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Cloud's not a blanket. Stitch it before you wear it

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Tailor-made is a word that is desired not only on the inch-tapes of service providers. It is to be sewn on customer's desks too

MUMBAI, INDIA: Speaking to CIOL at Nasscom India Leadership Forum, two experts from both sides of the industry put the SLA fog into perspective.

They helped understand why SLAs take a different turbulence level while flying in Cloudy Triangles than what we might have seen in the global Outsourcing air pockets.

Outsourcing era is gradually veering into a Cloud epoch and is this where SLA contract drafts can learn a thing or two from the way outsourcing players have evolved SLAs and confronted concomitant issues? Sanjay Mirchandani, CIO, COO, Global Centers of Excellence, EMC Corporation answers in an affirmative.

"That was about multi-year, predictable contracts and today we hear words like pay-as-you-go, risk-sharing, outcome-based, agile-mindset-churned, flexible etc in SLA conversations. That's the way Cloud related changes would present themselves."

Kris Gopalakrishnan, executive Co-chairman, Infosys echoes the word 'outcome-based' here. Adding another dimension, he scooped out how the inclination of customers would move from 'what's my area of responsibility' or operational areas like downtime to bigger, business-related deliverables like customer-satisfaction scores or shipment cycles. SLAs hence, can in themselves, be a driver when comparing outsourcing to Cloud models.

Speaking earlier at a session deliberating on the same shift, titled 'Does Cloud mean testing times for outsourcing' Gopalakrishnan listed down some critical questions.

To truly leveraging Cloud, one has to package a function uniquely like HR or operations, and then put it to Cloud.

"That's where Cloud will provide value," Gopalakrishnan said hinting how putting your house in order or in other words tailoring your internal areas would become vital.

He stressed on an 'outside-in' approach to Cloud. "Select a process, re-engineer the organisation to suit the product. Cloud is about multi-tenancy. Standards also matter in factoring in how fast you can move out of a contract if needed, and avoid lock-ins."

Quoting indications like 34 per cent of IT Budgets are moving to Cloud initiatives with the space growing from $40 billion in 2011 to about $241 billion in 2020, he also exemplified Infosys experiences in reducing power consumption by 80 per cent by adopting Cloud internally, as well external attempts like over 190 engagements or 12 business platforms in Cloud services.

The point that outsourcing-time' modular IT ways are slowly moving to the need of verticalised solutions, deep IP-hinged, opex model contracts thanks to Cloud; is something that resounded in the session that followed, albeit in an abstract wisdom note.

Use your imagination, that's what separates humans from animals, as Mythology expert and Chief Belief Officer, Fortune Group, Devdutt Patnaik hammered entertainingly.

The industry, both providers and customers need to use their imaginations to the hilt presumably, when we mention the word Cloud in the same breath as 'outsourcing industry's struggles'. Like he wittingly reminded with a Greek saying, "A story can be a tragedy or a comedy, depending on who is telling it."

That advice will fit well on Cloud pages surely.

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