How Cloud Decisions are moving from a Technical Specialism to a more Strategic Business One.
One of the reasons I enjoy my role at Avanade is because I get to have discussions with major customers around how disruptive technology shifts (such as cloud), will make a difference to their business and IT strategies. However, it is quite rare for a customer to deal with these trends in isolation. Increasingly, they are being seen as converging and tightly coupled, to such an extent that treating one on its own can often lead to a charged discussion even on the definition of the term.
Customer engagement is usually around helping them design an ambitious programme supporting new ways of working (both business processes and employee/customer engagement). Inevitably the conversation turns towards what the seismic megatrends are and what their organisation will need to take into account when considering their IT strategy.
Despite debate about semantics and what exactly is contained within each term, there is a general consensus around four trends:
- Consumerisation of IT
- Big Data
- Social Collaboration
In fact, it is incorrect to say that there are four trends driving change in modern enterprises. There are three trends
driving change, and one capability
, which is enabling it. I will explain in the figure below.
When coupled with the fact that the major cloud providers have had to build rock solid fabrics which can support millions of users rather than thousands, plus their data centres are usually state of the art in terms of PUE (power unit efficiency), usage of cloud has the additional benefit of increasing overall service stability for organisations as well as fulfilling green social considerations.
Below is a chart that depicts the various trends and how cloud is enabling them.
|Cloud ||Consumerisation ||Big Data ||Social Collaboration |
|Available wherever there is an open internet connection ||Users can work wherever they wish. It supports high mobility. ||It’s possible to arrange feeds directly from OI generating devices to the data analysis repository in the cloud. ||Coupled with consumerisation, it allows people to store and share information between each other reliably in a far more real-time fashion. |
|Highly Elastic with practically limitless scale ||Demand can flex to rapidly support ||Unstructured data, (docs/emails/images etc), comprises 60-80% of all information assets in an organisation, and typically will grow compound YOY by 27%-33% ||The scale afforded allows users to retain and analyse much more information, collecting knowledge and combining it to discover new ways of working |
|True Pay Per Use ||Combined with high scale, the true consumption based pricing allows low-zero cost of entry to new initiatives. This drives efficient markets for IT which are fit to purpose and have much less wastage. ||More work can be executed against large data sets with the ability to acquire large storage/compute for working purposes, and then release this afterwards. |
For unstructured data, the demand can grow until the marginal usage costs equal the marginal value of the lowest value data, and can then change when needed.
|Rather than a “grand leap in the dark” into social computing where some will succeed and others languish, the enterprise can pilot many different vehicles for social computing and allow simple market forces to grow the most successful. |
|Very low cost reflecting huge economies of scale ||New initiatives are highly affordable ||Easier achieved business case for addition data processing revealing more intelligence to the organisation ||Extending and expanding the reach of social collaboration. |
Whichever of the major trends is top-most in your mind, building a coherent strategy that heavily leverages cloud delivery will be a key foundation to optimise this and have the beneficial side effects of supporting the other major megatrends.