Cloud Computing Solution Decisions Should be Application-Driven
I recently read 5 Cloud Trends you won’t want to Miss in 2012 in VentureBeat, and I’d recommend it to anyone interested in cloud computing solutions. I also have something I’d like to add.
The most exciting cloud computing solutions and uses of the cloud are the ones we haven’t thought of yet. For example, at Google employees use the Google App Engine as a means of deploying something very quickly before they worry about scaling it on Google’s base infrastructure. They do this because it’s so much faster to get going, even inside Google where they have lots of infrastructure available. However with cloud computing, you have to worry about the business requirements for your apps rather than focusing on the hardware and operating systems your apps are sitting on—and this can create less flexibility and potentially major changes operationally and organizationally.
How do you determine suitable cloud-based applications? As I highlight in my book, Paradigm Shift: Seven Keys of Highly Successful Linux and Open Source Adoptions, IT and executive management need to understand the importance of your cloud computing solution, so you have to identify projects according to business need. For most companies, applications are easily segregated between those providing a “competitive advantage” and “mission-critical.” That is, IT applications either advance the business organization competitively in the marketplace, or they just help the business keep pace with the industry.
Once projects have been classified, it’s easy to determine which applications are unique to the organization (meaning they are extremely differentiating) and which are parity applications (meaning that they don’t have to be better than any other business, they just can’t be any worse). Once you have your organization’s business application identified and categorized, you have a powerful basis for determining where your technology investments should be going.
Remember, although an application may be perfect for a given set of business needs, it may or may not fit well into your business operations. If it doesn't, there's the risk it will create upfront and ongoing integration and operational hassles for IT and your business process. When buying or building a portfolio of solutions to run your business, the goal is to achieve effective, competitive business operations. SaaS is the right option when the portfolio fit, cost, risk, functionality, operational robustness, and integration cohesively fit into the SaaS platform strategy and roadmap.
How do you determine suitable cloud-based applications? Let us know in the comments!