The cloud changes everything. That’s the consensus view. Whether it’s remote infrastructure management, software as a service, or utility computing or all of these strategies combined in some way, the cloud is changing the IT services market.
But forget the hype you read in a lot of the business press. Most of us are already using cloud-based services in our daily life with photo-sharing, video-sharing, document-sharing services, or even tools like Google Apps and Gmail. The question is really how do we move from here to a place where these tools can be used in a bulletproof and robust corporate environment?
It’s a tall order. IT leaders have a different focus to personal end users, particularly when it comes to availability and security. These are particularly important factors when the IT service is purchased from a supplier and will translate into key performance indicators applied to a service level agreement. The small print of the publicly available services does include information about service levels, but it will usually just excuse the provider from any responsibility to give you a reliable service.
If Google Mail was never available when you wanted to use it then it would be abandoned and never used, but it’s reliable enough for most of us most of the time. Google does offer a paid version of their mail product, with SLAs, so it works better for corporate users who want that guarantee.
But can real companies make this work? It’s more than a year now since Guardian News and Media Group in the UK switched 2500 users over to Google Apps and with it being such an easy financial decision, more will follow – so it can be done…
The cloud is coming and it will change more traditional bread and butter IT services such as ERP and CRM for the supplier market. But how does all of this work in a regulated market such as the public sector, banking, or for a utility. What are your thoughts?