Everyone is talking about the cloud — not just what it is, but also how it works. But what are we doing with all of this conversation?
Here I'll highlight the growth of cloud services in enterprise, government and small to medium businesses (SMB).
The cloud is able to influence your organization’s direction. Mobility for both stakeholders (strategic) and end users (tactical) is changing how we accomplish almost everything. Opportunities vary and abound depending on your organization’s needs and the cloud ecosystem* that you build using one or a combination of the three cloud models: public, private and hybrid.
* Ecosystem: your cloud. The combination of tools and services you use. All of the cloud applications services YOU are consuming in YOUR business or personal life from what is available in the cloud.
The versatility of the public cloud is similar to first-world utilities. As consumers we are able to plug and play on an electric or water grid provided by an ecosystem of connectivity, people and resources; the information and accessibility offered by the cloud provides a Rubik’s Cube of opportunities. e.g. social, business, disaster recovery, education, world health, defense and community.
Hybrid cloud: This is a composition of public cloud offerings, such as email and off-site backup, while continuing to use your on-site or private cloud-based productivity resources.
Private cloud: Cloud service providers such as GoDaddy, 1&1 and Rackspace offer private cloud options as do many local data centers. These companies will install your system, maintain it and act as your managed services provider.
The Human Element and Cloud Technology
The irony of this coming-of-age story is that the older demographics are yearning to learn more. While boomers embrace technology as a second language, Millennials continue to struggle with socializing the old-fashion way — in person. Here lays the new challenges of addressing the soft side of technology, you and me: the human element.
Today we are well into 2015 and the noise in the cloud space is deafening. Enterprise-level cloud services organizations are full steam ahead with their billion-dollar budgets and a thirst for market share.
The federal government in the United States is more than capable of implementing a 21st century shared-services model, yet it is encumbered by old-school thinking, compliancy and outdated purchasing models. Education and resultant legislation is required for related change. At this juncture, at a minimum, the U.S. Congress should require the Office of Management to report to Congress quarterly on each agencies' successes in addressing OMB’s 25-point implementation plan in addition to addressing the human capital issues of retention, retraining and retiring.
Adoption by small and medium businesses is still a few years out due to a lack of simplicity in adoption in cloud services and acute security concerns.
Looking Forward Into the Cloud
In 2014, Hewlett Packard and IBM, the stalwarts of the capitalized hardware model, succumbed to the pressure and joined Google, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (among others) in the race to embrace the cloud. Not only are HP and IBM offering cloud services, they are embracing the open-source concept. This is a huge cultural shift for both organizations and shows that all directions point towards the cloud.
As Net Neutrality lawsuits and the like ramp up, cloud consumers will witness a visible struggle between the public and private sectors as the cloud’s multiple players wrestle with being regulated or being good citizens and developing and adhering to consensus standards.
The consumers are the ones who win when it comes to the cost of operating an enterprise-level network via the public cloud, which is dropping to the point that it will soon be pennies on the dollar to accomplish similar computing tasks as compared to five to 10 years ago.
Consumers are beginning to recognize the value of a cloud middleman. Hence, you will soon be using a cloud services brokerage to assist in cloud journey. According to the information technology research and advisory firm Gartner, "by the end of 2015 20% of all cloud services will be consumed via an internal or external cloud services brokerage." Enterprises and even government will no longer be swimming through the sea of cloud services providers alone.
MBA programs will soon offer a cloud program to augment their curriculum and competitiveness. Governments on all levels will embrace the concept of shared services only once it is mandated.
The year 2015 will continue to find leaders looking for a one-stop-shop convenience, and this convenience will be realized with the all-encompassing proverbial desktop. Desktop as a Service (DaaS) will take center stage and evolve as individual Software as a Service (SaaS) applications begin their decline.