TelePacific Blog: Telecommunications Insights

The Four Personas of Cloud Adopters

Sometimes you just can’t escape the 80/20 rule. This month, we find that it holds true again, with new research from Intuit and Emergence Research finding that 78% (let’s call it 80 so our rule applies) of small businesses will have “fully adapted” to cloud computing by 2020. While this may not be news to an agent on the street like yourself, the study identifies four types of adopters (the report calls them “personas”) with distinct needs. Whatever you call them, these four profiles will dominate your cloud sales activity in the future:

Plug-in Players

Plug-in players are prime targets for the “focus on your own business” value proposition. These are companies that use the cloud to outsource basic business functions (e.g., accounting, marketing, HR) while they focus on “mission-critical” operations.


Hives represent business opportunities served well by solutions like the Contact Center for TelePacific Hosted PBX solution we rolled out last month. These are small, virtual businesses or teams sewn together by cloud applications.


These are the giant slayers (or would-be giant slayers) that leverage technology to compete directly with larger corporations. With plugin-services and other smart platforms, these entrepreneurial types hold the potential to shake up some industries the way dot-coms overturned travel businesses in the 1990s. (Think: Uber or AirBnB.)


Portfolioists are simply freelancers. Through cloud technologies, they can attract and manage more work from more sources without having to scale up or establish hard facilities while they do so.

If you’re looking at this list and thinking that many customers have more than one of these angles at play, and they’re likely to evolve from one type to the other with business success, you’re not alone. We see it, too. But these “personas” offer a starting point for customer categorization and, more importantly, some talking points for sales activities.

Perhaps more importantly, this wide range of cloud-adoption personas will help to drive greater demand for devices that relying on cloud connectivity to function, which in turn drives greater cloud demand.   And we are starting to see forecasts based on this cycle.   For example, new Gartner data forecasts that Chromebook sales will triple by 2017, largely on greater cloud adoption.

All things cloud are fluid, but we’re reaching the stage where even broad-based adopters are being grouped by purchasing driver and business need, and devices dependent upon constant cloud access are taking a foothold in the marketplace. As an independent agent, these developments suggest very strong cloud adoption in your client base for the balance of this decade. Make sure you get your fair share…

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