Avanade MD makes his case for cloud computing

Cloud computing is an evolution that will take place over time, but there are definite ways for companies to take advantage of cloud today, says Craig Dower, managing director, Avanade Australia.

Craig Dower, Managing Director, Avanade Australia

Craig Dower, Managing Director, Avanade Australia

What apps do you think are best suited to cloud computing? And what should remain in-house?

Identifying what’s best is in the intersection of what the platforms provide and what services an enterprise can move to with the least risk. For most customers today, that’s messaging, portals and CRM. Workloads that can uniquely leverage the infinite scale of the cloud – batch/grid, conversions – are also good candidates. Where there is significant IP, in-house skills, unique business processes – things that are distinct competitive differentiators, and may have great complexity – these would more likely continue to remain in-house (although they wouldn’t always need to reside on company owned and managed infrastructure). So, we are likely to see a set of hybrid models.

Why should companies listen to the cloud computing message today when ASPs failed spectacularly post dot com boom?

Companies in the ASP market were mainly start-ups whereas the cloud computing providers are all very large and have the resources to build massive data centres with the vast amounts of storage and computing capacity required to service millions of customers reliably.

Some more thoughts on this include:

Supply side

  • Availability of affordable and scalable bandwidth (not available to ASP’s)
  • Commodotisation and standardisation of infrastructure – hardware, storage, operating platforms, virtualisation (dramatic changes since ASPs), plus the compute fabric (e.g. grid)
  • Open standards, and evolution of architectures and technologies (such as middleware) to enable cross platform integration (in its infancy then)
  • Multi-tenant capabilities (in its infancy in ASP days)
  • Flexibility of approaches – subscription pricing, unit pricing, transaction pricing (evolving, and will continue to do so)

Demand side

  • Ongoing need for productivity and efficiency gains (even more so as a result of GFC)
  • Standardisation, rationalisation and virtualisation of platforms (has vastly simplified data centres and enabled potential for commoditisation)
  • Business desire to focus on core and areas of innovation/differentiation (again, even more so as a result of GFC)
  • Greater sophistication in purchasing (from big-bang outsourcing, to selective outsourcing, to off-shoring, to blended teaming, growth in procurement power) – companies have become much better at separating core from non-core, and looking at IT needs in both a more holistic and also a more segmented way.

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