Brad Holland, a self-taught American artist, once described something called Futurism as “a movement of intellectuals who wanted to replace tradition with the modern world of machinery, speed, ... and public relations. It proves that we should be careful what intellectuals wish for, because we might get it.”
The trend for enterprises to embrace the Cloud continues to gain momentum. Doing things in-house is becoming increasingly the way we used to do things. But is embracing the Cloud a good fit for your enterprise? Would the Cloud make you better at what you do best?
The Cloud enables ubiquitous access to shared, configurable IT resources. Cloud computing and storage solutions promise to provide enterprises with efficient and effective capabilities to store and process their data by leveraging standardisation and economies of scale. Cloud Customers, we are promised, can focus more on their core business, as well as access applications more quickly, with improved manageability and less maintenance.
Before jumping on the proverbial band-wagon, however, enterprises need to satisfy themselves that the promise of the Cloud is likely to be true in their particular case. There are many questions to be answered.
Here are just some:
1. What protections are in place so that my data remains my data and is not shared inappropriately or hacked?
2. What assistance does the Cloud Provider give the me in uploading my data to the cloud?
3. What are the Cloud Provider's business continuity arrangements? This includes not only business interruption but also where the Cloud Provider may cease to be a going concern?
4. What functionality features does the Cloud Provider offer with its software? Can I pick and choose those features I need?
5. What sort of system response times are guaranteed? This applies to not only the transactional to/from the host, but also the host's ability to quickly scale up to process step increases in transaction volumes.
6. What technical support is available in my time-zone? Will I be confronted with lengthy wait times on hold? To what level is this guaranteed?
7. Am I able to automatically enjoy the benefits of upgrades to the core systems?
8. What can I actually switch on or off at my end?
9. To what extent can I trade electronically with other enterprises through the Cloud Provider?
10. Recognising I have my own Operational Support Systems (OSS) and some Back office Support Systems (BSS) that need to be interconnected to the Cloud service, what are the implications for my close of accounts schedule? What flexibility do I retain?
11. How can these OSS and BSS systems interact with the Cloud solution?
12. How am I charged for the services I use?
13. What happens if I want to change Service Provider?
14. Does the Service Provider have a list of Customers who are prepared to talk with prospective Customers about their experiences?
15. Is there a User Group to share ideas, problems, solutions?
I'm sure there are many other questions in your mind. Yes, we can go for the machinery, the speed, and swallow the public relations, but as the American investor Warren Buffet once remarked, “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”