As new technology or an incremental enhancement of technology is released, industry awareness cycles through the following stages:
- The technology is announced. The announcement may occur months before the actual availability of the product or service.
- The vendors work themselves up into a feeding frenzy and try to tie everything even remotely related to the topic to ride on the increasing industry interest. Vendors know that if they can use the new catch phrase or buzz word in their marketing materials, they are certain to enjoy extensive coverage in the media. This is when vendors promise the sun and the stars.
- After a short time, industry decision makers figure out that the product or service in question offers only an incremental improvement and determine that it won’t solve every problem everywhere for everyone. This is when organizations learn that the suppliers are only delivering the moon rather than the sun and stars as promised.
- IT decision makers determine where this product or service does or doesn’t fit in their IT infrastructure.
- Productive use of the technology begins.
It’s in vendors best interest to keep this hype cycle hovering on step 2 in the process as long as possible End user organizations, on the other hand, want to move quickly and surely into steps 4 and 5.
This, by the way, isn't new. Here are some other things that went through the same cycle in their time.
- UNIX and "open systems"
- Microsoft's Windows and commodity computing
- Transaction processing monitors
- Relational database software
- Client/Server computing
- Laptop computers
- Palm and PDAs
- Web-based applications and the Web itself
- Utility computing
Cloud computing is entering phase 3 at the moment.
Some suppliers, such as Apple and Microsoft, have demonstrated some mastery of the hype cycle. They've been able to use this model again and again as they've introduced new products.