Lately I get several variations of the same question:
I’d like to put a few things in context before we start this discussion. I’m asked these questions by smart and well-respected colleagues, family and friends who aren’t technical folks and chose to ask me because: 1) They know me as a self-professed cloud evangelist; 2) They trust my judgement; 3) They know that I believed in cloud technologies enough that I left a well-compensated position at a well-established organization to start Dual Prism.
I decided to make this a two-part blog posts to avoid throwing too much at my intended audience. The first part will focus on defining cloud, while the second part will focus on why you should care about the cloud and what’s in it for your business.
Let’s consider how a CFO of a mid-market company might categorize their annual IT expenditure. Most likely these expenditures are considered, “The cost of doing business.” BUT, what if I told you that the cloud can change this narrative and turn your IT spending into a competitive advantage for your business?
The proof is in the pudding, just look around and pay close attention to what organizations large and small are able to achieve in a short amount of time by leveraging emerging technologies available to them – all thanks to cloud computing!
By the way, there is ongoing debate about whether businesses should adopt, as part of their cloud strategy, public cloud, or private cloud, or a bit of both in the form of hybrid cloud model. But this debate is just that, and I consider it to be of a lesser concern, because your business goals and constraints will determine the best course of action for you.
Now that you understand the premise for this blog post and the intended audience, let’s dive right in, shall we?
(By the way, I’m not discouraging my technical comrades from reading this post – the info will come in handy when you have to explain what cloud is to your business stakeholders or the CFO next door).
What is cloud anyway?
Cloud is a revolutionary approach to how we traditionally do IT. Cloud is changing how we invest in, and how we consume, IT services.
Fundamentally, there are two ways a non-techie should look at the cloud:
1. The behind the scenes infrastructure that supports your various business applications and processes.
2. The software and systems used by end users (employees, contractors, customers, etc.).
There is ongoing debate about whether businesses should adopt, as part of their cloud strategy, public cloud, or private cloud, or a bit of both in the form of hybrid cloud model. But this debate is just that, and I consider it to be of a lesser concern, because your business goals and constraints will determine the best course of action for you.
To expand even further, the cloud can be broken down into these three broad categories:
1. Software as a Service (SaaS) – You pay subscription fee to use a software (often on a per-user-basis), but it is managed completely by the provider with zero input from your internal IT team. Examples are CRM, productivity suite, email, etc. and are typically consumed by end users.
2. Platform as a Service (PaaS) – Your IT team bring the application and data while the cloud provider manages everything else under the hood to ensure no downtime. Examples are database, middleware, runtime, etc. and are typically consumed by developers.
3. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – Upkeep is split between the cloud provider and your internal IT team. Examples are virtual servers, networking, storage, etc. and are typically consumed by IT administrators.
This is the cloud in a nutshell. Read part 2 of this post to find out why you should care about the cloud and what’s in it for your business...