Cloud Conversations: Changing the Way We Talk Cloud

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We’re in the middle of one of the biggest periods of accelerated innovation caused by digital disruption. With more than 30 percent of the 100 largest vendors’ new software investments predicted to have shifted from cloud-first to cloud-only by 2019 according to Gartner, we talk to some of the foremost commentators on cloud computing to explore the transformational period of digital IT that we’re currently experiencing.

Our first Cloud Conversation sees us speak with Ian Moyse a Board Member at the Cloud Industry Forum. Established in 2009 to provide transparency through certification to a Code of Practice for credible online cloud service providers, today the CIF is the one of the foremost industry organisations enabling and empowering the widespread adoption of these services.

ian-moyseWe all know that cloud is nothing new. What’s evolving are the applications that it’s enabling every day. For this reason, the dialect around cloud computing has always puzzled me somewhat. Every day I read and hear about hybrid models, load balancing and the like. Of course these conversations have their place but the majority of businesses (particularly when we talk about the board-level team) just don’t want, or need, to talk in these terms.

Instead, we should be asking: “What are the challenges my business faces today.” At this stage, I’m always tempted to forget the technology and focus on what could be better in a business. Could products be brought to market quicker? Are customers being served efficiently enough? Do existing systems facilitate speedy app rollout?

For some businesses, the ultimate ambition might be as simple as enabling users to be able to access crucial applications remotely on their phones.

These are the questions that get business leaders excited and mean that the conversation can quickly shift to enabling positive change and the delivery models involved.

Which of course means a discussion about cloud and interconnected services. When you consider that these conversations centre on an industry that’s expected to affect more than $1 Trillion in IT spending by 2020, we need to be sure that we’re getting it right.

Most of the people involved in the conversation react to the word cloud and not the capabilities it’s delivering for them. Whether it’s Software, Infrastructure or Platform as-a-service, the convergence of multiple technologies is realising some truly exciting results. It’s during this process that enterprises realise that not all technologies are created equal and that actually, genuine innovation is achievable even in the most change-resistant businesses.

One of the biggest barriers to this conversation taking place in the first place is the range of technologies out there. There’s a common misconception amongst many of the businesses I talk to that private infrastructure and public infrastructure have pretty much the same capabilities and that it’s just a matter of willingness to evolve. The response to the possibility of the cloud then becomes an emotive one built around a resistance to change and hesitance to disrupt the status quo. More often than not, this response is also based around concerns that moving to a cloud infrastructure model would result in performance-related issues in the short term or that reliability issues would start to creep in to processes which are running “just fine” on private systems.

Data sovereignty laws have also been aired as a concern amongst even those enterprises that recognised the advantages cloud economics offers.

But once these misconceptions are put to one side and executives focus on purely what they would like their business, their employees or their customers to be able to do, the difference quickly becomes apparent.

Inevitably, these conversations centre around the convergence of the dominant technologies of our time, namely mobile, social media platforms and the Internet of Things. When businesses, and those in charge of delivering change, stop thinking in terms of the enabling technologies and start to consider what it is their customers or employees want the most, the cloud quickly becomes the only answer.

Of course, these solutions don’t sit in isolation. Their interconnection is absolutely imperative. This represents perhaps the biggest shift in enterprise computing: putting business strategy fully in control of IT infrastructure rather than feeling restrained by it.

Amidst the monumental change that we’re seeing, it’s the upward pressure from users and customers who are driving a higher expectation of their provider or employer. These people aren’t asking for cloud-enabled services. They’re asking for functionalities, capabilities and better ways of operating. If businesses think in these same terms, the barriers to achieving them will quickly start to come down.”

Digital disruption cannot be ignored, and its impact could rival the ease-of-use innovations of personal computing. If you’re interested in the transformational possibilities of IT engineered at the Digital Edge, download our edge manifesto with Gartner http://www.equinix.com/resources/analyst-reports/gartner-the-edge-manifesto/ and stay tuned for more Cloud Conversations.

 

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