Justin Day, transformation director of technology provider 6point6, explains how cloud computing is benefiting businesses across the globe...
Before we can understand how businesses achieve benefits from cloud computing, we need to understand what cloud computing is, and, frankly that doesn’t have a cohesive answer. A simple Google search returns many variations on a theme but none seem to quite align.
We need to look at what components of cloud computing are consistently agreed upon and work from there. For this we can turn to the established pillars:
If we have a consistent and agreed set of cloud computing outputs, how is it that we have such variation on what cloud computing is? The answer is simple and it is the one huge driver that allows all businesses to benefit from cloud computing.
Each business has their own drivers, their own priorities and their own concerns. No two businesses are alike and consequently a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to IT enabling a business simply doesn’t work. This is where the flexibility of cloud computing has come to the forefront for businesses.
Company X is a retail company. It has a few challenges around its finances but bigger challenges around being able to cope at times of demand. The nature of what it sells means that it is completely unpredictable as to what infrastructure it needs at any time save for noticeable increases in holiday seasons. It needs to be able to scale such that it can serve the demand of its customers. The top priority for the board is preservation of the brand of the company. Brand damage is that which carries the highest risk.
“Cloud computing is all about being able to scale on demand,” says the CEO of Company X.
Company Y is also a retail company. It is important that it can serve the demands of its customers but company performance has been less than expected in the last 12 months and it needs to offer guarantees to the board that all IT spend was kept to the absolute minimum. The top priority for the board is balancing the books. Another financial year resulting in losses could signal the end of the company.
“Cloud computing is all about being able to spend the very least, only on what we need at any given time,” says the CEO of Company Y.
This example may appear a little far-fetched but it helps illustrate the point about flexibility. It is important to recognise that both companies are incredibly similar. They both benefit from cloud computing yet each of them sees cloud computing as providing a different outcome. Cloud computing provides the flexibility to businesses such that they can leverage the component architecture that is most important to them at a given point in time.
It’s also important to recognise that priorities change. In our example, it may be that Company Y achieves financial stability and in order to grow, needs to expand its infrastructure. Company X may have started looking at innovative ways to reduce cost and this may be through a more appropriate way to streamline service and management approaches. Again, it is this flexibility that is the true benefit to businesses for the use of cloud computing.
Businesses will need to continue to adapt as requirements from their consumers change. In the next few years, we can expect to see the continuation of a market that expects things cheaper and faster. A market that also dictates to its supplier, the business, what it wants. In turn, the business will dictate to IT what it wants and cloud computing is beautifully positioned to be able to act upon that request, whatever it may be. The flexibility of cloud computing will allow businesses to maintain their edge but, more realistically, keep up with the pace of change.
Cloud computing is providing flexibility to businesses in every facet of what it offers. IT should be an enabler for businesses but for too long it has been the technology that has dictated what the business strategy is. That has now changed and businesses are starting to leverage the power of cloud computing to their advantage. Flexibility is back in the hands of the business.
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