Cloud can solve complex problems and unlock opportunities for businesses and IT. In part 1, we began our exploration of the cloud value propositions. In this part, we’ll look at a few more benefits that cloud can offer. Some of the contents below have been adapted from my book chapter entitled “Cloud Computing Terms, Definitions, and Taxonomy.”
Today’s businesses need to be agile, innovative and responsive to market and customer demands in the shortest possible time. Faster time to market is very crucial for staying ahead of the fierce competition. Traditional IT systems cannot cope with this challenge. They fail to perform within time and budget because of a massive amount of time wasted in seeking approvals, procurement, hardware arrivals and manual configurations. The following figure shows some statistics for IT projects that fail to deliver within time and budget (the data was accurate as of 2012). I have also highlighted this concern in my earlier blog post “IBM PureSystems: A cloud computing genie.”
The automated provisioning offered by cloud computing reduces human interventions, reduces configurations errors and allows faster setup and operational readiness. This results in IT agility to meet challenging and ever-changing business needs. Using any of the three cloud delivery models (public, private and hybrid), an organization can use on-demand computing from different providers or an in-house cloud data center and set up the required software and hardware environment quickly. Skilled resources do not have to wait for the arrival of IT infrastructure for a long period, unlike the conventional IT model. Also IT human resources do not need to occupy themselves with mundane tasks of configuring the servers. Thus the cloud model frees skilled resources that can be leveraged over many productive and innovative business developments. This enhanced delivery model enables better customer retention, growth of business (horizontal market expansion) and faster time to market.
Elasticity and economies of scale
According to Gartner,
“In the service provider view, cloud service elasticity is the ability to increase or decrease the amount of system capacity (for example, CPU, storage, memory and input/output bandwidth) that is available for a given cloud service on demand, in an automated fashion. This gives their customers the perception of unlimited capacity.”
The traditional IT delivery model often struggles with forecasting future data growth and capacity planning. Unprecedented data growth from a variety of sources makes it difficult for conventional IT systems to keep up with customer demands. In recent years we’ve seen how companies with traditional IT systems have failed to cope with the unpredictable nature of data demand. This leads to dissatisfied customers and loss of business.
I have explained in another blog post, “Sports fanatic cloud – Episode 1: Australian Open,” that many companies often overprovision or underprovision their IT resources. If you overprovision, you’re wasting money and resources. On the other hand, if you underprovision, your IT system cannot cope with the data traffic and demand from customers. Only a dynamic IT infrastructure like cloud computing can rapidly scale up or down depending on the peaks and valleys of data traffic and demand. This elasticity feature of cloud computing can be attributed to massive data centers that the cloud providers have built. This enormous pool of resources and the economies of scale allow an organization to forget the solicitude of capacity planning. Autonomous provisioning or de-provisioning of IT resources facilitates keeping up with changing demands.
Cloud computing equips an organization to sustain itself even up against tough competition. As customer demands, social and market trends, and technologies change, organizations need to offer new products to the market and be innovative. Undoubtedly information technology has been an integral part of every company in this digital age. However, as businesses and IT systems become complex, IT can be an inhibitor to a company’s success if not properly managed. IT leaders around the world are concerned because old data centers are environmentally and economically unsustainable due to poor resource utilizations and efficiency as well as design that is incapable of supporting today’s dynamic traffic.
Dynamic businesses need dynamic IT infrastructure. Cloud computing is the new IT tool to sustain and maintain business growth these days. If business owners can rent computing resources from a cloud service provider, they don’t need to worry about purchasing or managing their own IT infrastructure. The money and human resources saved can be invested in other business-critical areas. Cloud enables a business to do more with less. Thus an organization improves its productivity and lowers operating costs. Consequently, the price of services or products goes down and the company becomes more competitive. The money saved by leveraging cloud can thus be used for expanding the business.
Stay tuned for part 3, in which I will feature more game-changing benefits of cloud computing.
Shamim Hossain is an experienced technical team leader and project manager leading a number of complex and global projects with involvement in the full project lifecycle ranging from planning, analysis, design, test and build through to deployment. He is an IBM Certified Cloud Solution Advisor and Cloud Solution Architect. You can reach him on Twitter @shamimshossain.
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