Do You Have/Need a Cloud Computing Strategy? - InformationWeek

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5/13/2010
04:18 PM
John Soat
John Soat
Commentary
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Do You Have/Need a Cloud Computing Strategy?

The short answer is probably not/probably so. The cloud is not a point solution or a short-term fix, though it is tempting to view it that way. The cloud is a shift in computing architecture and IT philosophy that demands a serious strategic approach to understand where it fits within your overall technology deployment blueprint now and going forward.

The short answer is probably not/probably so. The cloud is not a point solution or a short-term fix, though it is tempting to view it that way. The cloud is a shift in computing architecture and IT philosophy that demands a serious strategic approach to understand where it fits within your overall technology deployment blueprint now and going forward.

According to a recent InformationWeek Analytics 2010 survey, more than half of software-as-a-service users (59%) look on SaaS as a tactical point solution "for specific functionality." That's all well and good, given that SaaS started out that way, mostly in terms of specific applications (CRM, HR), and its primary appeal is still speed of implementation, which is a tactical maneuver.

However, SaaS is only one aspect of the cloud. Infrastructure-as-a-service, known in a previous life as co-location or data center outsourcing, already should be a strategic weapon rather than a tactical one. Platform-as-a-service, which requires serious intent and investment, immediately smacks of strategy, and should be approached thusly.

Even SaaS should no longer be looked on as just a quick fix. In the InformationWeek Analytics survey, about a third of SaaS users (32%) say their "long-term vision [is] to primarily use SaaS applications." That's a significant chunk of true believers, and a (growing) cloud constituency that's hard to ignore.

Still, you don't have to throw everything over to embrace the cloud. As systems and business processes run their course, cloud services should be considered as replacements. The cloud, or even SaaS by itself, doesn't have to be the whole of your IT strategy to be part of your IT strategy.The short answer is probably not/probably so. The cloud is not a point solution or a short-term fix, though it is tempting to view it that way. The cloud is a shift in computing architecture and IT philosophy that demands a serious strategic approach to understand where it fits within your overall technology deployment blueprint now and going forward.

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