Beyond the Hype: Unmasking the True Value of Cloud Computing
Are you tired of all the hype surrounding Cloud computing? If so, read on. We’ll unveil the true value of Cloud and how you can effectively integrate it into your business to increase profits and efficiency.
Cloud computing is all the rage, with the hype machine in full effect. With that hype comes the haters (or detractors). Today’s social media channels are inundated with posts such as the meme “Cloud is just a computer somewhere else.” While technically accurate, this is a gross oversimplification that does not accurately reflect the value that Cloud models bring to the table. Cloud offers a number of business-enabling benefits. And, it’s no longer just an IT delivery option, but rather a strategic business imperative.
Shapes and Sizes of Cloud Computing
If you are not a tech guru, you need to know that Cloud is a broad term that covers a range of computing, infrastructure and operational models. For example, there are three Cloud service models: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
There are also several different deployment models, including:
- Private Cloud: owned or leased by a single organization and operated solely for that organization
- Community Cloud: shared by several organizations and supports specific community that has shared concerns
- Public Cloud: owned by an organization selling Cloud services to the general public or a large industry group
- Hybrid Cloud: a combination of two or more unique Cloud services that are bound by standardized or proprietary technology enabling data and application portability
Revolutionary or Evolutionary Technology?
Many businesses sign up for the Cloud because it’s touted as revolutionary. However, in reality, this model is simply the evolution of previous models, further enabling the commoditization of technology that has been happening for two decades. There is considerable debate over who invented the Cloud computing model or coined the actual phrase, but it is clear that these models were emerging long before the term “Cloud computing” was common in the IT lexicon. For example, Salesforce started in 1999, and is considered a leader in the SaaS space; they started some six or seven years before Cloud became a buzzword in the IT world.
Cloud Game Changers: Cost and Speed of Delivery
CIOs are being challenged to better invest IT spend, with a common benchmark to swing the pendulum away from 60-80% of budget spent on IT maintenance, to 60-80% spent on IT innovation. Business lines are demanding more functionality and capability that simply cannot be supported under traditional IT models.
The key benefits of the Cloud are lower cost and speed of delivery. Here are some examples:
- Enterprise capabilities for smaller organization: Cloud models allow small and midsize businesses access to enterprise capabilities they could not afford 15 years ago when the large capital requirements to stand up a data center and enterprise solution were not viable.
- Avoid depreciation and maintenance: With Cloud options, you don’t have to worry about depreciation, ongoing upgrades, power and cooling, and the operational staff and resources to support your solution.
- Flexible pricing models: “Pay as you go” Cloud pricing allows organizations to scale up or down as the business climate changes, and can be accomplished in a matter of minutes instead of days or weeks.
- Flexible self-management: Developers and solution groups can self-manage capacity under Cloud service models, which represents a significant shift in traditional operation models.
Despite the many benefits of the Cloud, it is not a panacea for all things IT. There are still potential issues that must be considered, including:
- Third-party vendor management
- Service-level agreements
- Security concerns
- Network bandwidth and speed
Cloud solutions only work if you can reach them across the internet, so the quality and capability of reliable internet providers is critical to the success of any Cloud strategy. If users are complaining about slow internet, the Cloud is probably not the answer for your organization.
Crafting Your Cloud Strategy the Right Way
Most businesses find the move to Cloud Computing daunting, and many don’t know where to start. It’s not feasible nor strategic for most businesses to run all their business applications in the Cloud. Some on premise services may be critical for your business. However, companies should embrace Cloud models where and when appropriate to speed delivery time, reduce capital spend and better allocate internal resources. With some smart planning the move to the cloud does not have to be scary or cumbersome. Working with a trusted partner is therefore critical. Here are some important considerations as you evaluate options, so you can get the most out of your investment.
5 Critical Considerations for Moving Your Business to the Cloud
- Get organizational buy in from both executive management and the IT organization. Cloud transformation represents a change to operational models which can lead to disruptive resistance.
- Understand your objectives and challenges. You should clearly define what you are trying to solve with a Cloud service or solution. The various Cloud solutions have different benefits and costs. You need to pick the right one for your organization.
- Assess the impact to the business. Confirm if the proposed Cloud solution will allow for improvements to the overall business process, not just to IT.
- Create a migration strategy and roadmap. This is no different than traditional IT governance and planning. Adopting Cloud technologies is not a single event and will be part of a broader portfolio that will continue to contain traditional IT assets.
- Hire a trusted advisor. Get help with your Cloud migration strategy. By investing on the front end, you can avoid the pitfalls of doing it yourself and keep dedicated internal resources—that may already be stretched thin—focused on internal initiatives.
Adoption of Cloud models are on the rise and organizations are embracing the benefits. While often met with a fair amount of resistance, leaders must consider and evaluate Cloud options in order to innovate and sustain growth.
No matter what stage of the Cloud journey you’re in, contact Bridgepoint Consulting to talk about how our experts can help you. Our team of IT professionals have the industry expertise to develop a successful strategy and roadmap, and reduce the complexities and risks, so you can effectively use Cloud to drive cost savings, revenue and growth.