Cloud – Forget the hype, this is the Reality
Every day we hear more comments about the Cloud being yet another fad or a new technology hype which will go away. We must confess that this was our first reaction too. However this is as a result of focus on the hardware side of things, debating what is a Cloud “public” or “private” and other head scratching subjects. Then our attention shifted to the application side, software as a service (SaaS) hosted by third parties or even Microsoft 365 (Microsoft’s attempt at not becoming another Kodak or General Motors).
But here again we were looking at the wrong end of things: the Cloud is not about cost or technology! The cloud is about fundamental business value.
Our wakeup call came in early 2011 when we heard that Comic Relief (the UK charity) raised £74million by processing over 650,000 donations over seven hours with a peak of over 200 transactions per second which I was told was slightly higher than pre-Christmas peaks at Amazon.com. While these statistics are impressive what really floored me is that the infrastructure (hardware and software plus the payments interface) was “built” and taken down in one day. Obviously there was a lot of planning and it was not free but I could not imagine that such a massive feat could go up and down so flexibly. In our eyes the Comic Relief procurement exercise is a lesson for all.
That is the game changer! The Cloud is cost effective but above all it is business effective and the hype is not coming from the CIOs (many of whom actually tend to be rather defensive due to the existing obsolete hardware and software they have accumulated and cherish) but from the CEOs and the business leaders. An educated CEO or CFO no longer buys promises of 20% cuts in IT (because the money always finds its way to another IT pocket!) but they buy a message of complete flexibility (up and down) in the current market conditions.
In other words, the reality of Cloud computing has little to do with computing but everything to do with business. The current turbulent financial market conditions and the general uncertainty about global business prospects should fuel demand for business flexibility … and the Cloud.