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10 Reasons Why Cloud Computing Will Assist with Growth and Recovery (Reason #1)

The Timing is Right for Cloud Computing and the Economic Realities of the
“New Normal”

A great portion of the debate during the 2012 Presidential Election centered on Economic Recovery.  Each candidate attempted to line out how their plan could reverse trends currently defining our economic environment.  The heat of the debate was certainly an indicator that Economic Recovery is one of the central issues of our time.

Now with the election done, inauguration right around the corner and the opportunities of 2013 stretching out in front of us, American Business Leaders, large and small, know that it ultimately up to them to get this economy moving in the right direction.  It’s always been that way.  Politicians can line up to take the credit when recovery occurs, while Business Leaders quietly make it happen as they deal with their own sets of realities specific to their business sector.

Between now and the inauguration I’ll present 10 Reasons why Cloud Computing Should be Part of a Company’s IT Strategy for growth and recovery.  As suggested in the title above, the timing is right.

The New Normal Makes the Timing Right
The realities of operating a business in today’s economy demands agility and openness to new and better ways of doing things.  Most economists predict that the business climate remains uncertain as the enterprise reacts to Federal Budget Policy changes including taxes.  Tight capital markets, down corporate investments, slowing exports and down productivity provide indicators that predict continued retarded growth trajectories.  With recession fresh in the memory of business and the chance of its return not out of the question, Business Leaders must pursue opportunities to operate effectively in an economy that many are defining with the disarmingly benign term the “New Normal”.

It is this “New Normal” that makes the timing right for the Cloud.  Cloud Computing offers business one of the few opportunities to lower cost, ramp agility, overcome deferred maintenance or investments, position for new markets without significant risk, align budgets with current business conditions, increase reliability and accomplish all of this with no capital outlay.

Components of the “New Normal” for IT

  • Flat Budgets while at the same time necessary increase in business demands, in other words do a whole lot more with a whole lost less.
  • For growth, business needs to explore new markets without being limited by the capital burden of IT build out.  Being flexible to give a new market a try, without the risk of capital spend upfront.
  • The typical Capital Budget Spending commonly called the “Spending Trap” becomes the “Competitive Performance Trap”.  If a company continues to pour precious IT dollars into internal maintenance and status quo, then it will loose the marketplace.
  • IT must become the provider of services rather than infrastructure.
  • IT as a revenue generator and not a cost center.
  • Continued disruption and Change

A solid Cloud Strategy has proven to work well in allowing businesses to focus on what matters most, their customers, processes and the employees who nurture them.  By reducing dependencies on internal infrastructure and capital expenditure that go along with the infrastructure, the Cloud Services customer is liberated to respond to the current economic conditions and needs of their business without the usual limitations of their old fixed cost data center and systems.  The variable cost operating model reduces financial risk and helps management of both the top and bottom line even as business conditions change.

Friday, January 11th will be reason #2… “The Cloud is Key to Competitive Advantage”





Reality of the “Street” Regarding Cloud Computing

It’s not often that I’m compelled to publish my comments in response to IT bloggers or writers of IT articles appearing in various business or IT publication…but recently I’ve read some pieces that require me to respond just so I can sleep at night!  Namely, these articles postulate that Cloud Computing has run its course or has reached its maximum relevance, never realizing what was “hyped”, and will soon be relegated to the “also ran” category of IT experiments.

When I read these articles I find myself wondering what parallel universe are these fellas writing from.  From first hand experience, with real world clients, and day to day operations in a market, the Reality of the Street in the real world  is that the Cloud is gaining in interest and building relevant results that not only achieve what is”hyped” but exceed the often reported benefit.

At its core, a good Cloud strategy provides benefits of liberation of trapped IT resources.  Liberation of IT spending that does nothing more than keep the existing IT plumbing working.  Liberation of trapped IT personnel that must focus on keeping the plumbing working.  Liberation of IT creativity, perhaps the most important area of liberation, allowing IT staff to develop and deploy IT solutions that face the customer and drive revenue.  This power of liberation by the Cloud is not hype.  Its going on as I write and it continues to fuel Cloud expansion.

While I write from experience, dealing with real customers as they implement their Cloud Strategy and achieve results, the alternative point of view is being developed from simple observations of things such as speculative dialogue and Google search statistics.  These writers speculate that the Cloud might be dying because people are not searching for the term Cloud Computing as often. Really!  Come on, potential Cloud customers are no longer doing that type of simple search of “Cloud Computing”. They’ve moved past that level of elementary investigation of building Cloud Strategies. Today, the search is about particular solutions in the Cloud such as Back-Up, Email, Disaster Recovery, and the list goes on.  The Cloud has moved past some ubiquitous or esoteric term to specific solutions that provide the “hyped” benefits previously promised. The reality is there is not a singular path to the Cloud found with the Google search of Cloud Computing.

The real measurement of Cloud momentum is the amount of work underway in the development of Cloud strategies being conducted by clients and their Cloud Service Providers.  Survey the market and you will find that virtually every business is in some state of Cloud consideration.  Cloud Service Providers are adding customers at increasing rates and the applications that CSPs are providing are growing in sophistication and addressing specific needs of the marketplace.

Come on IT pundits.  Take a look where the rubber meets the road, down here at the Street Level.  Our reality is the Cloud has never looked better.

Top 5 Reasons to Consider Cloud Computing

For many small and medium sized businesses, owning and managing in-house hardware (servers, storage, etc.) is an IT model that no longer makes sense in today’s environment.  The rapidly changing demands on IT and on companies in general requires a level of agility that is next to impossible with in-house infrastructure.  In-house servers are not equipped to handle the demands of a mobile and distributed workforce and they remain expensive to purchase, upgrade, and maintain.

The advent of Cloud Computing and of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) in particular not only reduces the cost of IT, it also removes much of the risk associated with in-house infrastructure – both financial risk and technology risk.  So, why are today’s nimble organizations choosing Cloud Computing and IaaS as the future of their IT strategy?

  1. Capital Expenditure and Operational Expense – IaaS eliminates capital expenditures on hardware and greatly reduces the budgets allocated to maintenance and support.  By freeing up these dollars, companies are more able to use them for innovative purposes.
  2. Hardware Maintenance and Management – Sure, there is a financial benefit to IaaS, but often overlooked is the operational advantage of freeing up IT Professionals to work on projects that move the business forward rather than spending time on mundane hardware maintenance and support.
  3. Reliability and Uptime – Premise-based infrastructure is rarely deployed with redundant power sources, redundant bandwidth or redundant hardware in place.  Certainly, it’s rare to find an internal IT Organization that would stake its reputation on 100% uptime.  With Cloud IaaS, 100% uptime is exactly what customers receive.
  4. Physical Security – In house hardware is often housed in a “server closet” or a somewhat secure datacenter.  The reality is that physical security of data infrastructure is only  as good as the typical office security.  In the FracRack Cloud Datacenter, all infrastructure is secured in a top-tier datacenter with 24-hour surveillance and staffing, key card authentication, and physically locked cages and server racks.  Security in the cloud is paramount.
  5. Planning for the Future – As premise-based equipment ages and slows, IT is on a constant treadmill of spending and planning for the next purchase.  Cloud Iaas makes IT infrastructure “future-proof” as the Cloud Service Provider constantly maintains the datacenter at a state-of-the art level.  It’s simply a requirement of doing business for the CSP.
These are the typical reasons for companies adopting Cloud Computing and IaaS.  Does your company have a Cloud Strategy?  If not, it’s time to create one.