Communicating the value of cloud computing

Communicating-the-value-of-cloud

In today’s business environment those that still have IT capacity able to cope with their organisation’s busiest day are over investing in infrastructure that the business is unlikely to fully use the majority of the time. In some cases we estimate organisations are only using an average of between ten to fifteen per cent of their computing resources for much of the time. This is not cost-effective and in no other part of the business would a ten per cent usage be acceptable.

When stepping into the boardroom to make the case for cloud computing CIO’s now have a objective. By assessing the existing infrastructure and aligning it with the needs of the business they can dramatically reduce the need for high capital investments into new IT infrastructure of their own and instead include a cloud model into the infrastructure mix that can give impressive, but achievable, time, cost and efficiency savings.

Assessing the need for the cloud

Organisations run and operate a variety of applications with each having the potential for a different set of technical, security, availability and performance requirements, not all of which will be immediately ready for cloud computing environments. We therefore envisage enterprises embracing cloud computing will adopt a hybrid approach, making use of a set of technologies across traditional dedicated infrastructure, dedicated virtual servers, and cloud platforms with applications residing in the environment that best suits their individual requirements.

Before migration to the cloud organisations must also be familiar with the cyclical trends of their business, for example, the retail peak over Christmas or the holiday season. Increased capacity at these peak times means increased competitiveness.

The ability to adapt to and support these seasonal peaks and troughs are where the economies of scale offered by a multi-tenanted cloud based solutions really come into their own. Businesses are already starting to see the difference between being stuck in a lengthy Systems Integrator contract and the quicker, more agile capabilities of the cloud platform. This is when cloud services can deliver tangible competitive value as well as cost efficiencies.

It must be remembered that it’s not just “cloud” that organisations need to consider, but also the stepping stones that are involved in the migration process. The transition into the cloud for most organisations will be a journey – one that takes them many months to execute on. Being able to introduce cloud infrastructure alongside existing infrastructure, and managing that hybrid model, allows organisations to effect the gradual transition into the cloud in a way that suits them and allows them to adjust their strategy as they learn through execution.

Agility the cloud offers

When approached by the IT department regarding cloud migration today’s CEO is likely to ask why everyone re-engineered IT in the 90’s just to migrate to cloud now. The message needs to be communicated to the C-level that the older model of having infrastructure and capacity able to cope with the businesses busiest day means over investing in infrastructure that they are unlikely to fully use.

This is not only not cost-effective but in no other part of the business would a 10 percent usage be acceptable. The agility of cloud means that new services can be introduced more quickly, reducing staff costs and the need for lengthy Systems Integrator’s provisioning cycles. This can potentially reduce the time needed to provision new services from 6 months to 2 hours, delivering massive cost savings and significantly improving business agility.

How much variable demand a user has is directly related to how much benefit they will get from cloud migration. If there is minimal variable need within a business, there will be little tangible benefit. The ultimate benefit is that, as a result of the migration, the IT dept can become a better partner to the business by reducing waste and offering a better service.

Ensuring the right support

While cloud can offer a complete transformation for the IT department and agility for the entire organisation the business cannot halt to facilitate it. Organisations need a refined programme to move to the cloud while keeping the lights on. Many vendors today are offering a cloud platform but no consultancy to support the businesses along the journey. Customers need to identify what they’re getting into before committing to the process. As such vendors need to be working with enterprises to refine the roadmap to the adoption of cloud computing.

Neil Thomas is Product Manager for Cloud Computing and Virtualisation at Cable&Wireless Worldwide.

  • Good premise and clearly explained for efficiency and agility aspects of cloud. I have also observed that infrastructure efficiency now is often as low as 15%. Your article supports the case for hybrid cloud, and the idea of “own the base, rent the peak”. Or at least the case for having a coherent private and public cloud strategy.