Right now, cloud computing is the buzz phrase de jour in the information technology space. But while hype, confusion and misinformation abound, Intel SA enterprise director Gregory Cline has a simple take: “The cloud can be anything you want it to be to make your company more efficient.”
Speaking at Intel’s Enterprise Sales and Solutions event, Cline’s advice to companies thinking of joining the cloud revolution is to first ask the tough questions: what do they want to accomplish with moving to the cloud, and how can they keep management happy doing it?
“In any business, the CEO is interested in business growth by using the best information systems, the CIO wants its systems to create value while the CFO wants IT assets to be used well. And if that’s not enough, stakeholders want IT to ensure business continuity. In other words, a clear strategy is needed to consider a lot of important people,” says Cline.
As any company needs to spend its money wisely at the best of times, Cline cautions to do the same when it comes to designing new IT architecture.
“The old concept of ‘out with the old and in with the new’ has never rung more true. To dovetail on existing IT infrastructure at the end of the day does more harm than good.”
In the early days of cloud, many companies cited bandwidth as the big roadblock to successfully operating in the cloud. This is starting to change, with broadband projects such as SEACOM, WACS and EASSy.
For example, the local government-owned Cape Town Broadband Fibre Optic Network successfully linked 50 municipal buildings at a cost of R128-million, giving those connected more than 1 000 times the bandwidth they had before.
In the private sector, MediClinic Hospital Group designed a cloud solution to save the group just under R5-million by avoiding a bandwidth upgrade for sites within their network, and increase download speed by up to 80%.
Cline says the only way to effectively implement cloud technology and save money is to adopt a tops-down, bottoms-up approach to reduce capital expenditure and ensure consistency from a company perspective.
From a stakeholder perspective, a strategic approach will lead to a reduced operational cost and happier customers.
“Think of pooling resources, automating workflows, providing security to users and increasing the resiliency of a company when designing infrastructure,” says Cline. “With this in mind, companies not only save money, but they invest strategically in their future by keeping customers happy.”
Once those savings are rolling in, companies can start using the cloud for what it was intended: innovating around their core business processes, and growing the cloud from the inside out.