Despite growing usage of, and interest in, the cloud, enterprises and even providers are still feeling their way around in this relatively new technology environment. Like explorers in a new and largely unexplored frontier territory, we’re learning as we go, and dispelling mistaken perceptions along the way.
For example, there is a persistent view “out there” that the cloud is just a repackaging of hosted services provided by ASPs. The cloud’s heritage may be in those services, but the child has clearly outgrown the parent. Thanks to mobility, the cloud enables access to vital enterprise data from anywhere, with a vast range of applications or services offered.
The cloud can scale to meet the demands of many users at the same time that it is customizing to suit individual users. It enables the building and nurturing of user communities. The cloud is to the older hosted service model what today’s laptop is to its 1995 counterpart: lighter and more nimble, with enormously greater power and capacity.
The cloud is also much more than a way to lower costs. In fact, moving to a cloud-based organization may mean only a small net cost savings initially, depending on exactly how an enterprise implements its cloud strategy. The payoff comes later with ongoing equipment and software savings, with the “Big Bang” in the productivity that the cloud enables, particularly in terms of mobility.
This is a prime example of (Russ) McGuire’s Law, which says that the value of any product, service, or process increases with its mobility. Combine with cloud with mobility and you have almost an exponential increase in the ability to do business from anywhere, responding more quickly to customer needs and keeping projects on track regardless of where the key people are at any given time.
Security is often a big concern, and an understandable one, about the cloud, but it doesn’t have to be. Cloud providers have recognized the importance of security to an enterprise, and have taken the steps needed to assure the highest level of security when it comes to access, identity, content, and transactions. On top of that, telecom providers can deliver an even higher level of security through the use of services such as Sprint Data Link, when they are used to access the cloud.
With access to the cloud becoming more and more mobile-centric, enterprises might be concerned that their people can’t always get what they need from the cloud at the moment they need it. Thanks to the rapid deployment and growing coverage of 4G networks, the necessary levels of mobile bandwidth can be met easily.
As I talked about previously, higher bandwidth 4G networks are the key for a more productive mobile cloud experience. Users are going to come to rely more and more on powerful 4G devices, tablets and the strong security offerings of telcosto do business anytime and anywhere via the cloud.