The concept of the cloud can mean different things to different people. So let’s begin with the basics.
What is the cloud and how is it different than traditional forms of computing? The cloud is a source of highly scalable, global-class services that can be easily accessed over the internet on an as-needed basis. It introduces two fundamental dynamics that together, enable new kinds of services, new kinds of connections, and new kinds of business value.
First, in the cloud, technologies can be abstracted and delivered as a service over the internet. People who use the service need only be concerned with its functionality and whether it provides value. They don’t have to understand or manage the underlying technology. This applies to every layer of the technology stack: infrastructure, data, applications and information. And these services can be used and purchased under a variable pricing model.
Second, cloud services are global-class by design. They are developed to support vast numbers of users, who are external to an organization’s network, but can access the service easily through a web browser. By contrast, an enterprise-class service is designed for a limited sized audience, which accesses the service on a private network within in a single enterprise organization.
A global-class cloud service can quickly deploy software to millions of geographically dispersed people, and thus is underpinned by infrastructure that can scale and flex in response to supply and demand.
For instance, enterprises can use the cloud to roll-out collaboration tools to a global user base, tap into extra compute power when peak workloads exceed capacity, or take advantage of the latest disaster recovery services. All these services can be used without any capital investment or long term contracts.
Value in the Cloud
As the cloud expands and matures, there’s no doubt that its spectrum of services will become increasingly available, reliable, and secure. But even today, small, mid-sized and large enterprises are already realizing significant value from the cloud.
First, they’re experimenting with cloud services that have moved through the maturity curve, such as social networking, blogging, wiki and storage services. Enterprises are using the cloud to tap into extra compute resources when peak workloads exceed capacity, for software testing, and other non-recurring or occasional requirements.
Second, enterprises are evaluating software as a service (SaaS) solutions for enterprise-class applications. This allows you to gain the cost advantages associated with SaaS, but also have enterprise-quality security, availability, and a robust, enterprise-class feature set.
Lastly, the cloud furthers a service-centric model in an IT organization. In the cloud, everything is a service. The same can be true of your IT organization. This is good for IT, because when it manages resources as services, rather than technology, the business associates IT with value, rather than cost.
Managing a hybrid enviournment
The role of every technology organization is to source and deliver services that provide value to the business. Their challenge is ascertaining how each technology-enabled service, calibrated to each business outcome, is designed, sourced, delivered, and measured against the intended business outcome. The cloud is underscoring this trend, because everything in the cloud is delivered as a service.
Technology organizations will need to embrace the cloud as a part of their service portfolio. In fact, they must learn how to manage a hybrid mix of services: in-house, hosted/outsourced, and the cloud. They will need to be proficient operating a service-centric IT model, with expertise in weighing the value of each service against this model, factoring risk, security, data architecture and integration, process, cost, reliability and availability.
The implications for enterprise IT organizations are clear. They must progress in the following ways:
- From managers of technology to managers of services;
- From a focus on cost to a focus on value;
- And from an organization of overhead to one that enables growth.
As you consider the opportunities and issues presented by the cloud, you can look to CyberCore for assistance. With our expertise in service management, we can help you manage technology-related services from multiple sources: in-house, hosted/outsourced, and the cloud.
How CyberCore Technologies can help
Whether you are considering in-house service modernization, conventional outsourced services, or a cloud-based service model, our professionals can help. We can design a strategy that helps clarify your goals, determines the business’s needs, and identifies and implements the most effective service delivery model to meet your needs.
CyberCore understands the entire cloud picture—from the back-end infrastructure that enables cloud-based services, to the enabling technologies that allow technology organizations to build, manage and deliver quality services.