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June 3, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 11:31am

Are these 5 cloud computing considerations more crucial than you thought?

Cloud computing is evolving. Boardroom agendas must evolve with it.

By Duncan Macrae

Cloud has been on a lot of boardroom agendas for quite a while, but typically those discussions have focused on using cloud around edge applications – expenses management, human capital management or perhaps CRM. However, as the cloud cover extends to business critical processes and core activities, new considerations for enterprise cloud deployment have arisen. CBR teamed up with Jim Plourde,VP SaaS solutions at Infor, to bring you five of the most important ones.

1) You should not know that your cloud is there.

Cloud delivered applications should be invisible – there should be no difference whatsoever to end users when they are faced with an application via the cloud or on premise. This begins with the user interface which needs to be intuitive and – critically – consistent across desktop, tablet and mobile devices. Much of the success of the likes of Facebook is due to the fact that the social experience is not interrupted or disrupted by the cloud behind it and that the interface is so consistent. This invisibility also apples to performance – the cloud delivered applications must be just as quick – if not faster – than on premise alternatives.

2) Your cloud should be heavy and solid.

Businesses should not have to sacrifice functionality when it comes to the cloud. Applications via the cloud should be as functionally rich as the on premise version. Complete business processes demand a complete application and users will not tolerate a lighter version of an on premise application if it changes their role. Whilst a migration to a cloud alternative may provide the ideal opportunity to reduce complexity that should never be at the expense of capability. Likewise, security is non-negotiable, across not just the data centre, but also the network and the application itself.

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3) Your cloud should have a flavour.

Cloud applications tend to integrate more easily and – with the right connections – business can compile a portfolio of applications or functionality that is closely aligned to their industry demands. We have based our entire cloud strategy on this, developing suites of applications that deliver deep industry expertise for specific vertical markets. As a strategic asset, cloud can help reduce TCO and improve flexibility across all types of businesses, but it can also quickly enable specific, even unique functionality or combinations thereof.

4) Your cloud should fit into every frame.

Increased flexibility is one of the main drivers for cloud uptake, but flexibility is always relative to the changes that you are adapting to. In the immediate term, it may be that cloud enables a business to simply update systems or take on new ones. In the medium term, operational concerns will become more sophisticated – for example the management of seasonal demand fluctuations for storage and computing. Long term it is important that cloud fits with a strategic objective to manage growth and change effectively with a high degree of scalability.

5) Your cloud should have just one price tag.

The prime driver around cloud was – and remains – the fact that companies can structure technology investments as operating expenses, rather than capital expenses. However, this has now been joined by cautionary tales of those operating expenses ballooning as more seats are added and more modules taken on. This need not be the case. You can have fixed prices to ensure cloud investment does not spiral out of control, especially for the critical early phase of migration. Businesses can – and should – have total visibility of costs associated with their cloud. Simply because it is ongoing, with costs proportional to use, cloud should not be a financial black hole.

 

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