other than Benjamin Disraeli. Yet historians assure me this is as unlikely as an MP saying no to a free lunch; in other words it's total BS. There is no actual evidence that Disraeli said this at all, ever. It cannot be found in any of his published written words and wasn't even first spotted until some years after the former Prime Minister died.

The first time the phrase was used, as far as anyone has discovered so far, was in a letter to the National Observer in 1891. And even then, it wasn't that exact phrase but a more convoluted version commenting on three kinds of falsehoods, the "most aggravated" of which was statistics.

Why am I mentioning all this? Simply because if I had posed the question do you know to whom the phrase is properly attributed, I would have got a completely different set of statistics as a result and would not have been able to compile any kind of hypothetical report claiming that Mark Twain was your man.

And so it is with cloud statistics. There is no shortage of survey material or statistical 'evidence' to be quoted in the reports that flow from them. That doesn't make these reports the gospel truth, indeed it doesn't even make them vaguely useful in a real world context unless, and here's where I finally get to the point around which my argument pivots, unless the correct questions have been asked in the first place.

So, when a recent study by KPMG called 'Clarity in the cloud' informed me more than 80 per cent of global business were either implementing, experimenting with or planning some kind of cloud technology, and that coming on for a third of these companies saw a fundamental change to their business model as a result, I am naturally interested but ultimately left non-plussed.

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