From the smallest of nations to world super powers, the playing field is level at the beginning of a 90 minute futball game in South Africa this month.  And the world is getting smaller and smaller as these games are piped from this far off country in Africa into the homes of billions of viewers.  Even if most Americans don’t know that Football spelled with a “u” means you can never touch the ball unless you stand in front of the goal and let all eleven members of the opposing team kick it at you at 70 miles per hour, not to worry.  There are so many enthusiasts in the states that San Francisco opened up Giants stadium just so people could pile into to watch the U.S. play England on the jumbotron.

No doubt that this game called Soccer (invented by the Brits) has more influence on more people around the world than any other game. It is in fact the “equalizer” of sports. All you need is a ball and an open area… dirt, pavement or grass, it doesn’t matter to the real enthusiast and a few blokes who’ll have a go at it.  You don’t need to be from a huge country or even from “up town”.  There is even debate that the top level teams (like Brazil and Spain) are so because of the lack of organization for the game in their countries.  Kids play day and night, night and day regardless of whether or not there is even a coach within 50 miles/kilometers.  Experts say that these kids grow up to be such tremendous players because they have access to the sport and get millions of “touches” on the ball.

What does this have to do with Cloud Computing you ask?  Think about the services that all of the small businesses around the world have access to that they could never before touch.  No longer is there a chasm between what huge corporations can do vs. the “little guy”.  The world has been talking about this for a couple of decades now.  Purveyors of broadband access and Information Technology have coined the phrase “Digital Divide” to describe it.  The worry has been that access to broandband by the masses would not be realizable and the end result would be a social, political and infrastructure chasm between the “haves” and the “have nots”.  With recent news from far off places like India and the investment of firms like Reliance Industries, we see that access is on the rise even to the remotest places on earth.

Combine this access with services from the Cloud and you begin to develop a world class environment that any business, even the smallest can take advantage of. 

As evidenced by the chart above (based on research from Microsoft) the demand is enormous for IT as a Service using Cloud based approaches.  But the adoption is small because the services have not yet been developing holistically for this space.  Unlike the days of the Applications Service Provider and the slipping away of the era, businesses today, especially the SMB have a huge desire to get the same IT services that heretofore were only available to their huge corporate rivals.  But they’d like to pay for it with a monthly subscription… enter the Cloud Service Provider.

So one might say that Cloud Computing has leveled the playing field for all the SMBs around the world.  Unlike the World Cup, there is no referee to blow the whistle to start the competition.  But we know from our Citrix Service Providers that the game has already begun and thousands of small businesses are lining up to take their shots on goal.

….and you know, anything can happen.  After all, the U.S. had only ever had a significant challenge against a team from England since 1950… and now, players that Americans didn’t even know (the little guys) are quickly becoming household names.  Everyone has a chance in the World Cup and now there is a new equalizer in Information Technology as well.