Reframing The Cloud Computing Argument: Managing Inaccurate Perceptions

Reframing The Cloud Computing Argument: Managing Inaccurate Perceptions

Human rationality is quickly becoming a castaway in the study of economics and psychology. That humans make decisions irrationally is an irrefutable precept as evidenced by empirical research. What these studies have uncovered is than when it comes to dealing with the emotions that naturally arise in the decision making process, avoiding risk trumps rational decision-making. The key issue is how the issue is framed to begin with.

One of the problems with cloud computing is overcoming its name. For most people, “the cloud” does not relate to some diagraming by computer scientists to illustrate how cloud computing operates. That frame of reference is only relevant to a narrow portion of tech savvy professionals. When most people here the word, “cloud” they unconsciously begin framing a set of references like: dreamy, foggy, haziness, overcast, and overshadow. Without being aware of it, putting one’s valuable data in the cloud becomes a lot more like driving one’s children around in an exploding Pinto from the 1970s than purchasing the latest technology.

Reframing the Risk Aversion Perception

Since cloud computing is a lot less risky than its associations listed above it’s necessary to reframe the issue along more rational lines. This challenge entails a shifting from a risk aversion position to a risk taking perspective.

In Tversky and Kahneman’s, “The Framing of Decisions and the Psychology of Choice” this issue is addressed by highlighting experiments that presented participants with cases involving life or death decisions about populations. What they found was that people will chose to pursue the option they perceive is the least risky regardless of the actual facts involved. By manipulating mathematical language in two scenarios people chose risk aversive strategies rather than taking a risk to save more people based on the way the question was framed. In fact the situations were exactly the same. Those waiting to get comfortable with the idea of the cloud will be waiting a long time without the issue being reframed to a more realistic assessment.

This reality something the automobile salesman understands instinctively. After a test drive and the perception that someone is interested in the car but not ready to make a decision, they will push the customer to take the car home for the night. Known, as the, “Puppy Dog Close” the hope is that the owner will fall in love with the idea of buying the car rather than sit in the dealership and talk himself out of it by thinking about everything that can go wrong.

In the same way cloud computing professionals can reframe cloud computing from some risky data dreamscape to a more realistic position where the cloud makes financial sense and security is less an issue than those butterflies fluttering in the pit of their stomach first indicated.

By Don Cleveland

About don

Although relatively new to technology writing Don Cleveland has been writing and working in the fields of business and psychology over the last 25 years. After earning his B.A. in psychology at the University of South Florida he has returned to finish an M.A. in counseling. His passions are shining psychology’s empirical light on the world of computing and work through research and writing.