As evidenced by the business use-cases, benefits of using Cloud include:
We divulge some common risks that have been mitigated via the use of Cloud services. Some examples are:
At the same time, Cloud computing introduces some business risks that should be considered:
Traditional business thinking saw a choice between differentiating services or products through specialist or premium services on the one hand, and excelling in low-cost and competitive pricing through operational excellence on the other. However, combining both objectives is becoming more prevalent as companies compete or multi-source in niche and large markets through online channels.
Multiplicity of Business Objectives
Popular publications – including Wikinomics, The Long Tail, The World is Flat, and The Big Switch (see References) – all point towards the possibilities of new business models for companies where Cloud computing is a major part of a shift towards this style of thinking.
These objectives need to be balanced with a third fundamental business force: legal and environmental compliance. The divergence of these business goals through these new business models mean that the mandatory compliance issues and the awareness of strategic and operational threat risks must be considered.
Service cataloging is another important aspect of using Cloud as new public, hybrid, and private Cloud platforms create online channels for IT services provisioned from a “menu” style service offering.
Reliable cost allocation and charging models are benefits of using Cloud. This impacts the business as new virtual methods of pricing and billing change the way categories of services are allocated and managed across the enterprise. The use of policies to set individual and business-level financial budgets and approval processes is also impacted by Cloud options.
Certification and accreditation of providers in the areas of green and other categories is becoming increasingly important as primary criteria for vendor selection.
New procurement categories of IT services such as networks, storage, and compute services continue to evolve in support of dynamic business and IT models.
Service management is extending to support Cloud solutions and provide end-to-end views of a logical unit of work unbeknown to the service providers.
In this White Paper, we have explored many different use-cases for Cloud computing from several industries. Although some use-cases are industry-specific, there are still common themes of business value which emerge throughout the use-cases. Business leaders across industries will recognize some or all of these themes as key business value drivers required to optimize their business performance. The following is a summary of the key business value themes which emerge through a study of the use-cases.
One of the first business values which emerges from the use-cases is the ability to consolidate information across disparate systems with complete transparency to the user. When information is stored in the Cloud, the user does not need to know where the information is stored, whether in one Cloud server location or more. Through leveraging Cloud services, the user only needs to be concerned with creating report views, for example, regardless of where this information may be stored.
Another business value which surfaces in the use-cases, especially for businesses on a limited budget, is the ability to modernize their business systems at a low-cost and fast speed of deployment. With Cloud computing, new and innovative services can be deployed at a low cost given the elimination of typical CAPEX or OPEX spending required for new solutions. Instead of large upfront investments in hardware and software, business leaders engage with service providers to “rent” versus “buy” these new innovative services and solutions. This significantly reduces the cost of entry for new solutions and allows businesses to innovate quickly.
For businesses with a wide distribution of users accessing common desktop applications and services, business leaders immediately realize business value by moving to a remote desktop services model using the Cloud. As opposed to deploying hundreds or maybe thousands of applications across all desktops or laptops throughout the company, leading to high application license costs and requiring significant maintenance over time, enterprise employees can instead access desktop applications via Cloud services. With this model, users access applications when and where needed, then release the application license back to the Cloud so that other users in the company can share a common pool of licenses.
Another pain-point for many businesses is the need to support very high storage capacity requirements which can ebb and flow in size requirement throughout any given month or year. By leveraging storage capacity via the Cloud, businesses use and pay for only the storage capacity they need, when they need it, on demand. This model lowers CAPEX spending significantly by reducing the upfront server investment and ongoing maintenance costs while still maintaining the ability for infinite storage capacity.
Speed of deployment of new business solutions is the key to quickly driving return on investment for any business, yet deployment of new functionality can often be a bottleneck for businesses. In the use-cases, rapid deployment emerges as a consistent business value theme. With Cloud services, new solutions are accessed via the Cloud by end users, lowering time and cost to deploy solutions across many physical locations. Also, with this central control of IT, business value is driven by the ability to centrally manage user access for security purposes, perform IT maintenance, and address any IT problems.
Another consistent business value driver throughout the use-cases is the ability to provide IT using self-service capabilities. Take, for example, the business which requires a high level of development and test activity. In the new Cloud model, development employees can self-provision a very specific hardware and software environment for their testing purposes without requiring additional assistance from hardware and software support personnel. Instead, the developer accesses the Cloud, specifies the virtual hardware and software environment to be used for the test, runs the test, and then releases the virtual resources back to the Cloud for another future user of these assets. Because the developer can self-provision this environment, there are significant savings realized in labor cost and time.
In many of the use-cases, we see mobile services emerge as a common theme. Many solutions in enterprises are “going mobile”, whether supporting mobile employees or services to customers via mobile devices. With mobility services accessed and delivered via the Cloud, support for mobile users is transparent and available on-demand at lower costs to the enterprise.
To effectively drive business value across the corporation, it is imperative to support internal and external collaboration for employees and partners. To minimize cost while driving collaboration, many of the use-cases in this paper take advantage of collaboration via the Cloud to share documents and support meetings online to reduce travel costs. Any business leader will recognize the business value of lowering costs while at the same time nurturing a collaborative environment between employees, partners, and customers.
In summary, these use-cases demonstrate business value through optimizing resources, lowering costs, and providing solutions on-demand when and where your customers, partners, and employees need it. The ability to drive innovation while at the same time lower costs is a true business benefit to any enterprise.
“Today, CEOs are telling us that the complexity of operating in an increasingly volatile and uncertain world is their primary challenge. And, a surprising number of them told us that they feel ill-equipped to succeed in this drastically different world.”
[Source: Capitalizing on Complexity: Insights from the 2010 IBM Global CEO Study]
Considering the CEO Study data as well as the various business use-cases, it is expected that Cloud adoption will increase in an effort to drive business agility and equip stakeholders for continued success in a dynamic, volatile, and uncertain world. All indicators point towards the evolution of a richer set of Cloud business use-cases that center on business performance and optimization.
Key influencers of Cloud adoption are: