Every time someone tells me that cloud computing is all about cost savings, I want to go somewhere dark to jump up and down and clench my fists. Yes, I know we all have stories of horrific IT costs spinning out of control and failed IT projects and yes, often times cloud is a panacea for these problems. But cloud’s benefits don’t come from cost savings per se, rather they come from the agility and focus that cloud introduces, and these factors often allow cost savings to occur.
I was interested to read recently a survey that was commissioned by the Cloud Alliance for Google Apps – a consortium of vendors that undeniably have a vested interest in singing the praises of cloud in general and Google in particular. But beyond the marketing spin aspects of the survey – there’s some interesting stuff in there.
The survey was taken across a range of small and mid-sized businesses and found that (music to my ears!) cost was not in fact the most important factor in deciding to adopt the cloud. Price was certainly a consideration, but respondents reported that the ability to collaborate effectively was a stronger driver than the cost issues.
So – what was key for the respondents? Data security and end-user privacy were paramount. One-quarter of survey respondents in organizations with more than 200 workers listed security and privacy as their primary concerns. These issues were followed by system availability, reliability and service level agreements, which were cited by 17.5 percent of respondents. Third on the list was interoperability with existing software, as mentioned by 15 percent of responding IT professionals.
It speaks legions about some of the big opportunities in the cloud – integration, management tools and robust security are all areas that are key cloud benefits and hence key areas of potential development and opportunity.
I keep harping on about these areas of agility, focus, democratization and the like. It’s not because I don’t have anything else to say, but rather because these are the areas that will really drive opportunities with mom and pop businesses – the very organizations that can most benefit from the cloud. These sorts of messages ram the point home and I’ll continue to keep pointing out findings that reiterate these important points.