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Cloud Computing: It’s not all about money, dummy!

Cost savings are a big deal, but they are not the be-all and end-all of cloud computing. There’s more than what meets the eye, and an astute CIO’s eye never misses the same.

Cloud is a word that has been well-deservedly sentenced to the prison called ‘cheap’. After all, it does help shave many unwanted and unnecessary layers of hardware costs, infrastructure boondoggles, network brown-print and dedicated armies of administrators. There is no doubt about the fact that Cloud connotes some staggering advantages on the money front. But chances are that most CIOs are reading this good news the wrong side, and for too long now. Care to turn the newspaper upside down?
There are two ways to earn money in business – either you cut wasteful expenditure or you rake in more margins a.k.a revenues.

Cloud is a phenomenal force, helping many businesses immediately chop redundancies, and shred monolithic IT baggages into wonderful cost savings, thanks to cloud-quintessential shades of multi-tenancy and scalability. Add to that the power of elasticity and you have almost a magic pill in your hand to stretch IT into every form, shape and degree of business requirement.

For CIOs, this is almost a God-send given the unrelenting continuity with which IT function has been accused as a money guzzler, and painted a cost centre always, by everyone around.
But CIOs, specially the smarter ones, are quick-witted enough to look past this low-hanging fruit, towards higher branches. These CIOs are the wise lot who is sharp enough to see that Cloud can actually help them change into a new costume altogether, stitching together that fantasy called – revenue centre.

Yes, actually!

Incidentally, or not so incidentally, these astute CIOs are the precise segment of Cloud users who is cautious enough to embrace Cloud ‘holistically’ and without any headlong assumptions. They know that for Cloud to really deliver, and to scrape more than a sliver of short-term cost gain, they will have to apply Cloud very strategically and very carefully. This, in turn, means a few things: the right time, the right platforms, the right workloads, the right bricks and the right solutions.

Visionary CIOs have a good view of what applications, processes and business facets would be readily ported to Cloud and how. They know why mission-critical parts would take their time, curves and some doses of experimentation. They also know that cosmetic Clouds will only help on one side of the balance-sheet and that too for immediate quarters. So unless a top-layer Cloud application is not having a complimentary skeletal support with relevant changes done on underlying infrastructure, network or storage iron sheets, it remains, alas, a wallpaper biding its time till it peels off. Cloud Equipment providers like IBM are putting a lot of effort to evolve with the market needs for last few years.

Integration of any SaaS surface has to be done deeply with apt PaaS or IaaS components and management of such suites, brokerage interfaces, as well as wisely-chosen migration joysticks and management consoles; make all the difference here. Take for example, IBM’s hands reaching deep into the soil with recent associations with open-source names like Cloud Foundry, and it is not hard to guess why a infrastructure major like this one is working on two sides of the page – applications layer for scaling cloud-like features and operations layer for meshing the upper layer well with underlying metal or IaaS.

Because think for yourself, how long are you going to harp on some hardware saved or resources re-allocated unless everything comes together in a seamless way through the entire business chain, right at the moment of truth- in front of the customer. Disparate cloud strategies will look good but they will not cover loose ends. A good CIO knits everything well and ensures that a reckless ‘one size fits all’ lark is avoided. IBM BlueMix is one instance that hints at why and how the masonry of an entire stack, with IaaS, PaaS, SaaS – under one roof, matters so much. In case of a prudent CIO, aligning cloud answers to business needs or re-engineering stale processes to the new kits, either ways- both the sides are kept in tandem.

Only when Cloud is applied correctly, can you and your business be in step with where the customer is, equipped with Cloud or Mobility or whatever it is that is shaking the trees out there. Only then, you can afford to carve out real revenues out of this stone, when customers are delighted with ‘today’s givens’ like agility, real-time response, proactive communication, all-round collaboration and true-blue value.

Also, one cannot dispute the facts that beyond cost-benefits, the Cloud brings on the table a lot many things. By the use of innovative applications, communication and productivity within an organization can go up by very many notches.  Through the usage of innovative concepts like BYOD (bring your own device), CIOS can boost up employee spirit.  It is a known fact that by enabling access on multiple devices and mobiles, employees can attain a work-life balance as they necessarily need not be tied down to a desk to complete their work.
 
Cloud is also very conducive for Big Data, and thus enables lot of data analytics and business intelligence. There have been very many instances of companies being able to glean out interesting insights about their customers and their likings from the existing data-sets. Cloud, by the sheer strength of its computing resources enables that, thereby enabling a smart CIO to boost sales and increase the top-line. In this way, a CIO is not merely a technologist any more, but he or she is a business leader.

Finally, profits are not a by-product of revenues, they are accessories that come along automatically when you are able to serve today’s customers with today’s tools and with palpable competitive differentiation.

Think like ahead-of-the-game CIOs, think Cloud as a well-pointed needle – that threads in everything holistically, beyond cost fringes, but only if you can wield it smartly.

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