“Cloud’s elastic model means IT capability can be flexed to mirror changing business demand, while turning capital spending on IT into an operating cost.”

The definition above, from Fujitsu, is in my opinion the best description of what “Cloud” really is. It can be broken down into three elements:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)

I read an interesting article this week that explored the overall adoption rate of cloud services in the UK. It is currently sitting at 84% (CIF 2015), and indicated that the companies captured in the research are at least using one cloud system It seems that one of the biggest factors forcing companies to move to cloud-based services is the impending retirement of Windows Server 2003 later this year.

Typical organisations primarily use hosted or cloud services for email, CRM, collaboration, data backup and data recovery. Many first time cases of cloud adoption by private companies are driven by the opportunity to increase revenue and customer procurement, develop a brand and increase productivity. In contrast, among public sector organisations cost saving tends to be the biggest draw to adopting cloud services in order to improve public services (such as refining issues between councils and its residents in a timely and cost effective way).

Moving systems to the cloud is beneficial for organisations looking to reduce IT costs, as this should include reducing on-going maintenance of expensive internal servers, which will inadvertently also reduce staffing costs. Many cloud systems, because of their elastic model, give users the flexibility of mobile working, which is quickly becoming an increasing requirement for many businesses. My current local government client has realised the many benefits of accessing files from their mobile devices without the need of VPN. This is a huge jump from users previously having to be issued with a company laptop along with one of those godforsaken RSA tokens!

Those who have not taken the leap of faith to fully migrate to the cloud work with a hybrid IT infrastructure. Many companies do this as part of the transitional phase before full migration to the cloud. Frustratingly, IT departments will always keep hold of a hybrid service when they really just need to let go. Having said that, this classic stalling behaviour could be due to the perceived need to have everything down in writing or at least a back up server. We need to convince these companies of the benefits of going ‘full cloud’ and encourage them to trust in digital. The required security features and governance are in place in order to counteract any breaches that may occur  (unlikely as this is).

Finally, user adoption of cloud systems tends to be the hardest segment of any implementation due to the lack of full understanding of what cloud systems are capable of and what they can offer a company and its clients. The age of many users can be a contributing factor of why adoption has been difficult, as the younger generation have grown up with the digital age maturing alongside them, whereas those who are older may find it more difficult.

Anyway thanks for reading, I’m off to watch Netflix, can’t be offline for too long!

Hab Rahman, Cloud Consultant, Methods Digital