If you are a CIO/IT manager at an enterprise there seems to be a lot of promise but also hype when it comes to the cloud. And god forbid you get a real and consistent definition of what cloud is. That said, there are so many people talking about it and so many great ideas and offerings, there just has to be some reality in it all. Right?
If you find yourself gravitating toward the cloud, one of the questions that comes to mind is – is anybody in IT at the enterprise level spending real money on the cloud? One approach to finding the answer is to talk to a lot of vendors, go to a few conferences, and hope you sit at a table during lunch with some other likeminded CIOs--or read the trade journals. One other approach is to see who is researching the space and find out what they have gleaned from their investigation. For example, we conduct an annual research study on spending intentions in IT and one of the slices of data we look at is what % of IT budgets are spent on cloud computing. Fifty percent of the respondents said they will spend 20%+ of their total budget on cloud computing within 3 years, a number that we have seen growing. That seems like a pretty healthy number to me – especially when you consider we are talking about the enterprise.
So now you’ve found a way to validate that others are doing it. How do you go about making the right choices – what providers do you put on your shortlist, do you engage them directly or through brokers or consultants/resellers, should you only use private cloud or go hybrid, and what should be included in that first 20% of your IT spend on cloud? All great questions! Of course I’d say, a bit tongue in cheek, that we can help you with that by providing you with our research.
Another answer is to find companies like one I talked to last week, and just wrote a brief about, called Gravitant. What I really like about Gravitant’s approach is that they are an enabler for IT-as-a-Service. Lets face it – cloud providers are squeezing IT. How can IT compete with $.05/compute/hour? Does IT even know what their services cost? The bottom line is if IT doesn’t find ways to compete with the cost structure of cloud providers but also the almost unbelievable lightning speed time-to-provision of cloud providers – then R.I.P. IT.
IT has no choice but to learn to be a provider (like Amazon and Rackspace) as well as a broker for cloud services from other providers. Who better to onboard the business to complex technology solutions like cloud services? As a broker, IT can be the trusted advisor for cloud services, can offer to be caretaker (provide professional services), and ensure that the company's governance standards are adhered to as well.
Back to Gravitant. One of the largest states in the country had a huge multi-million $ contract with a very large hardware/software vendor to provide cloud services. Months of lost time and wasted $s later, Gravitant helped the state implement their new system using a unique supply chain management approach to assess, provision, and manage cloud services on-premises or at the leading cloud providers. When all is said and done, Gravitant’s SaaS solution provides a great way to convert a data center to ITaaS which optionally can include a public provider. Oh, and did I mention the state saved an additional 30-40% on their infrastructure costs as well as a 5X improvement on their time-to-provision? I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about these guys over the next few months and if you are a customer you can read more about Gravitant in this brief we just published about them.