Nearly everyone recognizes that cloud computing is an unstoppable trend in the IT industry. However, that general agreement obscures an important truth: IT organizations differ in where they are in their journey to cloud computing.
While some are well-advanced in their cloud adoption, others are early in their exploration and working on identifying the benefits they can achieve with cloud computing.
I am often queried as to the most important reasons an IT organization should consider when undertaking a move to cloud computing. I’d like to share five top reasons for companies that are just setting out on their cloud journey.
1. The Cloud Boosts Speed and Agility
If there’s one fundamental truth about today’s business environment, it’s that it’s evolving at an ever-accelerating pace.
To offer an example: in 2007 Blackberry ruled the smartphone roost, and Apple’s biggest seller was its iPod. By 2014 Blackberry was nearly bankrupt, and Apple was selling over $150 billion worth of iPhone’s each year.
Every business is under pressure to respond more quickly to changing business conditions. Unfortunately, traditional IT processes are a poor match for today’s speed. Provisioning resources commonly takes weeks or months, thereby slowing the reflexes of the business.
With cloud computing, resources are available in minutes, which means companies can respond to new market developments much more rapidly.
2. It Perpetuates Innovation
Success in today’s business environment requires more than just speed, though. Just as critical is innovation — the ability to develop new offerings, evaluate their potential market adoption, and then roll out the successful ones while culling the losers.
Here, too, cloud computing is a much better match than traditional IT infrastructure approaches. Because resources are available so quickly, it’s easy to experiment with a new offering very quickly. Companies can obtain user feedback quickly, rather than waiting months to get something into a market trial.
To quote the old Ginsu knives infomercials, “but wait, there’s more.” For the trials that become winners, the easy scalability of cloud computing makes it easy to grow the offering and address more users. And because cloud computing offers on-demand usage pricing, trials that turn up duds are easy to terminate.
3. It Helps Manage Costs
Another reality of traditional IT infrastructure is how doggone expensive it is. Obviously, infrastructure requires physical resources: servers, storage, and network. But beyond that, there’s lots of expense in operating those resources: headcount, facilities, and power.
And most IT organizations aren’t very efficient when it comes to infrastructure. Procurement is done infrequently and in small amounts, so resource costs are high. Operational processes are typically not automated, so labor costs are also high.
By contrast, the big cloud providers buy in bulk. Think of them as the Costco of computer resources. And because they operate at such scale, they have to invest in process automation. They couldn’t possibly hire or afford enough staff to operate their vast server fleets manually.
Those lower costs flow through to users. Most IT organizations can achieve significant savings by using cloud computing, although, to be fair, not everyone agrees with this perspective. In my experience, though, most IT organizations cannot meet the cost structure of the big cloud providers.
4. It Enables Application Resiliency
Application uptime has always been important. These days, though, availability is more important than ever. That’s because more companies are becoming digital enterprises, where their customers and suppliers interact and engage via IT-based mechanisms (e.g., mobile apps).
This move to digital makes application resiliency critical. Simply stated, applications need to stay available, even in the face of infrastructure failure.
Most on-premise applications demonstrate poor resiliency. Because equipment is so expensive (see previous section), most applications cannot afford redundancy, so they contain SPOFs (single points of failure). When infrastructure fails, the application goes down and stays down until repairs are made.
Cloud computing changes the resiliency equation dramatically. First, it’s easy to obtain additional infrastructure resources. So if something breaks, it’s trivial to restart the application on new resources.
But application resiliency goes beyond fast access to replacement kits. Because resources are readily available, and organizations only pay for what they use, it’s cost-effective to avoid SPOF application design and use redundant resources. If something breaks, the application continues operating on the still-working resources, allowing operations to address the problem as a background task.
5. It’s the Future of Your Workforce
One group has figured out that cloud computing is the future: employees. No one wants their skills stuck in obsolete technology, because that limits career prospects.
So failing to embrace cloud computing means your staff will conclude their future career growth requires moving to a company that has embraced the cloud. And potential employees, i.e., candidates, are unlikely to join a company they view as stuck in the past.
Therefore, to ensure you have a motivated IT organization, it’s important to implement forward-looking plans that involve cloud adoption. Naturally, that means building skills in both current and future employees, which requires education and training. As always, Simplilearn makes it convenient for your employees to learn cutting-edge cloud computing skills.
Well, there you have it. Five reasons cloud computing represents the future. More important, cloud computing represents your future. Demands on IT organizations are only going to grow, so it’s critical to prepare now. If you’re only starting on your cloud journey, don’t hesitate. You can’t afford to delay any longer.