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Marrying cloud and IT infrastructure for superior business value

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Cloud computing is at the forefront of every business today. A recent IDC study revealed that 85 percent of new software being built today is for the cloud. There is no doubt that cloud-based technologies have begun to move from pilot deployments to mainstream technology choices. In my discussions with clients, it’s clear that they fundamentally understand cloud and its business benefits; however, they also indicate that they’re struggling to incorporate cloud into their overall IT strategies and processes.

Cloud infrastructureAccording to a recent Institute for Business Value study, 50 percent of companies surveyed indicated that they are uncertain about the right model of cloud computing for their organization and exactly how cloud-based approaches can be integrated or reconciled with their existing IT infrastructure and data centers. This suggests that many organizations are still evaluating their options and may not have a clear roadmap for adopting cloud-based technologies.

Understanding how to infuse cloud capabilities into an organization is a central question for those addressing IT infrastructure. According to IDC, annual cloud infrastructure spend (including storage) is expected to reach $69.9 billion annually by 2017, a significant increase from the 2012 spend of $32.6 billion. The use of private, public and hybrid cloud technologies requires IT executives to rethink their overall IT infrastructure plans. After all, these approaches promise to impact everything from people and processes to hardware, middle, software and services decisions.

Ask yourself: Am I building the right cloud?

Simply put, do you and the people in your enterprise know why cloud technologies are important to the company’s success? Have quantifiable outcomes been established and affirmed by your C-suite leaders?

Your cloud needs to align to specific business and technology goals, invariably leading to explicit outcomes. In other words, you must have direct line of sight to the “cause and effect” as to how your cloud is key to your firm’s achievements. This will help engage the broader organization and increase overall buy-in. In most cases, you will likely utilize some combination of private, public, and hybrid cloud deployments.

Increasingly, the best solution for many companies will be a hybrid cloud approach. The ability to mix and match the best elements of private and public clouds affords organizations the flexibility to move services, applications, and workloads based on business demands. For example, departments may need to quickly set up a development instance for testing new analytics capabilities or to pilot a new promotion in a specific geography. This avails an IT leader’s ability to optimize workloads across their entire infrastructure for improved IT economics.

Ultimately, what’s most important is for business leaders to evaluate their requirements to determine which type of cloud is the best fit for their needs.

Be more nimble

In total, infrastructure is the foundation for all cloud technologies and service delivery. Organizations that successfully integrate cloud strategies to complement their existing IT infrastructures achieve greater agility, flexibility and are better positioned to easily transform to improve competitiveness in ways that were unthinkable in the past.

Start with a question

When it comes to building an efficient cloud infrastructure, a few fundamental questions must be addressed. And an IT leader’s ability to address them will be critical to their success.

  1. What does my business need most and how will cloud support these goals?
  2. I need to optimize each element of my cloud, so what is the best infrastructure choice and why?
  3. How do I measure the value that cloud delivers in a way the business will understand and recognize?

IBM is helping clients address these questions as they look to build their cloud capabilities. Designed for business, IBM Cloud enables companies to marry their existing infrastructure (systems of record) with innovative cloud models propelled by new data, mobile and social (systems of engagement) workloads.

With more than 10,000 cloud engagements, the IBM Cloud portfolio is a robust, open, comprehensive set of cloud infrastructure offerings in which workloads can be deployed, integrated, and consistently managed securely, and efficiently.

A great example of this is the USTA. You can hear how IBM Cloud infrastructure enables the US Open to automatically scale up or down, depending upon spikes in demand for popular services located on USOpen.org website.

Looking to build the right cloud for your business? Get started here.

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