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Cloud Virtue and the Real Promise of Global Agility

John Thielens
The business drivers for cloud implementation have shifted.

This is the second of three entries in a Cleo blog series exploring what is driving cloud growth today and the “state of the cloud” for modern businesses. Part One discussed the reluctance some business have for adopting cloud processes, and Part 3 will explore the idea that not all clouds are created equal.

The broad acceptance of cloud virtues across effectively every business vertical is a defining characteristic of our technological zeitgeist. This is bolstered in part because the current IT climate is one in which cloud vendors can claim to improve autonomy, agility, and productivity — a divine trinity (so to speak) for any enterprise looking to migrate toward a heavier adoption of cloud storage, processing, and data management. Unsurprisingly, the adoption of off-premise cloud solutions and cloud-based infrastructure in place of traditional on-premises IT and software licensing models have yielded indisputably positive responses from the business ecosystem.

Yet the business drivers for cloud implementation have shifted. Convenience alone is no longer the motivator it once was. Advances in virtualization have transformed the ability to, for instance, spin up a new server, a task that may only take minutes (if not seconds) today. Cost, on the other hand, remains a primary consideration when thinking about cloud adoption.

Intrinsically, partner-powered cloud computing, whether it be public or dedicated, provides better predictability in Total Cost of Ownership thanks to subscription or pay-per-use pricing models. Therefore, moving to the cloud can enable a company to realize a reduced window to ROI, which is fortified by a lowered capital expenditure budget, and reductions in infrastructure and operational costs. Cost may be initially compelling, but to enable competitive advantage by moving to the cloud, companies should also look to:

  • Create responses to elastic workload demand
  • Elevate performance through a decrease in ongoing and routine maintenance
  • Reduce the need for acquisition, racking, and provisioning of IT assets
  • Facilitate the ability to handle disaster recovery

All of these demands indicate increases in local efficiency and operability, but provide only a partial notion of cloud possibility. Indeed, the signature impact of cloud computing comes precisely from the capacity to:

  • Realize a quicker-to-market capability
  • Strategically refocus IT personnel on core business initiatives

Thus, cloud computing has the power to optimally impact commodity effort across all business fronts and connections. The magnitude of this cloud-driven potential spells out one word: Agility – the real force propelling businesses toward the cloud.

At the same time, the promise of global agility requires more than simple cloud adoption. Business leaders know that before they cross the Rubicon by going to the cloud, constant security, privacy, and control of all business data moving to, from, and within the cloud must be a given. Only with the complete assurance of data security will a smart company be ready to enable the cloud. And until then, realizing cloud-derived increases in autonomy, agility, and productivity will remain hypothetical.

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