An Intelligent Approach to Cloud Computing

It's essential to know which business goals your organization is trying to accomplish.

Over the last six years, the term cloud computing has gone from downright obscure to de rigueur. Just because something is commonly used, however, does not mean that it’s commonly understood. In fact, as I point out in Message Not Received, there’s often a world of difference between the two. And that gap can cause massive problems, the subject of Why New Systems Fail.

Put differently, cloud computing seems to have finally crossed to chasm, to steal from Geoffrey Moore’s iconic business book. (You see, I don’t just quote my own texts.) Visually, this can be represented below:

The relatively slow adoption of cloud computing stems from many factors. Many mid-level IT folks haven’t exactly spearheaded initiatives that may could have jeopardized their careers. A terrible economy certainly didn’t help. Beyond that, many organizations have historically emphasized the costs and risks of cloud computing over its benefits. Now that more success stories and case studies are available, that tide is starting to change.

Now that more success stories and case studies are available, the tide is changing.

More and more, organizations are buying into the long-term viability and potential of cloud computing. Still, there’s no one “cloud” switch, and foolish is the CIO who thinks otherwise. (For more on this, see Five Tenets of Cloud Computing.) Rare is the the executive who wants to risk even a remote chance of massive system disruption.

Where to Begin? A Few Starter Questions.

Recent research reveals that the secret to happiness seems to stem from realistic expectations. Ignore enterprise parallels at your own peril. For starters, realize the following:

  • No cloud (public, private, or hybrid) magically fixes dysfunctional organizations.
  • It does not purify bad data.
  • It does not fix broken business processes.
  • Adding new technologies without attendant subtractions (cloud-based or otherwise) only increases costs.

If you understand these precepts, then you’re less likely to be disappointed. It’s also essential to know which business goals your organization is trying to accomplish. Is it speed at all costs? Is it maximum security? Launching more modern apps? Is it a bit of all of them? Something else? Seriously think about these issues before you begin your search for partners.

Simon Says: An Intelligent Approach to Cloud Computing Requires Asking Fundamental Questions

Ask an architect to build you a house and he or she will answer with more questions: What kind of house? How many floors? How many bathrooms? Without answers to these questions, the homeowner won’t be satisfied with the end result. Understand this going in.

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IBM sponsored this post. The opinions in it are mine alone.

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