Picture this: you are a part of a multinational retailer of consumer electronics and you decide to quickly develop and deploy a social application to achieve your goals for the shopping season. You are confronted with a very aggressive timeline, meaning that your social application may have to scale up very quickly.

The timeline may not even be possible through your company’s traditional IT channel. So what do you do? One option would be to leverage cloud computing to deploy the social app to gear up for the shopping season.

The cloud computing paradigm presents many options including:

  • Using platform as a service (PaaS) to build this application quickly
  • Building the application using traditional technologies, deploying it on an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform and scaling on demand.

The bottom line is that you can rapidly deploy scalable applications in the cloud, by leveraging the key features of flexibility, scalability and on-demand resources.

There is no doubt that cloud is re-inventing the way IT can rapidly enable business outcomes. Gartner has found that by the end of 2013, the size of the cloud computing market worldwide will reach $150 billion. Additionally, by the end of 2016, more than 50 percent of Global 1000 companies will store customer-sensitive data in the public cloud.

It is time for your organisation to consider adopting cloud computing, if you have not yet already. But, where do you begin? And, what benefits can you expect?

For an organisation to adopt a sound cloud computing program, it is paramount to set clear objectives that span from the top of the line, such as productivity gains, to the bottom line, like operational expenses. Most often, cloud computing is viewed as a means to move from Capex to Opex. While this may be true, cloud computing also provides many other benefits that are often overlooked, some of which may be the key objectives that organisations should focus on while adopting the cloud.

Here, I have identified five key objectives that companies should bear in mind when embarking on a cloud computing project, to ensure they experience the full benefits that the technology can deliver:

1. Increased Focus On Business

Organisations often fail to include business agility and capability as part of their cloud computing objectives. The ability to focus on the core business while leaving the rest to the cloud service provider ensures business growth and productivity. This focus also enables scalability of resources for business needs, due to availability of flexible infrastructure and presence of remote machines, helping to facilitate a superior user experience through agile and robust cloud services.

2. Faster Time-To-Market

Cloud platforms not only provide computing and network resources, but also provide enterprise frameworks, such as authentication, authorisation, user interface and workflow. The use of these frameworks reduces the overall time-to-market as no time is wasted in set-up.

3. Increased Business Agility

Some cloud platforms empower business users to make effective changes to functionality through configuration. This reduces the dependency on development teams and results in increased business agility.

4. Reduced Operational Costs

The seamless integration of applications in the enterprise architecture results in low maintenance and support, thereby reducing the overhead costs. Companies can also reduce hardware, software and licensing costs, as cloud services operate in the pay-as-you-use model. This results in predictable operation expenditures with minimum deployment cost and almost zero capital expenditure. Additionally, automatic security and software updates shrink IT infrastructure maintenance costs.

5. Lower Development Costs

Adoption of cloud ensures faster time-to-market and significantly reduces total cost of ownership (TCO) from cost savings associated with application development, maintenance and development of new capabilities. At one of my company’s recent successful client PaaS engagements, I observed that one client tripled their output of custom applications and doubled annual enhancements from one to two.