The cloud has a lot to offer. It can totally transform the business, however, it requires an integration with existing IT for it to reach maximum impact.
Over the past few years cloud computing has reached fever pitch with many providers trying to outdo each other.
The development of cloud computing has been publicized as everything from revolution to the biggest disruption since the move from mainframe to client-server computing. Executive chairman of Google – Eric Schmidt called the adoption of cloud inevitable. The incessant hype and unending buzzwords surrounding the cloud are in danger of obscuring the full extent of the business transformation on offer.
The cloud is not a goal in itself. End-user does not care about what model of server is hosting their business’ IT, cloud is simply the means towards a business outcome – it should be viewed as just one mechanism of a larger machine.
For the cloud to have maximum impact, a business cannot be held on isolation but must be integrated with existing IT. Many organizations rush towards the cloud, mistakenly believing that it is a panacea for all their infrastructure woes. This trend is being driven further by the easy access business have to the plug & play model of IT services. However, this seems to be limiting the scope of the cloud. Business are looking only at immediate, short-term benefits of the cloud. They use the services to provide a new environment for old and outdated processes, settling for marginal improvements in costs and efficiency instead of using cloud to truly transform the business.
A general rule of IT is that once size does not fit all. IT decisions are influenced by a number of different factors, like data sensitivity, the level of availability required or the need to scale computing power up and down. When it comes to business, the same rule applies. Not every application has the same infrastructure requirements. Businesses are complex entities; therefore, their infrastructure requirements are complex as well. The range of platforms are needed and most efficient IT environments will be able to combine cloud services - whether they are public, private or multi-tenant hosted solutions.
Companies often over-estimate the power of cloud and try to push their entire IT into a single platform rather than using cloud as part of the larger IT strategy. Also, many businesses under-estimate the potential of the cloud. Moving your IT environment into the cloud may offer some savings of time and resources.
Companies need to treat cloud computing as a tool rather than a technical achievement. Cloud can be a tool that delivers a specific, individual business outcome. There is no doubt that a cloud can be important to businesses, but it requires a sensible and pragmatic approach to achieve all the benefits cloud computer has to offer.
The article by Keith Tilley posted on The Guardian, 29th of October 2013