Can We Avoid Getting Cloud­ified?

Mar 10, 2014

This thought leadership piece was written by Alexander Reay and first appeared on Professional Outsourcing. 

If someone asked me, can any enterprise or organisation in the Western World avoid cloud?’, my response would be ’no!

Why not? Because it is the next logical evolutionary step for IT, businesses and knowledge work forces. It combines the capabilities provided by Internet, virtualisation, automation and enterprises’ needs. For most IT users trying to navigate in a jungle of licenses with challenging legal ramifications is far from core business. They desire the outcome of IT, not IT itself. Cloud enables enterprises to reduce the cost of and in­efficient use of competent IT staff for recurring, standard IT delivery.

Big changes always come slowly. Only in hindsight can the disruption point be suggested. For businesses it is irrelevant whether the tipping point was the Amazon AWS launch in 2006, or Salesforce’s success, or any other single event. The fact is that enterprises always are searching ways to spend their money and efforts more wisely on core business. The work force being hired today ­ the decision­makers of tomorrow ­ are used to using IT capabilities without having to be experts in how they are produced. And even if neither of these facts apply, the competition in the business and the need to support an increasingly IT­savvy aging population, and at the same time demand for more government efficiency, forces enterprises and organisations to look at cloud.

We all think we are special and different. I agree, the way each enterprise conducts business is special, but not the way it produces IT. Cloud forces management and IT departments to look at what is really special to their business, and what is – or could be made into – a standard delivery.

Cloud opponents raise legal implications and risk of losing control over both systems and data. These are valid concerns and should be a part of how business is conducted. Cloud is not the answer to everything. It will not solve all needs, at least not for the large enterprises. Legal requirements or brand consideration may stop you from using a global cloud. However, in most countries there are providers offering local clouds, within national borders satisfying local law.

This applies also to other, equally relevant issues. An important factor for the progress of cloud is that the US government, due to budget overruns, is intending to move 25% of its IT budget to it, expecting a saving of 30%. All leading IT suppliers (including but not limited to Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle) are creating their cloud solutions to get some of that staggering 20 000 million USD cloud budget.

For Europe this means that these companies (partners, providers and competitors) already are introducing their cloud capabilities also into Europe to increase revenue of their investments.