What self-respecting IT services provider ISN’T trying to position itself as an expert in cloud computing? After all, pretty much everyone has their own definition of what it means. What’s that old saying? There is margin in mystery?
But some, clearly “get it” more than others. I will list Logicalis in that category, since I pretty much agree with a list of “common mistakes” that Logicalis feels businesses make when they try to figure out how this year’s technology buzzword-du-jour will realistically fit into their information technology strategy. I’ll reinterpret those ideas here. But first, let me say that I subscribe to the definition of cloud as technology delivered as a service. I care less about where that service is housed: public or private. The most common categories under that blanket are infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS). I won’t list examples of each because someone will whine at me and that’s not the point of this post anyway. Taking all that into consideration, back to those lessons, although not in the same order as Logicalis lists them.
- The cloud isn’t just a short-term fix. Realistically, the reason that SaaS and IaaS have earned so much attention and subsequent business is that they can help cut costs. As in RIGHT NOW. But if every department of an SMB starts opting for its own version of a particular SaaS service, things get complicated from a management standpoint. This is where IT service providers can add value: by helping businesses make appropriate choices and also by helping them integrate cloud services with legacy infrastructure. That means taking a long-term view.
- The cloud isn’t just about technology. One of the things that IT people tend to forget when thinking about the cloud is the fact that real potential lies in helping businesses rethink the way they run their operations. By taking contracts electronic, for example, a shipping company could cut weeks out of its billing cycle. So, the cloud isn’t just about just trimming the IT budget, it is about trimming operational costs. The benefits will speak to many outside the IT organization.
- Migrate in-house applications to the cloud wisely. This final item is tied very closely, of course, to the first two themes. Too often, decisions about technology infrastructure investments — what to cut, what to buy — are made purely on the basis of cost and performance. Before a company moves an in-house technology investment or application into the cloud it should consider not just the speeds and feeds elements, it should think about the entire end-user experience — whether that end-user is a customer, employee or business partner.