Will The Cloud Save You Money?

Everything in the cloud. Everything marketed as cloud.Everything about cloud.

Can't avoid the ever ubiquitous marketing and real worldcloud references. Cloud computing, however, is still just computing, and at theend of the day, we invest in computing infrastructure as a means to an end -and that end is enhanced productivity and profitability.

Cloud applications are not fundamentally more productivity enhancing,however, they can be more easily used in multiple locations and situations,which may indeed enhance productivity in some cases. Cloud applications are notfundamentally less expensive either. Have you ever heard of any industrycreating ways to make LESS money?

What cloud computing does is enhance access, control andscalability. Cloud computing also enables a reduction of capital outlay in someinstances, and allows alignment of real time costs with specific needs. But,more to the point, cloud computing enables a re-alignment of IT spend away fromsome of the more mundane IT tasks (such as buying, rolling out, managing andmonitoring a server or application) allowing you to focus those dollars on morevalue added IT investments such as really understanding how IT can support thecritical business processes and work flows within your business and integratingthe many complex technologies and solutions that are part of your business.

I don't see the cloud as an answer to a problem, but anapproach to various solutions. It is a tool set that can enable certainintegrations and applications to be used more efficiently.

Think about when you first started using computers at work(well, for those of you who were there then as I was). Adding computers did notreduce labor costs at work, it changed the way we go about work and allowed usto re-align our time towards higher value work efforts, enabling certain menialtasks (such as accounting) to be done much more quickly. That is an apt analogyfor the cloud. Cloud computing is not 'an approach to saving money' but more ofan approach to reducing some maintenance costs to enable productive resourcesto focus on other higher value activities – much like my computer example. Itis a paradigm shift, and although many will try to validate expenditures oncloud computing with strict ROI ratios, the reality is the value is not indollar savings, but in the focus away from low value tasks towards higher valueones.

That is part of what makes this transition so hard – theanswer is not as clear as simple ROI. IT costs are not going down due to cloudcomputing, although maintenance costs may. IT costs will be aligned towardshigher value activities focused on achieving higher productivity and profits.

At least that is how I see it!

Happy Computing!
Richard Brunke

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