The impact of Internet technologies and digital convergence has brought about a sea-change in the organisation and deployment of corporate ICT services. In hardware, potential benefits have accrued form harnessing the increasing power and cost-effectiveness of equipment.
In the software front, improved hardware infrastructures have allowed the development of cloud-based environments with “As-a-Service” as a key feature of the systems infrastructure. For example, Software-as-a-Service (“SaaS”) is now a common way of deploying applications in a cloud environment.
Why should you consider moving your ICT infrastructure to the cloud? And should it be a private or hosted (on-premise or off-site) cloud? Here are four benefits of a cloud environment in either private or public spaces.
Cost and Management Benefits
The major benefits principally lie in reductions and fixing of operational costs and in easier management.
In a hosted environment, the hosting fees are a fixed regular cost which can be easily included in corporate budgets. The hosting organisation is responsible for providing and maintaining the physical infrastructure and software environment supporting the corporate systems. This will include the upgrading and supply of equipment needed to maintain agreed service levels. At their cost.
The main saving in operational costs will come in reductions in the costs of technical maintenance services and increased productivity. Central control of the cloud environment will reduce operational costs, increase responsiveness and reduce downtime.
As an example, in using a virtual desktop environment, users are presented with a standard environment they cannot change, thereby sharply reducing the probability of their introducing incompatibilities to their desktop software and causing downtime reducing their effectiveness.
Customers, both existing and prospective nowadays expect to have immediate access to a corporate website from their smart devices. Their view of an organisation is often highly dependent on the ease of access and the quality of their online interaction.
Staff also expect to be able to use corporate systems from anywhere on their mobile devices while out of the office.
As a result, one of the major requirements of industry and commerce today is to provide customers with immediate access to corporate websites. They also need to provide staff with access to corporate information to be able to interact with the corporate database at any time and from anywhere using a variety of different devices and access types.
Because the cloud itself is based around Internet technologies, it is agnostic when it comes to the type of device trying to connect and how it is trying to connect, provided of course that the device conforms to standard Internet access protocols, and to the local security profile.
This allows mobile workers to access corporate data from anywhere using a variety of devices, laptops, tablets, even smartphones over a variety of connection types. The increasing availability of WiFi in public spaces also makes it much easier to link up.
From a prospective or existing customer standpoint, it increases their ability to interact with the organisation from their desktop or a mobile smart device, again from anywhere.
The result – a heightened company profile and improved customer and staff confidence.
The pace of software development of existing applications and the availability of new applications software, both central and as apps on smart devices is increasing.
At a strategic level, it causes difficulties in marrying the long-term corporate ICT strategy with immediate imperatives. At an operational level, it can cause support issues by increasing the technical support requirements.
A major task in any ICT organisation is, therefore, to keep up to date with major software releases and bug fixes. It takes up a lot of time and resources. In a hosted environment, this becomes the responsibility of the hosting organisation and falls under their budget. In an on-premise environment, not so.
Moving from an on-premise environment to a cloud environment is not an easy transition. The skills needed are generally not needed in the organisation when the migration is complete. After the organisation makes its strategic decision to move to the cloud, there are many organisations willing to assist with transition and support thereafter.
The case for migrating to the cloud is clear from cost, operational and strategic viewpoints.