Overcoming inertia – increasing Cloud adoption among SA corporates
By AJ Hartenberg, Portfolio Manager: Data Centre Services at T-Systems in South Africa
Shifting enterprise IT infrastructure and assets to Cloud-based architecture is a trend gathering momentum among enterprises worldwide. It enables faster, more flexible provisioning of IT resources, cost efficiencies, and the business agility and innovation made possible by deploying software that responds to changing market needs. However, adoption among SA Inc has been dramatically slower than many other countries.
Much of this can be attributed to a general business culture of conservatism and risk aversion. The myths are that one has to own the underlying infrastructure to have control over it, or that the information stored in cloud environments isn’t secure.
The reality is that – no matter the style of the Cloud deployment – the data remains as secure as on-premise hosting, and the organisation has full control over those accessing the information.
There are essentially three categories of Cloud services, from which organisations can select the one most suited to their particular needs:
- Public cloud: The cloud provider creates infrastructure for open use by the general public (for example, many of the hosted services we consume in our individual capacities – like Gmail, Office365 and Dropbox – are public cloud services).
- Private cloud: The cloud infrastructure is provisioned for exclusive use by a single organisation on premise. It may be owned and managed by the organisation itself or a Cloud provider on premise.
- Hybrid cloud: The cloud infrastructure is a composition of the two configurations above – but are bound together by standardised or proprietary technology that enables data and application portability.
- Virtual Private Cloud: The cloud infrastructure is provisioned within the Cloud provider’s data centre with secure access. It will be owned and managed in the Cloud provider premise.
The most immediate benefit to consumption-based, Cloud-delivered IT infrastructure is reducing the procurement cycles. With Cloud, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) can virtually provision new services within a matter of hours. Previously, the procurement and deployment phases may have taken months before the company could add new capacity, new applications, or new services. Shortening the delivery cycle essentially compresses the time to market – and moves the organisation closer to achieving the state of “zero distance” between the customer demands and customer fulfilment.
Those organisations embracing the Cloud revolution also enjoy the benefits of a flexible platform that fosters increased collaboration and innovation. At T-Systems, we look to connect independent software vendors with clients to assist with the development of new business applications and tools. Moving to Cloud-based architecture opens up a world of opportunities in this regard.
Added to this, organisations also find that collecting, analysing, sorting and using information becomes a far easier and richer exercise when applications are built on Cloud platforms. Deploying the latest business intelligence and analytics tools is simplified through the use of automated provisioning toolset in the use of Behaviour Driven Design. So, within a very short space of time, the organisation starts getting visibility of new business insights that power strategic decision-making.
From a security point-of-view, organisations will ensure the integrity of their data with advanced features available on virtual private Cloud architectures (like segregated network security, certifications, and client-owned encryptions to protect data). Concerns over data privacy and security have traditionally been some of the key reasons holding back Cloud adoption by South African enterprises – but these concerns are, in fact, a fallacy.
Almost every industry today is being reshaped by new technologies, innovative market entrants, and shifting customer demands. It’s an era of uncertainty, but also of opportunity. Our digital age has given customers more choice, more information, and an ability to connect like never before.
Truly connecting with customers’ means responding with agility to their needs, interacting with them across various touchpoints, and smartly using customer insights to create positive experiences in the future. It is only by re-architecting the organisation, and by capitalising on the power of the Cloud, that an organisation will be able to achieve these goals.