Four corporate computing architectures have dominated the last five decades: Mainframe, minicomputer, client/server and the Internet. We are at the beginning of the fifth dominant architecture, one that comprises social, mobile, analytics and cloud computing services, or the SMAC StackTM.
When corporate IT architectures shift, many believe the entire enterprise computing platform must move to the latest and greatest infrastructure. Historically, this has ended badly for many organizations and will be proven wrong again with cloud computing. New technology must complement and extend existing IT platforms. Investments in any new platform are typically justified over time as new business value is delivered. And many leading organizations are betting big on cloud. For instance:
- The cloud computing market revenue will grow from $5.7B in 2012 to $20B in 2016, attaining a 36% CAGR over the forecast period, according to evidence from 451 Research.
- Forrester forecasts that the global market for cloud computing will grow from $40.7 billion in 2011 to more than $241 billion in 2020.
MOVING TO THE CLOUD
A good way to bridge the gap between existing IT infrastructure and the cloud is to leverage several different approaches, including public, private and hybrid clouds. Each has its strengths depending on the business challenge at hand. Regardless of the approach, organizations must insist that cloud services are delivered with rigorous and auditable performance and business outcome guarantees, as well as security measures that ensure compliance with global data privacy and confidentiality requirements.
Other factors to consider when sourcing cloud services:
- Service levels should be guaranteed through service level agreements (SLAs) and data protection governed by NDAs and other security provisions; organizations also need to hold cloud services providers to pre-determined business outcomes that align with strategic goals.
- Ability to specify a minimum number of users and resources with the flexibility to automatically add more users during peak periods and reduce pricing when usage falls below a fixed minimal threshold.
- Proven ability to save money, time and other resources based on current business practices, and ways to unlock unprecedented business value. A good example is using the cloud to set up an on-demand, cloud-based test environment. Cloud-based software testing can significantly reduce errors by making it cost-effective to create more realistic test environments.
Cognizant believes cloud computing is central to the new and dynamic ways that enterprises deliver value. When properly implemented, cloud solutions can power business transformation with more timely and scalable IT services and pricing the flexes with operational requirements. More importantly, they enable companies to focus less on implementation and more on building a better business.