When talking about Cloud as a business methodology and basic philosophy, it can drive specific outcomes for a company. It can be elastic, it can be self-served, it can be metered, and it can draw from a pool of resources, meaning it can have multiple purposes and be available everywhere. All of this might be difficult to achieve when using traditional IT.
A business should not tap into Cloud for the sake of doing it because it’s the cool word on the street, or because it’s ubiquitous in all tech publications. A business that uses Cloud does it for a purpose, and that is to link it to key performance outcomes.
Some of the most compelling business performance outcomes that Cloud can enable include:
Getting rid of capital and lowering barriers to industry growth – Cloud allows you to buy what you need, as you need it. If you require an X amount of new computers for your business, or you need X amount of IT capacity, you can plan to procure that much capacity at a specific point when it’s actually really needed. With traditional IT, you would have to model your needs over three years, and then when building out for it, you would have to do the provisioning all up front. Cloud gets rid of this by being a utility service, so instead of developing a new building and paying millions of dollars for an electrical generator to power your building, you build a new building and tap into the electrical utility and pay per kilowatt hour to run efficiently. You are basically, matching your spend to your usage. Moving from CapEx to OpEx is what makes Cloud attractive for businesses. Who wouldn’t want to free up money and capital for new business ventures?
Accelerating innovation and new product development – You work for a technology company and you were given a green light to develop a new product. The traditional path of product development means that you have to pitch your idea and back it up with research. Then you need to get approval on the project, get some capital, do a PO, have it developed in a lab, and of course, you need someone to sell it to. In Cloud’s utility model, it means if you have existing capacity on your Cloud that is not being used, you can set up your great product idea virtually on the Cloud, and if it does not work, no big deal, just delete it and it goes back into the Cloud and can be used for other production. If your product works, you just saved yourself 12-16 weeks of buying, setting up, testing and validating. You’ve accelerated your innovation and reduced the cost of doing it.
Freeing up IT staff to do great things and getting rid of talent blocks – With Cloud you can outsource labour intensive IT tasks and free up your existing staff to do more higher value projects. Setting up an infrastructure is a lot for a team to handle, and it’s even harder to find the required talent. Sure your IT team can build a Cloud, set up an infrastructure, set up networks and if you do a great job, you’ll be recognized for it, but if one little things goes wrong, you’re in big trouble. Not to mention most Cloud experts don’t want to work for a company, they want to leave a legacy behind and work for someone like Amazon. Outsourcing cloud allows you to get rid of IT plumbing – getting rid of tasks that IT does not want to do. From a business perspective, Cloud makes it easier for IT to move to the next generation. It makes it easier for IT to get around those Cloud skills gaps.
Working collaboratively as a team – Cloud means that your employees can connect from anywhere, while using any device. It’s easier to do social and collaborative functionality both internally and externally for a company. Software development can happen on a Cloud platform, and you can hand it off to other colleagues to also work on. You can develop products as a team from any location and you can track the work – this is harder to do with traditional infrastructure.
Accessing telemetry and data mining – Moving to Cloud means moving to a new generation of technology that comes with telemetry. With Cloud you can optimize performance much better than you could with your legacy infrastructure. It also opens the door for doing higher business intelligence. Data mining is easier to do in Cloud, and having access to this data allows you to make sound research based decisions.