BANGALORE, INDIA: Cloud model is nothing to new to us in the non-IT areas and has been in vogue from time immemorial. Most of the day to day aspects of our life like water, electricity, school/college, local and intercity ravel, healthcare, Hotel / Restaurant, Entertainment halls, Professional help - Doctor, Lawyer, Chartered accountant have been utilized in all 3 modes of consumption based pay - private / public and hybrid models.
IT in cloud model conceptually hence is not new to us. Benefits of Cloud computing are innumerable, where on one hand it increases the IT availability, on the other it provides cost benefits along with flexibility to scale up or down which is a critical business need in uncertain economy. And for an innovative CIO, it could be a game changer and a path breaking strategy for business growth. Of late we have seen innumerable strategies in and around partnering with external providers and churning the new business model by various SME's and start-ups. And it's no denying fact that the same interest has been steadily growing among large enterprises.
In one of the recent CIO meet up panel agreed that the cloud can offer the agility a business user is constantly requesting for to keep up with the challenges posed by changing market and technology. And the greater concern has been that these business user turning to a third party cloud providers on their own due to slow moving IT process.
Going by the recent industry developments, today it is easier for businesses to buy and provision a virtual server on cloud for certain duration with the required capacity of storage and compute power for the purpose of testing an application rather than going through the entire cycle of purchase of hardware and making the device ready. It is both the cost saving as well as the time saving, which is costlier than actual money cost. Over the years the IT infrastructure has grown and become very complex to manage.
Large organizations spend 50 to 75 per cent of the IT budget only for sustenance with very little money left to fund growth and innovation projects. Thanks to the knowledge of IT carried by CIOs, which makes them highly capable of leading the cloud strategy. Though the in-depth understand of technology is of utmost required, equally important is the understanding of opportunities put forth by the cloud computing today and in turn articulating the same into business need.
The need of the hour for any CIO is to figure out the best way of leveraging on cloud and exploit better business options available for quicker response. And a collaboration with the right cloud provider would not only decrease the time span and lower the total cost of innovation, but also significantly reduce the expenditure on IT and allows users to gain access to best of the available technology. Some of the strategies that CIOs could work upon and implement are-
ï‚· Device a holistic approach to leverage on external, internal and hybrid cloud models.
ï‚· Examine the opportunities and develop a step by step approach, or may incorporate a compete transformation.
ï‚· Be optimistic as well as prudent while deciding upon the best mix of benefits and the ROI based up need of the business.
ï‚· Take a holistic look out for candidature of every IT assets in the organization for cloud migration and access it against the potential security risk.
ï‚· Look for the best way of amalgamating the external services with internal capabilities and hence prepare the organization to gear up towards becoming the smart cloud computing user. So if and only if, the CIO is convinced on these strategies and can draw a bigger picture towards cloud, he or she could then articulate the same to other CXO's on business benefits.
Once the business benefits and risk are identified before the go ahead for the cloud initiative there has to be a proper rules laid out to govern and mitigate the unforeseen risk. In that the first is to ensure that every cloud purchase and implementation has to go though the usual process of IT procurement and under the CIO or deputation of the CIO.
And the CIO should to the least establish a basic guideline in accordance with the risk management that which can evolve over time as the cloud initiative matures. And in order to ensure that the cloud service procured economically viable and best to the organizational need, it has to constantly be screened and compared again the other providers as well as the in-house setup. One of the major advantages of shifting to the cloud is the better utilization of IT employees and the organization can ably engage them in business critical and business centric application leaving behind the day to day task to the cloud provider. Some of the best candidates for cloud migrations today are for disaster recovery & backup, storage & replication, non critical applications, on demand server provisioning and service management.
A hybrid model can be looked at in email and security. While the non critical application and data is moved over to cloud it is in the best interest of the organization to be through have these cloud migration be bound by best of the compliance standards and it be audited on regular basis. With money becoming scarce and costly and markets being uncertain, it makes business sense to opt for a "pay by use" managed model with flexibility to scale up or down based on market and business need. Dynamics of business are increasing by the day driven by local and international issues. Life cycle of technology is becoming shorter and shorter.
Hence Capex model of working for IT no longer is the best way moving forward. Cloud hence is the best way out for business across size and vertical to leverage the latest in managed IT with flexibility at an affordable cost.
(The author is co-founder and managing director of iValue InfoSolutions)