Since the start of this year, I have been suffering from something I have termed “Cricflu.” For fans and followers of the sport of Cricket, this won’t be much of a surprise, since it was the year of the World Cup. India’s victory of the World Cup after 23 years, has only exacerbated my ‘Cricflu.” So I decided to go back to those childhood days of playing the sport myself and joined a local team. Now, this meant I had to get all the gear. I started with finding the right hat, so I ventured to the mall. I went to a few sporting goods stores and clothing stores but I couldn’t find one that fit – they were all “One Size Fits All” and they were all too BIG. So that got me thinking that first, I must have a small head, and second, I can’t be the only one who has this problem. My conclusion: there are some things for which the One Size Fits All model simply does not work.

In the same way, Google would have us believe that One Size Fits All is a good thing when it comes to cloud-based business productivity solutions. That it should be all or nothing – your organization’s entire infrastructure in the cloud or not at all. Since when do we try to squeeze every organization – despite its unique needs – into a One Size Fits All scenario?  It doesn’t make any sense.

Choice and flexibility are important whether we’re talking about hats or cloud-based productivity solutions. Why? Because different organizations have different needs.  Some organizations may want to store all of their workloads in the cloud, while others may want to take a hybrid approach in which some workloads are stored in the cloud, and others are kept on premises. 

Take Starbucks, for example. For years, the company had been running Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SharePoint Server on premises for employees who work in the company’s headquarters. Yet during the past year, the organization decided to provide e-mail access to its baristas working in the cafes. To accomplish this goal, Starbucks connected its baristas to e-mail in the cloud using Microsoft Exchange Online, while keeping its e-mail for employees at headquarters on premise. This hybrid approach made it possible for Starbucks to accomplish its goal both quickly and painlessly. From the perspective of Starbucks employees, the experience is seamless. There’s one global address list for both baristas and headquarters employees.  Take a look at the full video with Microsoft Senior Executive Chris Caposella where he talks about  "Cloud on your terms" that includes the Starbucks example.

Starbucks isn’t alone. We’re seeing many companies that want to mix and match, moving some workloads to the cloud, while leaving others on premises.  The bottom line is that one size does NOT fit all. Customers need solutions that truly fit. That’s why our strategy has been to deliver the cloud on each company’s unique terms.  We would love to know what you think?  Are you feeling the pressure to to just take what you get or do you want flexibility in how the cloud can work for your organization?