Every day more and more organisations are turning to the Cloud for their computing needs. IDC predicts that by 2018, at least half of IT spending will be Cloud-based, reaching 60% of all IT infrastructure, and 60–70% of all Software, Services, and Technology Spending by 2020. IDC also predicts that by 2018, Cloud will be the preferred delivery mechanism for analytics.
According to Microsoft, Azure is its fastest growing product platform ever, growing 93% in the quarter ended March 2017 alone. Azure now receives nearly 120,000 new subscriptions per month, with 9 out of 10 Fortune 500 companies now using Microsoft Cloud.
It is important not to lose sight that the business problems technology solutions are used to solve remain the same regardless of the delivery mechanism used to deploy them. So why is Cloud such a transformational force in the world of business and why must it not be ignored?
In short, Cloud deployments enable organisations to think differently about the way technology solutions are designed, implemented and deployed. Additional flexibility and efficiency offered by Cloud enable organisations to achieve things not feasible with on-premises deployments and most importantly, to focus resources where they matter most.
Below are six opportunities presented by Cloud that enable organisations to think differently about the way they approach technology solutions:
- Focus on Core Business: The core value proposition, product or service that most organisations offer do not typically revolve around building, operating, maintaining and evergreening data centres and technical infrastructure. With Cloud deployments, time, collective mindshare and resources of an organisation can be focused more on the business problem, process or service an application or platform is intended to address, rather than on the logistics of delivery.
- Consume Technology “on tap”: Enabling a fundamental mind shift in the way technology solutions are conceived, architected and implemented, consumption based pricing is a fundamental concept of Cloud services. State-of-the-art technologies available “on-tap” with per-minute pricing. Turn it on and off just like you would a water tap or electrical switch. Pause on this thought for a moment and consider how it may completely transform the way technology solutions are architected and provisioned.
- Elastic Scalability: Taking advantage of the flexibility consumption-based pricing enables, “elastic” scalability refers to the ability to allocate and de-allocate resources dynamically as demands change for an application. Typically automatically, without human intervention. For example, scale up during month end-processing or scale down on weekends/after hours. It is no longer necessary to over-provision for expected peak demands. How much surplus capacity does your organisation have sitting idle after hours? What if you could temporarily scale up during overnight data processing to halve or quarter the time needed for processing? What if you had an unexpected peak in demand?
- Champagne on a Beer Budget: Many advanced technologies can be out-of-reach for all but the largest of companies due to up-front capital costs or complexity of deployment. In a world where the relentless pace of change sees a raft of new delivery technologies, architectural approaches and capabilities become available on a regular basis, it is impossible for most organisations to keep up with on-premises infrastructure and software. Cloud makes these capabilities available to everyone on a pay-as-you-go basis, without the need to invest in specialist skillsets or infrastructure to set up.
- Achieve Robust Security: While security and data sovereignty were initially hot topics surrounding Cloud deployments, there is now greater awareness of the security measures in place. Cloud providers have been investing heavily to addressing these concerns, establishing unparalleled security measures and processes backed by extensive industry accreditations. The reality remains that reputable public Cloud providers possess the focus, financial resources and global talent pool to attract a calibre of security resources far superior to that which most organisation have the means to sustain for their own networks and infrastructure. Security is their core business, not just a necessary overhead as it is for many organisations.
- Access Vendor Innovation: More and more, vendors are implementing a “cloud first” policy for the development and release of new capabilities to their platforms. This means organisations who choose on-premise variants of a software platform may be forced to wait 6-12 months or more to access enhancements on-premises, missing out entirely on some capabilities.
Those who do not fully appreciate the benefits of Cloud often fall into the trap of framing/limiting their thinking around their knowledge of what an “on-premises” architecture, deployment or platform is. They consider Cloud as a “lift and shift” of on-premise infrastructure and frame their thinking of what’s possible around traditional application architectures. However, this significantly misses the point and key benefit of what Cloud offers to organisations, application architects and to service providers. Cloud done right is not simply Virtual Machines running on-premises software on a subscription pricing model.
The key to realising the potential of Cloud is to think differently about how technology solutions, platforms and services are architected and operated. Take advantage of the increased flexibility and efficiency offered, reduce the technology friction your organisation needs to manage internally and focus resources more on your core business.
While Cloud may not be the ideal solution for every application or every workload, there are many scenarios and solutions for which it does provide a compelling delivery mechanism. I encourage you to challenge legacy thinking, think differently about solution delivery and enable exciting new opportunities for your organisation.