How to choose your on-demand cloud computing model
The ITWeb Cloud Summit is in its second year in its current format, and brings you more than ever before in experts, content, case studies, and relevant local insight. Kevin Hall from Elingo, a proud sponsor of the event, speaks to ITWeb about when cloud computing makes sense and, more importantly, when it stops doing so.
ITWeb: You are presenting on On-Demand Cloud computing models at the upcoming ITWeb Cloud Summit 2018. Why is this topic of interest and what models are currently available?
Hall: Having been in the cloud industry for the past eight years I have seen the cloud conversation change from what is cloud, and why should we use it, to something different. The questions regarding cloud are changing. People are not asking why, they are asking how, and what are the possibilities for my business? They understand cloud is the reality, and if they don't make use of it, they will simply be left behind by their competitors.
ITWeb: What challenges are your clients experiencing in this respect?
Hall: Most customers still need to understand what the business ROI and value of cloud is. Is cloud really cheaper in the long run, and why would I pay more for cloud in certain instances? The mind-set needs of a cloud business are completely different, and the technology is only a small part in the whole effect cloud has on a business. One needs to explain this culture shift and the impact this has on business. An example would be data SQL in the cloud, having all your information stored on a cloud system, might feel unsafe to some, the reality is that the business needs more open access to the information to different users and applications. The mitigation of risk and the management of the data at different points then becomes more important.
ITWeb: What are the major benefits associated with moving to the cloud?
Hall: First and foremost is flexibility. One needs to look at the ability to change the business into different models, and then have the ability to use different models to enable functionality in a granular way. The tailor-made approach of cloud, makes business sense, as we try to differentiate ourselves. Secondly, scalability, in any business there is seasonal situations, or peak and valley moments, why not plan for these moments, and remove the financial burden of applications and services. If your business is growing for periods, then you are able to scale for the growth. In more quiet periods, you are able to cancel the software and application services, or reduce the usage, and eliminate the cost. Cost, cloud should be about 25% cheaper in the long run, if you are buying best-in-class, best-in-breed software or computing services. Implementation should also be greatly reduced, and the simplicity of the model should make life a lot easier. Lastly application variety: one should be able to look at a better variety of applications, and services based on the open cloud model. As more cloud suppliers and vendors hit the market, we are finding much more choice, more competition, and effectively better value.
ITWeb: When does cloud stop making sense?
Hall: Cloud does not make sense if you are trying to integrate every bit of your business into the whole. Or if you are storing huge amounts of personal info about your clients such as, passwords, their financial/credit card information, or any other highly sensitive information on local data bases.
This should not be the case for most businesses, but if you are storing very sensitive information in large volumes, and interrogating that information on a regular per minute basis, one would not suggest cloud off the bat. The suggestion should be to look at the current security systems, and find a cloud supplier that is able to deliver the same level of security.
ITWeb: If you had to provide your clients with a checklist of what questions to ask before taking the next step, what would they be?
Hall: How many current customers do you have? Explain to me how you are going to secure my data based on your protocols? What contract flexibility does your service offer me? Do you have a list of trusted vendors you are using, who created this service? What support do you have from your international vendors and suppliers? What is your SLA with me? Do your international vendors have a SLA with me, if you can't solve the issues locally?
ITWeb: Why are you presenting at the cloud summit in February, what outcomes/takeaways would you like attendees to leave the event with?
Hall: The cloud is not for everybody, it's not a silver bullet, but with some innovative thinking and some clever business strategy, the cloud could take your business to the next level. The world is going cloud, that's the reality, your competitors internationally are going cloud, and with more Internet in South Africa, your competitors are not the guys in your own neighbourhood. If you are going to compete in the global Web-based shopping eco system, the cloud will be a millstone on the journey.
Think global, differentiate local, build good business locally, and anticipate change quicker to make sure you are disrupting the industry you are in, and not being disrupted by technology you never imagined.
You can't stay ahead of the curve, if you never intend to be in the race for the long haul.