Ray Smyth of Swindon’s The IPstore says, “The cloud is a business tool and a disruptive technology. It can deliver innumerable benefits to any business in any market cycle, but it is not an out-of-the-box option and to get what you need, an experienced supplier is needed.”
From what I have said in my last two articles you should be getting the idea about the cloud. The idea that:
• It’s not a like-for-like replacement for what you already have.
• You should assume nothing and go back to square one on every front.
• Data ownership and compliance requires detailed attention.
• The current (inherited) legal framework, nationally, in Europe and worldwide is inadequate.
• For most organisations, a hybrid approach between the public and private cloud will be best.
It would be far too easy to conclude that the cloud is far too difficult and not for you and this in my view would be a shame. Cloud computing is still in its very early stages and it is precisely because it is easy to deploy and that it is internet based that it is skipping a crucial development phase. This phase – the early adopter phase – allows the more savvy organisations and those with qualified staff to work with suppliers in the full knowledge that there will be problems, working to mature the products or service.
One thing I have not yet mentioned in this context is energy and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Depending on how you set up your cloud services and the partners you select, you should be able to improve your organisations green credentials. Depending on your business, this may be more or less important, but make no mistake, it will be noted. Greenpeace – renowned for their action based protest – are on the case. Gary Cook, Greenpeace International Senior Policy Analyst recently said, “…companies like Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft are building data centers powered by coal and acting like their customers won’t know or won’t care. They’re wrong.” In the future new business may be won or lost based on the decision you make about the cloud.
There has to be a bottom line and here it is. Your business cannot afford to ignore the cloud because your competitors won’t; equally your business will not survive the inevitable consequences of an ill-considered and clumsy adoption of the cloud. Without doubt, any transition or adoption needs to be taken in the context of where you are and your existing pre-cloud IT and business plan.
You will need advice and help, and you will need to plan. With the right kind of supplier you should be able to get the balance between advice, solutions supply and cost. Consultancy will always help but mentoring from a trusted supplier will unite the needs of your business with the best solutions available in the most cost-effective manner. Good luck and see you in the cloud.