Lots of cloud technology predictions and analysis are still dealing with future spending and planning, but there are plenty of real-world cloud use cases and implementations happening now. One approach, taken by stalwart GE, is to use SaaS applications for non-differentiated uses. For them, that means moving functions like HR, finance, taxes and scheduling to SaaS, while spending their software development time and resources on the core apps that make GE better, such as inventory, planning and sales. Essentially, as for more and more large enterprises, GE is getting out of the infrastructure business.
And at another company that’s been around for awhile—Intuit—the CIO has focused on spending transparency and business outcomes, both essential to IT strategy in this cloud computing era. For them, any digital project needs to be associated with positive business outcomes, measured with whatever metrics are appropriate, whether conversions, revenue or others. Intuit, like GE, has adopted the cloud use case of moving IT services off-premises to SaaS apps as much as possible to get away from running infrastructure. That way, Intuit can take advantage of the SaaS providers’ frequent releases and innovations, rather than trying to do it themselves.
Of course, these big, real-world technology changes also require changes in mindset, processes and overall IT operations. Those working in IT departments using cloud and SaaS services will need to avoid the old siloed distinctions among teams. Overcoming resistance to the new cloud model is crucial, according to this CIO Insight story. In addition to IT ops changes, security buy-in will be essential for cloud and SaaS deployments. Get used to talking with the security department during the evaluation process, and make sure they’re well-versed in the specifics of cloud security.
As enterprises start to get a handle on what’s involved in planning, paying for, and managing cloud workloads, there are emerging tools and calculators available. This cloud operations costs formula from Cloud Technology Partners sets out some common variables as a starting point, such as number of workloads, their complexity, monitoring and security requirements, with a scale ranking for each. It takes into account the operational costs of cloud, not just the startup costs. That’s something that will become a more pressing task as cloud and SaaS continue to become entrenched in enterprise IT.
Till next week, crunch those numbers carefully.