I had the opportunity to attend and speak on cloud at last month’s IDC Cloud Leadership Forum in
Cloud is an enabler of many of the megatrends in play - big data, analytics, social media and mobility. Each of these trends offers leverage to achieve significant competitive advantage.
Let’s start with data. We all know that there is a massive explosion of information. Each day, 15 pedabytes of new information is generated and roughly 80% of it is unstructured. More interestingly, this is expected to grow by 44 times over the next decade. All this data gives organizations the opportunity to discover insights and identify patterns - and analytics is a key to unlocking this information and delivering value.
Next - the social media is creating new opportunities for businesses to interact with their clients and to understand the acceptance of their products and services first hand and real time. There is an opportunity for businesses to leverage social media into key business processes and to also gain the advantages of the consumer models for collaboration within the enterprise.
Finally, we can all relate to mobility. It’s changed the way we work and play. With our new mobile devices, we manage our professional lives, we connect with family and friends. We transact business and stay abreast of everything around us. Now we can perform all sorts of tasks anywhere, anytime.
Many organizations are starting to think about their device strategy and are working through the complex issues on how to keep these assets secure so they can extend enterprise applications to them and provide the required quality of experience.
Cloud is enabling businesses to embrace these trends and helping them use IT more strategically than ever before. CIOs are looking at cloud for efficiency – and on the journey they consolidate data centers, virtualize the infrastructure so it can be abstracted, standardize the application portfolio and automate business processes. This enables CIO’s to shift the conversation to innovating new applications and services with increased agility and faster time to value - important to the future of the organization.
Patterns of adoption are emerging. They generally can be grouped into four major categories.
- First, cut IT expense and complexity through data center optimization which addresses immediate needs for reducing expenses and complexity, while improving efficiency of service delivery.
- Secondly, accelerate time to market by rapidly building, deploying, and managing new services.
- Thirdly, some organizations want to capitalize on new business models and revenue sources by offering cloud-based services to others. Examples range from infrastructure services to industry-specific services like high performance computing, healthcare and government municipal services.
- Finally, gain immediate access to enterprise-class software as a service while minimizing risk and capital expense. Examples include collaboration, business process management, analytics, application management, service desk and marketing.
Right now, many organizations are focusing on private clouds, particularly where they have specific needs or require data security. The important thing is for those private clouds to easily connect and integrate with other private clouds, with existing data centers and with public clouds so that businesses can maintain that flexibility and avoid having isolated cloud orphans!