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August 7, 2012

Cloud: Through the complexity.To the promise.

Posted by Vishnu Bhat (View Profile | View All Posts) at 7:44 AM



A study of Cloud economics conducted, a year ago, concluded that by switching to Cloud computing, organizations could save half to two thirds of the total cost incurred on a 1,000 server setup across its lifecycle. But to view the Cloud as one more cost reduction mechanism is to miss the forest for the trees. Because, I believe, the really big leverage that the Cloud brings to enterprises is innovation acceleration - driving the execution of viable ideas. With the Cloud's promise of capacity, application and infrastructure delivery-on-demand, all enterprises need do is dream up innovative ideas for new offerings or improved processes, assured in the knowledge that the Cloud has all it takes to turn these into tangible products or delightful customer experiences. Freed from the shackles of long drawn process-cramped purchases of capex-heavy technology investments, enterprises can conveniently access capacity in incremental denominations, and then scale up (or down), at will, in response to a need - even as the business itself transforms into an infinitely smarter, and more agile entity that races to market leaving the competition behind.

But, before enterprise emerge as innovators in a happier future,  several nagging questions must be dealt with. Given that the evolved enterprise-Cloud environment is, typically, highly fragmented - comprising private, public and on-premise assets - how to provision and deploy services seamlessly, securely, at the frenzied pace that business demands and yet strike the most equitable deals? Which Cloud environment works best for a specific workload? How to ensure convenient enterprise-wide adoption? Is facilitating self-service an option even? How to manage unified governance? And most importantly, how to elevate this disparate workload-infrastructure-application mass to an integrated resource that sparks innovation-led growth?

The answer lies in bringing cohesion into the disjointed Cloud environment - translating into a single-window enterprise view of the Cloud ecosystem. (Which incidentally, is exactly what Infosys Cloud Ecosystem Hub does) CIOs can leverage this to optimize their Cloud setup by bringing clear traceability and accountability for processes - from provisioning to sustenance. Led by the CIO, the IT organization can potentially not only play a key role in enabling innovation on the Cloud, but also add ongoing value.  If indeed, a reliable single source of truth can be enabled for the enterprise Cloud environment, the CIO can gather deep performance insights, both at the aggregate and individual usage instance levels.  The technology organization can then add value to ongoing innovation projects by recommending the best Cloud-based course of action, premised on this objective evaluation. Incidentally, these interactions can also present to user-innovators - who pay for these resources - a clear picture of the yield on their Cloud investments.

There is a real possibility that the Cloud, when approached from a unified perspective - throughout its create-adopt-manage lifecycle - will bring never-before alignment between business and IT. That's because the concept is premised on seamless value creation between providers on the IT side and consumers at the business end. It is conceivable that at some time in the near future, even that differentiation will be erased to create a single entity, a Cloud user - sans business or tech affiliation - who will focus entirely on innovation. And that's the day the promise of the Cloud will be truly and fully realized.

Comments

Vishnu
I like the way you describe the transition and cohesion into the disjointed Cloud environment . I guess it is fair to say that a complete move of corporate assets to cloud – private or public – will continue to be utopian. Just like most corporations haven’t been able to wean “business” users away from local data repositories, local databases, spreadsheets and the like.

Hi Vishnu,
I agree with most of your comments. However, in my opinion a critical point needs to be added in the whole picture - IT for operations versus IT for differentiation. In cases where IT is used to enhance business operations and the IT systems are fairly commoditized, cloud is indeed the way to optimise costs by using plug-&-play modules. However, in mission critical, competitor differentiator use of technology, an enterprise may want to be more guarded about its IT infrastructure (both hardware and software) and cloud may not necessarily be a great solution.

@Mohan. Thanks for your question. I believe that about 60 to 70 percent of IT assets will be on an hybrid cloud environment the next 5 to 7 years for most enterprises. There will still be about 30 to 40 percent in traditional setup. The drive for each organization would be to maximize hybrid cloud usage and thus maximize benefits. The key is to make it work for the business at the same time be able to maintain a degree of oragizational policy and governance around it. Traditionally, business created puddles of systems as IT has been known to say 'NO' to several requests. In the world of cloud these puddles would no longer be on local servers and desktops of business users but likely on a public cloud environment exposing organizations to greater risk of data security and IP misuse. The answer lies in creating an efficient, flexible, metered and governed hybrid cloud and provide business the flexibility it seeks.

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