Developing a Cloud Computing Strategy for 2011

According to Analysts at Gartner, Inc. developing a cloud computing strategy is the 2011 priority for many IT executives. If cloud computing is not on your radar this year consider this.

There are a number of ways that cloud computing creates business value. It provides access to new markets and promotes business model innovations, as well as lowering the cost of IT. In this economic climate everyone from small businesses sand major corporations, to government and non-profits, are moving to cloud computing to convert its IT budget from a capital investment model to the operating expense model afforded by cloud computing. As we discussed earlier in this cloud computing series, many service providers offer a utility billing or pay-per-use cost structure. Unlike the capital expense model where you might invest in IT infrastructure to support business applications with fluctuating IT processing loads, such as in the case of supply chain management planning, CAD, financial modeling and analysis. IT investment has traditionally been budgeted to meet the peak performance periods for these types of IT processes. In reality, as much as 85% of computing capacity sits idle in distributed computing environments, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

What about technology innovation to give your organization a competitive edge? IBM estimates, based on client experience, that 70% of IT budgets are typically spent on maintaining current IT infrastructures, and only 30% is spent on new capabilities. Still don’t think you should be developing a cloud strategy? Well, to the rest of us it’s clear that IT infrastructure needs to be more dynamic (Standardized, virtualized, and automated) to free up capital and personnel resources to accelerate the pace of delivering new business applications and services, while supporting the CEO’s adoption of new business models. So, where to get started?

For most organizations moving email and non-core applications to the cloud is any easy decision, in fact, Gartner predicts by 2012 10% of enterprise email seats will be in the cloud, with public cloud spending seeing a 20% increase.

Whether using a public cloud, private cloud, community cloud, or hybrid cloud, the only bad cloud strategy is not having a cloud computing strategy at all. If you’re planning a strategy or seeking executive leadership buy-in on moving to the cloud, be at ease with knowing that there’s no black and white, public or private, cloud strategy that you need to follow. Like the clouds that we see in the sky, cloud computing is nebulous. It’s not a thing that you can wrap your arms around, it’s a style of computing, and there are no hard and fast rules that say that you have to adopt one single cloud computing deployment model to be successful. In fact, most organizations will probably have a mix of public cloud and private cloud initiatives.

Central to your cloud computing strategy’s success is having focus. Tomorrow we’ll discuss exactly how to achieve that.

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