Sunday, 20 October 2013

Why is cloud gaining popularity?

Cloud is considered as a game changing technology and regarded as next big thing. Why? 

The key reason for Cloud to gain momentum is because this is a model in which people are interacting with technology in a whole new way. Cloud is helping business to connect and collaborate with customer, product performance data, employee, vendor / supplier community directly. Cloud is democratizing by improving performance, productivity and cost benefits with lot of flexibility.  

But there are still apprehensions, challenges and grey areas. I thought of posting my views and share my learnings after interacting with over 100 customers who have adopted to cloud. 

The key advantage of cloud is much beyond cost. In my view cost is a short term view and should never be the key driver for decisions.

Top 5 reasons our customers look at Cloud:

1.   Focus on the core and eliminate the clutter

Using cloud platform, businesses can focus on the core objective of automation rather than building entire technology stack required to run the application. Some of our customer who have invested on the on-premise technology said they have invested about 60% of their total investment and 75 % of resources and energy in setting the technology infrastructure to run the application. Cloud enables our customer to free-up the investment on infrastructure but more importantly provides better bandwidth and focus to build application that facilitates business growth.

2.    Flexible to evolving business 

Business is dynamic and process needs to be nimble for growing a business. Any technology should emulate the real-time operating processes and hence the need for an elastic technology platform. Cloud provides eco-system of features / functionalities which facilitates scale and flexibility of application development. In comparison with the on-premise technology the entire technology stake needs to be enhanced as the business evolves. 

3. Empower users and not limited to technology constraints

User needs should drive the project and technology should enable users to be more productive and informed. Understanding users requirement and building easy of interface enhances user adoption. 

4.    Cost of experiment

When we interviewed one of our customer he said this very well, that cloud provided them with lower cost of experimenting and they scaled as their business grew. Unlike in an on-premise CAPEX model - the cost of experimenting is so high that exit is a no option.

5.  Security 

As we interact with several leaders in business they evaluate/ quiz us on security and also do a proper due diligence but they no longer consider security as a biggest threat. With extensive digitization like online banking application, social media, online purchases etc. there is a sense of confidence. Majority of our customer also see their industry leaders adopting to it and gain confidence. 

But the key question is the cloud secure? In my own view, cloud is more secure than a server room of a mid-sized business. Cloud application and platform providers consider security as their biggest risk for their entire business. Cloud OEM's layout strong norms around third party validations, protection at application, facility and network level with strong.  

6.    Agile development

Cloud is flexible but the development approach also needs to be equally flexible and agile. A consultative approach helps improve success of cloud initiative. 

In our experience deployment can be either a "Curtain raiser" type project release which is packed with full functionalities and customized to all business requirement or alternatively roll-out in packs of smaller deployable processes. This not only helps business to get to market sooner with rapid deployment but also help users in adopting to the system in a sustained manner.  

Our customer are approaching deployment in both the models but the agile methodology is gaining stronger momentum. 

In nut shell, cloud technology by itself cannot be a game changer, but what we do with it and how users adopt and use it is the key to success. 

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