Have you ever considered, when switching on your coffee machine in the morning, where the electricity comes from? I’m guessing not. You probably only expect it to work so that you can have your tasty Colombian coffee.
I don’t know where the electricity I use at home is coming from. Last year Spain imported electricity from France. At the same time Spain also exported electricity to Portugal, Andorra, Morocco and…surprise, also back to France. I can’t imagine anyone in Portugal wondering whether the electricity to charge a smartphone comes from Spain, is produced in France and sent to Spain, or is sent from Spain to France and bought back again. Electricity has no accent. It doesn’t matter from where it comes; only that it is always there when you need it!
A few years ago, I started to work with customers planning their journey to the cloud. I’m talking about private cloud. There were many questions about the where, the who and the how of the process. It was an incredible cultural change and many people were against it, especially the security guys.
It reminded me of 15 years earlier when I was working for an engineering company. We deployed a Document Management System, Documentum, to improve visibility, collaboration and productivity while reducing costs moving to the digital world. But even after a several years, many of the engineers were still locking their drawings in their own personal “map cabinet”. While customer goals were to reduce costs, improve performance and reduce the IT complexity, it was security and compliance that were the main concerns for most. They were changing their IT strategy and facing a cultural barrier.
At that same time I was fortunate to meet with another company, one part of a large group, that was very focused on their business and margins. This business had a completely different strategy than its mother company and were eager to consume services rather than build and maintain them.
By transitioning to the private cloud using our PaaS offering, the company achieved some things the mother company didn’t attain after 10 years using the same technology:
- Time to value. The company went on production in less than 1 month, far more quickly than the group average of one year. They were able to enjoy the benefits of the technology almost immediately after they made the decision and not a year later.
- Elasticity to manage the unpredictable. The business was able to increase resources, as well as add new products and services to support their needs when they needed them, instead of weeks after.
- High performance without complexity. From the first day and through several years of using the service, I’ve never heard a single complaint.
In addition to all of these benefits, the organization dramatically reduced operational costs and achieved unprecedented cost predictability compared to their mother company. Using the same technology but a different strategy, they secured superior results. This proved, once again, that it’s not about the technology, it’s about the strategy.
The private cloud is primarily about moving second-generation platforms to the cloud. It is about shifting the workload and the complexity to the vendor. It’s about reducing the cost of operations, enabling customers to free up IT resources to focus on activities with higher impact on their core business.
When I talk to these customers now, they recognize they had worry about where data centers were and whether security measures were in compliance with the EU data privacy laws and their internal policies. However, once these issues were settled, they didn’t care if the service was provided from Spain, Germany or Netherlands. Only that it’s always up and running. Just like we all are with electricity.
Today I’m more focused on public cloud offerings like LEAP, content apps for the digital era provided under a SaaS model. The more companies I speak with, the more I see not only these same obvious expectations regarding the private cloud, but also many additional that focus on end user productivity and expectations, and their impact on the new business models being rapidly developed in every industry.
The cultural change in the last three years has been great. There are many companies already consuming important services like email, ERP, CRM in the cloud. Now they are ready to consume any other always that can justify their business case. Today’s information requires flowing as freely as electricity, and being accessible when it is needed. It is the dynamic digital enterprises that have realized that plugging into the cloud is virtually as easy and secure as plugging into an outlet.
Are you using any private or public cloud service? If so what are your key motivations and concerns?