10 Things We’ve Learned About Cloud Computing, So Far (Forbes)

Joe McKendrick recently posted an interesting article about Cloud Computing and some key lessons we’ve learned more than a decade in. It’s a good read and an excellent introduction to some of the important things to know about Cloud, especially so for SMBs who may not have significant expertise. We’ve accumulated some expertise ourselves having been in the Cloud for years now. Here are some of his points with added thoughts:

1) It works. A decade on, with organizations of all sizes, from the Forbes 500 to mom-and-pop shops adopting cloud for mission-critical functions,  it can be said that the cloud computing model is working well.

There’s no doubt about it. Check out this Infographic for some of the services we at frevvo rely on every single day to run our business.

2) It simply moves computing to another location, period. … It simply means processing, systems, and often data reside somewhere else on the network, and not downstairs in the server room.

Well, maybe. Obviously, you can move workloads to Cloud-based servers (IaaS). But, usually adopting Cloud applications (SaaS) means accepting things like multi-tenancy where you’re sharing resources with others. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but something to be aware of.

3) It’s relatively safe and secure. This holds many enterprises back from fully embracing cloud — especially public cloud services. But many CIOs admit that cloud providers and their staffs keep up on the latest security measures than CIOs’ own staffs.

One of the most enduring myths about cloud computing. Like other cloud vendors, we go to great lengths (more than most I.T. staffs) to ensure that your data is secure. Ironically, security is probably the #1 reason most organizations should adopt cloud.

4) We’re still figuring out the rules of data ownership. When data is maintained or generated by another entity, it’s not clear who ultimately has the rights to and responsibility for the data.

We haven’t typically seen this as an issue. Certainly, with frevvo, your data is yours. No ambiguity about it.

5) The termination aspects are still messy and murky. The promise of cloud is flexibility; particularly when it comes to swapping vendors’ offerings underneath your infrastructure. However, it’s possible to get deeply rooted and entangled in a cloud vendor’s environment, making termination as painful as tearing out stitches.

6) It renews the vendors lock-in issues that were supposedly resolved ten years ago. The loss of flexibility to swap vendors as needs dictate is a step backwards in many respects.

Valid concerns indeed. While most cloud vendors have straightforward termination (e.g. at frevvo, there is no long-term contract and you can cancel anytime), it’s not necessarily that easy. Sometimes for technical reasons i.e. it’s just too much work to move to some other offering. And, sometimes it is the vendor e.g. we’ve been trying to get rid of a completely unused old salesforce.com account for weeks now without success. Emily, if you’re reading this, could you please call us back? 🙂 Luckily, you won’t have this issue with frevvo. We’re easy to work with.

7) It requires just as much IT expertise as on-premises systems. Going to a cloud doesn’t mean you don’t have to do programming, integration work, or systems configuration. You still need to be able to do all these things, and ensure the performance and capabilities you need to keep the enterprise running.

Well, you have to do a helluva lot less. The point is that a lot of this work e.g. a software upgrade is amortized over 1000s of customers. When frevvo upgrades our software to a new version, we do it once and all Cloud customers get it immediately. On the On-premise side, customers get the flexibility of upgrading when they want but each customer has to do it themselves.

8) It’s not necessarily cheaper than on-premises systems. The long-term costs of subscribing to capabilities month to month add up quickly. But cost savings is not the best reason to go to cloud.

Very true. Often, the biggest benefit is that it’s easy to try new ways to do things. That’s because you can easily add or reduce temporary resources (costs) without big capital costs and deploy solutions fast. Want to try out a new automated workflow? It takes days to build/deploy and it’s super inexpensive to give it a shot. If it doesn’t work, un-deploy, stop paying and try a different approach.

9) It hasn’t taken away IT jobs. If anything, it has created new opportunities. IT professionals still need to help make the hard decisions about the best technologies to serve their internal and external clients. The help-wanted ads are full of openings for architects, analysts , operations people and developers who can help oversee organizations’ embrace of clouds.

10) It has elevated the role of IT in organizations. Many IT leaders now have a seat at the table. They now serve as consultants and advisors to the highest levels of their businesses, often with a seat at the table.

Technology can be a critical competitive advantage. If your I.T. department is configuring servers and upgrading software, you’re wasting time & money. Your key I.T. people should be figuring out the best responses to the numerous, rapidly-shifting challenges facing businesses today. See #7 above. Cloud can help.

Essentially, the same is true for all your employees. Why waste their time with the drudgery of routine approvals, form-filling and searching through email? Download this new eBook and learn how frevvo’s Cloud can help you securely digitize these routine approvals.

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