The cloud is an inevitable force: Amazon Web Services: Page 2 of 2
By Edwin Yapp May 5, 2014
Changing ‘change management’
While acknowledging that security, data sovereignty and privacy are important issues to deal with, Vogels believes that a greater impediment to the cloud comes from within the enterprises themselves.
The AWS executive says that the real impediment to the cloud lies not in that enterprises and their respective management do not believe in the cloud proposition, but rather in traditional change management.
“Every change made by any business has an impact to that business,” he explains. “For instance, there will be new processes and procedures introduced and people will need to approach things differently.
“And when new things impact the business, there is a need to find the right advocates within the organisation to champion these changes. This is what traditional change management needs to overcome with regard to the cloud.”
Vogels says that within any organisation, these champions are the ones that usually want to innovate and move quickly but find that it isn’t able to support their vision.
Based on AWS’ experience, he says customers have told him that they need to be more agile in their businesses because there is a need to be more competitive in the global marketplace.
“Moving faster is key in today’s environment because the increasing consumer choice today creates uncertainty in whether a company’s products are able to succeed or not.
“And in a world where things are very uncertain, you need very different resource models. You can no longer have long-term commitments to service providers or [IT departments] but you have to be agile in acquiring resources on demand and releasing resources that you no longer need, while only paying for what you use.
“Cloud computing allows you to do all this. And while most customers tell us they love the lower costs [of the cloud model], the real reason for their interest is that they are able to move much faster [with the cloud],” says Vogels, adding that main area which would help save cost is in the test and development.
Asked what his advice was for companies considering the cloud, Vogels suggests that they start small.
“Start small and not take on a big IT project when moving to the cloud. This enables you to ‘get your hands dirty.’ The cool thing about the cloud is that you can do this easily and take the next two years to ramp up and see what cloud computing is about without having a long-term contract,” he adds.
Small steps are best
According to Steve Hodgkinson (pic), research director at Ovum Asia Pacific, the best practices for any enterprise embarking on adopting the cloud should be the same practices as for any IT procurement, that is to build the right skills to be an intelligent buyer, conduct proper due diligence and always have a tested plan B.
Hodgkinson says companies need to be honest with themselves about the quality, sustainability and affordability of their existing approach to IT and then evaluate the benefit/ risk trade-offs of cloud services.
“Too many companies are fearful/ sceptical about the theoretical risks of cloud services while being complacent about the clear and present dangers of the status quo,” he says.
Hodgkinson argues that it is really a matter of gaining skills and experience progressively for those wanting to adopt the cloud.
He says most companies are seeking to start with relatively low risk applications and workloads first in order to test out the model and the vendors.
“Suncorp [one of the largest banks in Australia] is at the leading edge of cloud services adoption, planning to migrate around half of its application to cloud services this year – having tested the approach for the past several years with a range of private and public cloud arrangements," Hodgkinson adds.
Asked what more must be done to advance cloud computing especially in conservative industries such as the financial services, he says it’s all about building trust.
“Think of it like learning to drive a car. It is dangerous to drive while looking in the rear vision mirror but at the same time, it’s also dangerous to drive too slowly. The best approach is to develop defensive driving skills, which can only be done ‘hands-on.”
The Ovum analyst says companies need to get hands-on with cloud services in order to learn the skills to be an intelligent customer in a fast moving global digital services market.
Concuring with AWS' Vogels, Hodgkinson recommends that they start small and work out what works and do more of it or work out what doesn’t work and do less of it and that companies need to try cloud services safely to build experience and skills.
“Vendors need to live and die by ‘cloudy is as cloudy does’ – there is no space in cloud services for vapourware,” he argues. “Vendors must ensure that they invest ahead of the demand curve in order to actually have the cloud services on tap that they are selling.”
Cloud adoption shaken by Snowden revelations: Survey