I think there’s a growing awareness of cloud computing in the Irish market, but whether there’s a full understanding of what is needed in particular organisations there’s a lot of work to be done. There are so many different aspects to the cloud, it’s not just a single thing. There are so many elements, solutions and offerings for organisations to be aware of to understand the cloud. But in terms of saying ‘yes, I fully understand what it can do for me and my business’, that’s a job each organisation has to do for themselves.
They need to look at the opportunities that comes from what the cloud can do for their business. It is easier for a small business to define how it can use the cloud for, but once you get into larger environments you need to work out a cloud strategy for the business.
It is also about investing, not just about saving money. Like any investment there is a need to fully understand the implications and longer-term benefit.
The cloud computing advantages are the obvious things like cost savings, provisioning additional resources, the accessibility of applications, taking away a lot of the administration and focus more on business productivity side.
The advantages are there but what one needs to do is examine which solution brings best advantages to your business.
In terms of the hurdles IT managers and CIOs have to overcome to implement a cloud computing strategy, the obvious issues are around security, confidentiality of data, data laws, where it is housed, the ownership of what you have and if you are tied to a particular supplier?
They are all the concerns that any IT manager or CIO is going to have. What firms should do then is perform a due diligence on the cloud services providers because coming from the cloud, that’s the sort of work that needs to be done.
Advice in determining cloud strategy
For organisations that want advice in determining a cloud strategy, we do due diligence and look at solutions and see what sits best in different environments.
One can think about cloud in many respects, not just necessarily the idea of a service provider hosting an application. You can also have a private cloud in a data centre. This means firms can focus on taking benefits from those line of business apps and not worry about looking after underlying infrastructure.
We see a lot of organisations looking at the resource spend that goes into keeping the lights on, but what they really want is their IT people focusing on delivering value to the business.
That’s where I see cloud helping that sea change. Managers don’t need to see or touch those servers; they know they are somewhere, they are resilient, there’s good business continuity, disaster recovery etc.
For owner managers, the cloud has huge benefits and lets them focus on the business and IT people can deliver value into the business.