Today’s businesses are operating in status quo mode, with little or no reason to change. There is no obvious compelling driver of cloud computing, perhaps because it is not a new service in and of itself. It is simply a new way to consume technology as a service. This, however, is what changes everything.
Businesses are not yet fully aware or even awake to the idea that critical applications, infrastructure and network resources are consumable as a service. They must embrace the idea that consuming technology as required and in a substantially cheaper fashion just makes for better business practice. Perhaps business is not yet thinking of technology in strict cost, productivity and overall performance terms. They may still be focused on control. If that is the case then perhaps businesses will not realize the benefit of cloud until they understand that control issues have been well-mitigated with the use of portals that provide “remote control-type” access to technology that is more beneficially consumed as a utility. If they are not researching this space and they have not yet formed a cloud strategy, then they will not embrace cloud until they come to understand why their competitor’s key performance indicators are outstripping their own thanks to a decrease in overall technology spend without a corresponding negative impact to overall productivity and performance. In fact, with cloud the opposite may even be true – that cheaper cost can still result in increased overall productivity and performance. It’s time to think differently.
There are many compelling reasons to make the move – productivity, performance and cost. Taking a view to any one of these in isolation, however, is really naïve and not the best approach. It is imperative that businesses understand the critical interdependency that exists between all these as part of their shift to cloud computing. For example, the shift to cloud might seem to reduce infrastructure spend. In and of itself, this is not a bad thing, but the cloud will raise other issues that trump cost – namely control. The thing is, businesses do not understand that this many of the burgeoning cloud-based compute, replication, storage and other services are all being set up with an eye to ensuring that IT departments within their respective businesses remain in the driver’s seat.
Businesses should also come to understand that cloud will always be consumed as a utility – known in the industry as a managed service. Managed or utility-based services allow companies to allocate their precious operating expense budgets to staffing up in areas that support the core competencies of their business. This argument is not new, but perhaps it is being overlooked that all cloud services will in some fashion be managed services and with this comes a potentially significant productivity benefit.
Finally, there is the issue of performance. Are you getting what you are paying for? If business consumes technology in a “do-it-yourself” mode this becomes incredibly expensive. They will place a high degree of trust and correspondingly pressure in and on their IT teams. There is an alternative with the advent of cloud – they can consume technology as a service and expect through negotiated Service Level Agreements that a third party will perform at a high level to a contractually-enforced expectation and in the best interests of their business.
Taking any one of the productivity, performance or cost catalysts in isolation will not create a compelling business case and that would be a journey down the wrong path towards shifting to become a consumer of Cloud services. Taken together and understanding the interdependency the best business case will consider how Cloud positively impacts the overall cost, productivity and performance of the business.
Technology is still associated with risk and that needs to change. Until businesses realize the cost, productivity and performance benefits associated with the ongoing shift in technology and how it can and arguably must be consumed, they will lag behind consumer expectations. The consumer is showing no signs of tolerating this and this will drive change. The good news for business is that the tools to support this change are in place today – they are hardening fast. They are available in more affordable, more easily consumable utility-based service models than ever before. Technology is often accused of being in search of a problem. However, those who fail to understand how to apply beneficial technologies like cloud are at risk of even bigger problems.
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