Is Cloud computing promising for your organization?

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Cloud Computing has been enabling innovation for a growing number organizations.  Amazon, Netflix, Google, Accenture and other technology oriented organizations have been sharing their experience about the value Cloud computing use represents to their organizations. Other organizations continue reviewing how to best leverage Cloud computing capabilities as part of their innovation process, for their products and services delivery, growth and diversification, and for their overall organizational advancement and evolution.

As flexibility, speed and agility of organizations can be enabled through a Cloud based system the opportunities for innovation and growth open widely for variety of organizational models.  From virtual communities to small, young and established enterprises, the opportunities of leveraging the advantages offered by Cloud computing are growing (Right Scale, 2014 State of the Cloud study report).  At the time, Cloud computing embracing organizations may still be considered as earlier adapters, in the context of adoption of innovation in the Diffusion of Innovation “ S curve”.

Aside of diligent planning, deployment and implementation of Cloud based systems, it can often become unclear how ownership of the information hosted, used and/or accessed in the Cloud by multi-tenant organizations is defined. Also, uncertainties about security and confidentiality of information assets held in Cloud based systems persistent; the known security breach cases experienced by established enterprises have raised further concerns among enterprises in the public and in the private sector, and among individuals.  Moreover, United States Federal Trade Commission through the US-EU Safe Harbor privacy adherence policy expects that Cloud systems’ users and prospectus users become aware of potential risks as information is held and/or is processed in public or shared Cloud systems. These concerns have been delaying migrations from traditional technology infrastructure support systems under direct or indirect responsibility of Public Sector Services administration.

Enterprises and organizations have been increasing their focus on governance, management and control of information residing in Public and Hybrid Cloud based system. In addition,  most organizations planning migration of at least part of their information systems assets into the Cloud,  have been diligently assessing their capacities and capabilities required to sustain their mission and vision in a dynamic, competitive and evolving environment.

According to Gartner, spending on public Cloud services and on Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) have compound annual growth rates of an estimated 17.7% and 41.3% from 2011 to 2016, respectively. Even with uncertainties and concerns about privacy and security, Cloud based systems have been opening opportunities for collaboration among individuals and enterprises, regardless of their geographical  locations or organization’s frontiers leveraging primarily Public Clouds, often achieved through a distributed network of computer resources that may not be within the premises of the hosting organization . In this regard, Crowdsourcing has been demonstrating how cloud based infrastructure enables innovation and growth, promising for a  variety of business models.  According to a study conducted by Digital Fortress (2015) on 100 IT decision makers of large and middle size enterprises, 65% or more of these enterprises’ IT decision makers are considering outsourcing at least portion of their public Cloud needs because most of them are already storing their information assets/workloads in the Cloud because cash to value conversion become faster than owning technology infrastructure assets.  As there is more insight about the capabilities and capacities organizations can hold through Cloud based systems, the mobility of the Internet has been growing.

In addition, the proliferation of WiFi, the aggregation of a new support network layer referred as the “Fog layer” protocol,  and the new Internet Protocol version 6  (for the device connectivity)  are jointly enabling the Internet of Things (IoT) for numberless applications.  IoT is becoming an important factor  for Cloud based architectures , especially for the Cloud based ecosystems in the industrial, energy and the health care sectors. Some enterprises including Honeywell, General Electric and IBM have been deploying  IoT through machine to machine communication support systems.  IoT has also been implemented for decades in wearable and home support devices;  growth in both types of applications will continue according to IDC (2015).  Globally, IoT has been growing from the range of seven to 10 billion objects (at an annual growth rate of 15 to 20%) up to approximately 26 to 30 million objects, based on McKinsey’s analysis report.  Both Gartner and IDC’s research are making projections of significant IoT growth;  IDC projects a global growth to $7.1 trillion of US dollars market in 2020 from $1.9 trillion in 2013.

Under these dynamics, communities and organizations face the need of making intelligent assessments over their technology infrastructure needs and the value these represent. This starts with foundational understanding of the Cloud architecture, including the hardware and the support software resources (network, storage, servers, gateways, virtual equipment….), considering the other key elements (platform and the applications assets) needed to support the mission of the Cloud based system.

Understanding of the sub-systems and their interrelations of the Cloud ecosystem is essential. If the sub-system is relevant  it is expected to have inputs and outputs to execute specific task(s) or command(s), and its performance should be measurable as well.  Governance and operations of service provisioning processes for secure and reliable environments must be well understood by the subject matter experts, Cloud system product and process owners, administrators, users and stakeholders.  Aside of a Cloud based system’s block diagram(s), mapping of relations (in all directions: upward, downward, horizontally and in any other interactive relationship) among existing and intended capacities and capabilities can facilitate appropriate understanding of the operations in a Cloud base system designed to support  the organization’s mission and its vision.

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