High operational costs, low system utilization, inconsistent availability, and poor agility are the catalyst that drive cloud computing adoption. The organizations of today demand cost transparency and improved responsiveness to new opportunities.
Businesses are looking for ways to optimize their Information Technology (IT) Infrastructure and improved ROI, the public sector wants improved organization, centralization and reliable service, among others. Reliance on IT to operate is the new reality. Organizations are realizing that high availability is no longer optional.
Organizations are actively looking for ways of mitigating the stated issues as well as realizing their operational goals. There are options:
- – Outsourcing - Businesses sometimes outsource to try to apply some sort of cost/quality balance only to discover that the promised cost savings never materialized or the service quality and operational responsiveness suffered.
- – Applying IT Service Management and IT best practices to reduce the risk and gain agility, however, sometimes this overhead reduces the very agility it was trying to achieve.
- – Organizations have poured money into hardware redundancy to improve availability, and then fall into a 5-8 year cycle of costly hardware acquisition.
- – Others have embraced emerging technologies such as virtualization, only to find that they have increased their operating complexity and costs and created new issues such as Virtual Machine sprawl.
Cloud computing puts new tools in the hands of organizations in order to address changing operational/project needs by providing them with very valuable and effective architectural, delivery, and sourcing options.
Cloud computing has the potential to improve the following aspects of your organization:
- • Reduces Time to Market: Allows rapid deployment, lowered financial barriers to entry, and self-service capabilities, increased business responsiveness and decreased the time required for realizing the IT projects ROI.
- • Shortens the Solution Development Life Cycle: A service-oriented approach to solution development and a standardized architecture help reduce the lead time between vision and deployment.
- • Enhances Responsiveness to Business Changes: Improves the ability to respond to demand spikes and changes in IT supported business processes.
- • Lowers Barriers to Entry: Cloud services decouple fixed overhead from demand and enables a pay-as-you-go model that facilitates innovation and entry into new markets.
- • Reduces Operational Costs: People, power, and space costs can be reduced through standardization, automation, and elastic Capacity Management.
- • Improves Cost Control: Standardization, transparency of IT costs, and the ability to use cost or price to motivate behavior improves budget predictability, cost effectiveness, and strategic IT alignment.
- • Enables Reuse: A modular approach to IT provides an opportunity for significant application/functionality re-use across the enterprise, thereby lowering development costs and improving the predictability and cost effectiveness of solutions deployed across business units.
- • Improves Customer Satisfaction: Cloud Computing improves an IT organization’s ability to manage their customers’ expectations and perceptions of solutions’ responsiveness, capacity, and availability through the life cycle.
- • Enhances Service Level Efficiency: Cloud Computing enables IT to procure as well as deliver functionality at an improved service level per dollar spent over traditional IT.
- • Enriches Continuity of Service: Cloud computing’s inherent modularity and ability to decouple applications from the physical infrastructure creates opportunities to greatly improve the disaster recovery/business continuity aspects of an application.
- • Improves Ability to Meet Regulatory Requirements: Cloud Computing offers sourcing options that enable CIOs and their business stakeholders to make risk managed decisions to effectively meet their businesses' regulatory, competitive, and differentiation needs.
The Cloud provides options for approach, sourcing, and control. It can deliver a well-defined set of services, which are perceived by the customers to have infinite capacity, continuous availability, increased agility, and improved cost efficiency. It can achieve these by shifting the server-centric mindset to a service-centric approach.
The Service-centric approach
Software as a Service (SaaS) is one of three (3) Cloud service models. SaaS delivers business processes and applications, such as CRM, collaboration, and email, as standardized capabilities for a usage-based cost, business-relevant service, normally through subscription. SaaS provides significant efficiencies in cost and delivery in exchange for minimal customization. All infrastructure and IT operational functions are abstracted away from the consumer.