Regardless if you are for or against adopting the cloud as part of your organization's computing infrastructure and/or as a replacement for that tired, multitenant software architecture of yours, as an IT professional or executive, you need a cloud strategy!
Do you think I sound like a snake oil salesman? Already coming up with the same old excuses as to why the cloud isn't a viable alternative to your on-premise data center? Well, you need to start to get over that bias of yours as you can't argue with a multi-billion dollar industry that is progressively occupying a bigger portion of the technology provider-type market share. (Need evidence of this? Just take a look at Salesforce.com's/NYSE: CRM's last income statement.) Additionally, if your competitors haven't already considered an adoption strategy, they're most likely currently in the process of migrating toward at least a hybrid approach toward cloud computing. It's time to do your diligence and draw up a new SWOT analysis matrix, because your organization will inevitably pay more when it's forced into the cloud years down the road, or lose business to competitors when they're able to capitalize on your indifference.
As alluded to before, there is still quite a bit of distrust and cynicism when it comes to the cloud, especially from IT professionals who've gone complacent and nested themselves between power hungry server racks. I don't mean to sound cynical myself, but the truth of the matter is that on-premise environments actually hinder an organization's ability to scale their technology according to operational business values, or with product or service development. Furthermore, the more an organization concerns itself with the details of running IT services in house, instead of on-demand, the more stretched an already bloated IT budget will become. Not to say that formulating a cloud adoption/migration strategy can't become problematic and expensive (especially for organization's with legacy systems), but those who have the power to make these types of decisions need to start asking themselves how much of their IT budget is dedicated towards application development, and how much is spent on supporting the hardware and software needed to run them.
The same platitudes regarding the dependability, cost and security of cloud-based services just won't cut it these days. If you're an IT professional who reports to an executive and you're throwing a barrier between cloud adoption and your firewall, or you're an executive who usually delegates these types of decisions to "the professionals", stop! The cloud offers a profitable way, in monetary terms, as well as in terms of the unexpected benefits an organization can achieve by adopting what is actually a more reliable and, plausibly, just as secure approach to computing.
In the coming weeks, I plan to make a concerted case for the cloud, and prove how the benefits can vastly outweigh any presumed risks. I'll do this by discussing topics like how IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) on-demand software/platforms can bring about change in both your IT and non-IT related staff alike. Hopefully, in the end, you'll get the sense that by formulating a well-intentioned cloud strategy, your organization will become more productive, cost-effective and capable of allocating your IT resources to scale with organizational goals.
Ian is a manager of business intelligence/analytics for a small cap NYSE traded energy company. He also freelance writes about business and technology, as well as consults SMBs upon Internet marketing strategy.