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Cloud is here to stay and evolving


February 2, 2015


To date, the vast majority of users of Cloud services have been somewhat opportunistic. Tactically using Cloud as an operational tool to cut costs and enable test and development. However, there is definitely a shift occurring, with a desire to move forward and embrace the cloud (be it Private, Public or Hybrid) as a strategic enabler to spur innovation, align with business objectives and deliver new and unique experiences.

Cisco and BT recently sponsored an independent study conducted by OVUM: Realising possibilities in the Cloud and found thatcustomers believe cloud computing can play a direct role in solving their most pressing business challenges, yet few know how to derive the strategic and transformational benefits.

End to End service is back in play

This lack of understanding has meant that the client’s needs/preferences/attitudes are shifting. As the survey concluded that nine out of 10 European enterprises now favour cloud service providers that can orchestrate end-to-end management across data centres and networks.

But with maturity and the drive to transform and do more, comes concerns: downtime simply isn’t an option, trust is everything and accountability with highly defined SLAs is paramount.

Resulting in a quarter of European cloud users being unhappy with their cloud service provider; largely due to poor service performance, weak service-level guarantees and a lack of personalised support and custom solutions. With a need to bridge the customer skills gap to understand the performance needs of each application. Likewise, not all applications are created equal and dare I say it, some legacy applications simply won’t be able to make the transition to Cloud. Whether in the cloud or not, maintaining application performance is difficult to do well and impaired application performance is almost as damaging to business productivity as an actual outage.

Concerns

However, as the Cloud grows and evolves, the number one concerns remain the same: Security and compliance are still top of mind, with enterprises worrying about how to comply with current rules (industry specific, national and international), future rules, and concern about their exposure if they operate in areas where no rules governing cloud services yet exist.

So, what’s next? My advice is:

Embrace cloud: Take control of which Cloud services you are using today. The Cisco Cloud Consumption Tool, which looks at who in your organisation is using Cloud, when they are using it and what it is financially costing the organisation, has found that on average, only 20% of Cloud use is known to the organisation.

Choose your Partners wisely: Look to Partner’s with E2E service management, incorporating Security, Management and proactive Performance Reporting, whilst orchestrating an eco-system of Providers and providing Robust security and data protection capabilities.

Assess your skills gap: How can cloud work for your organisation, understand your current skills and ask your chosen partner for an assessment/audit to understand exactly what applications could make the transition in to cloud.

Your cloud readiness will determine your ability to reap value in an era of sweeping change.

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