In the information technology world, perhaps no topic today is receiving more attention than cloud computing. Unlike the days of the past where cloud computing was once perceived as a cost-effective, flexible option for small to mid-sized companies, in 2012 cloud computing will dig even deeper into the enterprise as more executives embrace and move to a cloud managed services model.
Today, the cloud services model is shifting from just the delivery of capacity to the delivery of improved business results – or capability. This shift is due to the cloud customer’s demands for more than just technology to solve business challenges, but rather a desire to improve their business results — all delivered via the cloud. I see this dramatic shift becoming evident in the significant business results that our Fortune 500 customers are seeing from JDA’s Cloud Optimize Service today.
Even though cloud computing relies heavily on high-quality computing resources, stringent IT protocols and the latest technology advancements, the real value lies in the capability that the cloud can deliver not just the capacity. In addition to the standardization, the repetition, the specialization and the automation processes that power successful cloud solutions, it boils down to the experience and expertise of the cloud services provider. That can turn the technology into a set of high value cloud solutions to drive business results.
Choosing the Right Cloud Provider
When you couple both the technology delivered with capacity and the business expertise delivered with capability, the real value of cloud services enables you to see improved business results because you can focus on your business and not run and maintain software.
The best cloud providers will have teams of hundreds of experts supporting your cloud computing needs every single day.
This, however, is not enough to meet the demands in these challenging economic times. Not only should cloud services give customers the freedom to focus on their core competencies, but they also should extend the value of running and maintaining software by delivering content, vertical industry and business expertise. This comes in the form of optimization and improved analytics. These services are delivered via the cloud and are the future of cloud services.
The cloud provider’s technology experts are business generalists who understand your organization’s strategic needs for various software applications and operating information – and who can help custom-tailor the cloud’s capabilities to best meet your needs. Cloud managers should not only know how to store data, but also how to apply data to help customers streamline processes, reduce risk and expedite business results from software investments that are already in place.
While your internal IT team might only consist of a small group of people, the right cloud provider can supply a team of hundreds of highly qualified, credentialed experts to supplement your team. By relying on this external expertise to streamline your daily computing needs and help you leverage your data to the fullest extent, your IT staff and other professionals can focus on other core strategic priorities that are driving your business.
However, there are very few companies that cannot achieve significant time, cost and efficiency benefits from entering the cloud. The key is identifying those parts of your business that are right for cloud computing — whether because they are data-intensive, involve partner collaboration or are otherwise well suited — then creating a close partnership with a trusted cloud managed services provider.
By shifting to the capability on demand provided by cloud services, you can achieve not only lower total cost of ownership, but also faster return on investment. In short, it positions your business for a competitive advantage by turning technology and information into powerful strategic weapons.
I would love to hear about, and discuss, your cloud computing experiences, both good and bad. Drop me a comment and let’s get the conversation going.