“Disruption of entire industries.” That’s one way that Matt Watts describes the vast potential of cloud computing in an October 6 CIO article. The cloud represents spectacular strengths in several areas – irrefutably, mathematically outperforming alternatives in ways such as the following:
- Speed – You may know that Indiana University is renowned for its supercomputers (the latest of which was Big Red II), so it’s notable that IU computer scientist Geoffrey C. Fox, PhD, reports that cloud computing typically outperform the speed of supercomputers. Numerous calculations can be performed simultaneously, without waiting in line, since resources are widely distributed.
- Cost-Effectiveness – These parameters are really all derived from the incredible efficiency allowed by cloud computing. Speed is due to the efficiency with time that is optimized by quickly grabbing available resources and completing tasks, standardizing high-availability as a reasonable expectation. Because everything is performed rapidly and kept compact time-wise, costs can remain extraordinarily low.
Cloud computing is so drastically, revolutionarily advantageous to other options (especially considering the growing rate of private cloud use) that the impact for business is not just a computing concern but can offer a competitive edge for the organization. In fact, as Watts insists, this technology should not be viewed in terms of affordability or simplicity of deployment. Rather, it should be considered in terms of its possibilities for development, giving every business potentially game-changing access to ready-made testing environments. The cloud can even readjust the entire dynamic within an industry, creating the disruption described in the introduction.
For example, think about medical research. Medical data is now available at the fingertips of specialists nationwide. Can you imagine how profoundly cancer treatments can be improved when oncologists have immediate access to worldwide images of similar biopsies? Medical science has advanced unfathomably with the tool of cloud computing, as described by the American Association of Medical Colleges in 2013.
Watts argues that the flexibility, user-friendliness, and immediacy of the cloud make it an obvious choice for many situations. Because the benefits of the technology are so phenomenal, Watts suggests that the conversation move beyond technology or budgets to the possible rewards of cloud systems. He suggests that executives can perform 9 tasks to better integrate cloud approaches into the enterprise:
1. Figure out what clouds work best.
Take a look at providers carefully to determine which ones have strong enough security credentials to meet your needs. European firms need to be especially careful about meeting compliance because of the strong requirements of the European Commission.
2. Form stronger connections.
The cloud is about creating a more effective and more streamlined company. It will only achieve its potential to the extent that executives understand how powerful it can be – specifically, what kinds of projects it can help them complete.
Determine who is critical to convince at your firm and show them what they can do with cloud – how it can improve services, allow for more knowledgeable choices, and serve creative exploration.
3. Get everyone pumped.
Whenever making a change, you need to encourage some of the parties involved. Keep in mind that many information-technology professionals like the physical construction aspect of computing, with an affinity to the machines themselves.
Success will depend on your ability to get everyone enthusiastic about using services rather than hardware.
4. Put points on the board.
(Note that many of these suggestions also serve as tips for those coaching basketball.)
Establish the cloud in your organization by working on simple, concise, manageable projects. As Watts argues, two primary improvements will be made when you get those early “points” for the cause of cloud strategies: confidence and momentum, critical components of any internal reformations, both rise.
5. Try file-sharing early.
One great testing ground is a file-sharing cloud environment such as Dropbox or Box. This addition of an outside service to your IT approach will be especially helpful if your company does not yet have a way to share large files from mobile devices (as is still true of many organizations).
One particularly compelling aspect of file-sharing is that it will improve workflow for everyone in the company.
6. Figure out management software.
Watts also proposes that automation and orchestration are fundamental to a strong cloud environment, impacting user-friendliness and your ability to scale meaningfully.
Make sure that your management system is simple and clear. Integrate it with your other systems as much as you comfortably can, so that your development and deployment process is easy.
7. Categorize your apps.
Figure out what applications might make sense to move to the cloud, looking at factors including cost, security, and how it might generally serve the business. Designate applicable software as a cloud candidate for potential migration.
8. Look into cloud apps.
Your company may have put a lot of money into the custom software you are currently using (such as a CRM or sales portal). However, migration is not always the best choice.
Is that application really better than Salesforce or another cloud brand?
9. Look at ancillary solutions.
If you want to continue using an app developed in-house, you still might want to use a third-party system for an ancillary service such as backup storage or a disaster recovery system.
Consider that price lowers on these services through volume, especially when overseen by highly focused experts.
10. Choose a provider capable of hyperscale.
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By Kent Roberts