Cloud – A view on why it’s still overcast in CIOs’ minds!

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Many organizations are talking about SaaS, PaaS,and IaaS or rather Anything as a Service for known benefits, but the decision making is very slow when it comes to adoption of cloud. There are some reasons that the CIOs are not fully convinced yet. Reality is that SaaS solutions have seen some resonance with the big enterprise customer, but the penetration is minimal. The packaged cloud solutions are great and have a market potential, but CIOs will adopt cloud only if it solves their business problems and if it’s a solution, which canfit into their existing IT echo-system.

CIOs deciding about the cloud transformation and considering the solutions available in the market, realize that there are gaps in what is being offered. To instill more confidence in CIOs’ minds, we can consider the following enhancements to the cloud offerings. The sevenways that we can extend cloud are:

I. Extensions for the core offering: We have learnt from our legacy IT application portfolios that no IT solution can exist as a Silo. The traditional solutions were required to work with each other and the expectations from the SaaS services are going to be no different.So even in the selection of a SaaS service, importance should be given to the APIs and Web interfaces support for these solutions. Weightage should be given to the additional extensions offered by the partner network.

II. Integration framework and Services: Once we have given a serious look to the extendibility of the SaaS solutions and if the gap still exists, then there are solutions and services available in the market that will integrate any standards based solutions. Services like Boomi and Informatica Cloud can integrate any kind of SaaS services, on-premise applications, databases, flat files, file feeds and social messaging sites etc.Enterprise Service Bus vendors can also be used to develop a custom solution for peculiar integration requirements of enterprise customers.

III. Supporting Mobile Devices (BYOD): Bring your own Device is an accepted policy in most organizations. The IT department is measured by the devices it supports and manages to extend the same stringent security policy to mobile devices as to in-house desktops. The SaaS services are faced with increasing demand to be device aware. The SaaS service can be accessed from a desktop, laptop, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android phone, windows phone or Symbian device. Clouda pplications are expected to be aware of which device and browser it is being accessed from and render accordingly.

IV. Provisions for Social Computing: When we are going to provide services on the network and we are going to consume services from the web, then it will be a fair assumption that the providers will like to promote the services and users will like to provide feedback.The customers looking to buy these services will look for referrals and ratings for these services online. SaaS services will need to provide a platform for the users to form a community. Either the platform should be part of the service or there should be provisions to use the social platforms already available. Integration of social computing will help both the providers and users.  The mutual benefit to both providers and users will help to create meaningful services for the users and will result in increasing the user-base and revenue for the service.

V. MDM, Big Data & Analytics On-demand subscription based services is going to encourage many users to adopt cloud services. These cloud applications and users in result will churn out Terabytes of data. The unstructured data once consolidated and analyzed can shape the future of the organization in terms of shaping their products, messaging and delivery in the market to bring them closer to the needs of the consumer and innovative ways of packaging and flexibility, which can provide an edge in the competitive landscape.Big Data offered as a cloud service with Analytics should be able to provide meaningful reports to better understand and have 360 degrees view of consumers and providers.Hence all the benefits of MDM and Big data in service creation, service promotion, customer service, loyalty Programs, shelf displays and customer retention should also be applicable in the case of cloud services.

VI. Cloud Service Broker A mix of cloud service providers hosted on public or private hybrid cloud environments providing services over the network to cloud service consumers, creates a complex infrastructure environment and monetization setup. The challenges are for the IT administration team to manage this complexity. IT team will like to work with a platform to aggregate these services from different vendors, to provision and de-provision services for all the users, manage the licenses, raise support tickets and track these to resolution form a single window.IT team will administer accountability and resource optimization with the help of features of chargeback. One single bill for all the services to a department and consolidation of licenses at the organization level will bring in a lot of clarity and simplicity to finance department.The Cloud broking platform is extremely useful when it comes equipped with a configurable catalogue of services.

VII. GovernanceA cloud service will only provide maximum value once it becomes a part of the IT service delivery tied to business goals and objectives of the organization. This is essential not only for highest levels of service delivery to be maintained but also because of security and compliance requirements. Organizations adopting processes for Service Strategy, service Design, Service Transition and Service Operation will be able to tie in the services to the business goals. The processes for Supplier Management, Service Level Management, Service Catalogue Management and Availability Management will provide greater monitoring and controls necessary for running the service to expected levels of Quality of Service (QOS). All the other processes for Change, Release, Incident, knowledge, Configuration and Testing will make these services part of the administration and control required by the IT department to deliver these services successfully.

To summarize cloud adoption is at a critical inflection point and as solution providers spearheading this change we should make the transitions as comfortable as we can for diverse customers. We have moved ahead of the initial skepticism and understand the benefits, but to make it easier for the enterprises already with a large complex IT environment to adopt cloud services we need to provide a well-integrated cohesive solution with all the components so that it becomes an integral part of organization growth and roadmap for achieving success.

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