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November 27, 2013

Guest Blog: Beyond TCO, the real value of the cloud

Adrian Simpson, CIO at SAP UKI, separates myth from reality when it comes to cloud.

By Cbr Rolling Blog

Ask ten people what the cloud is and you’ll probably get ten different answers. The cloud is fast becoming the defacto standard for deploying and managing technology. But there’s still a lot of confusion about what the cloud actually is and what it can do for business. Here are the top five myths about the cloud…and the reality behind them:

Myth: The cloud is all about IT and total cost of ownership

Reality: The cloud is about driving new levels of process efficiency, collaboration, and insight. Line-of-Business (LoB) executives are embracing cloud to accelerate business transformation. In fact, IDC predicts that by 2016, LoB executives will be involved in 80% of all new IT investments and will function as the lead decision makers in more than half of those investments.

And, while the cloud certainly offers a cost advantage, the real benefit the cloud brings to business comes in two flavours: innovation and agility. With easy configuration and advanced development platforms, the cloud gives companies the agility they need to quickly adapt processes to capitalise on changing market dynamics and stay ahead of the competition.

More importantly, businesses are tapping the cloud to enable new processes, gain new insights, and unlock new value. According to IDC, "Over the next several years, the primary driver for cloud adoption will shift from economics to innovation as leading-edge companies invest in cloud services as the foundation for new competitive offerings."

 

Myth: You’re either on-premise or in the cloud. You can’t be both.

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Reality: The cloud is no longer an either/or proposition. It’s not even an "and" proposition. It’s an "and better" one. The cloud gives businesses both flexibility and choice. And with the right vendor, you can mix public cloud applications and services, private cloud managed services, and on-premise technology to meet your company’s specific needs.

In fact, a Wakefield Research study found that more than two-thirds of CIOs have adopted hybrid cloud models: extending their on-premise applications and infrastructures with the cloud. In other words, you can get your cloud, your way and extend your existing infrastructure or apps to enable your business to start gaining the many benefits the cloud offers.

 

Myth: The cloud isn’t a proven platform for business

Reality: The cloud has transformed the very nature of business and engagement. Just as consumers use social tools and networks to shop, share and consume better, companies are leveraging cloud-based apps and business networks to collaborate more efficiently, connecting and interacting with ever-expanding communities of customers, suppliers and peers.

Businesses of all sizes, from Fortune 100 to SMEs, are using the cloud not only to accelerate process efficiency and productivity but to gain new insights, engage customers and partners in new ways, and, even, to unleash new operating and business models that drive profitability and advantage in today’s ultra-competitive marketplace. In fact, it has been estimated that by 2016, 75% of new IT expenditures will be for cloud or hybrid systems.

 

Myth: The cloud isn’t secure

Reality: Cloud applications are developed with the same security mindset as on-premise software and maintained with frequent updates to ensure that the latest security standards are always in place. Leading cloud service providers ascribe to international security standards, such as SAS-70 Type II, ISO 27001, SSAE, PCI, and more. They also employ measures to prevent attacks from the Internet and attempted theft of customer data, including physical security.

Cloud solutions are in use by some of the most security-conscious organisations in the world – from government and military to R&D and financial institutions. And many companies have found that the cloud can provide an even more secure and up-to-date application and transaction environment than they could maintain on their own. According to IDC, "a cloud-based solution can deliver consistent, universal security policies for users wherever they are located — inside the office, at home, or in a hotel room — at any time."

 

Myth: The cloud can’t adapt to my business

Reality: The beauty of the cloud lies in its scalability and flexibility. With easy configuration, public and private delivery options, and advanced development platforms, the cloud gives companies the ability to innovate quickly and design and deploy new applications and business processes that meet their unique requirements even faster to capitalise on changing market dynamics and stay ahead of the competition.

Some companies view the cloud as just another deployment option. But savvy organisations see it for what it really is: a requirement for success in today’s fast-moving world where agility and innovation determine winners and losers.

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