Cloud Computing


The Slow but Steady March to the Cloud

The cloud is an idea that actually has been with us for many years before we gave it the name “cloud.” All of a sudden, it is growing into a large and important space. Most companies are dipping their toes in the cloud — however, many corporate customers are going only so far. Why the delay?

Fear of the unknown is one reason. No doubt the cloud is going to be the way we do things in the future. However, the road to that future is full of bumps and turns. There is also an important element of trust that is just not there yet.

Stormy Weather

There have been high-profile problems with the cloud in recent years from big brand-name players. Sometimes cloud services go down, in part or in whole. Sometimes outages affect all of a company’s stored information and other times just part of it. Sometimes they affects users’ ability to access their data.

There are also security threats that companies are concerned about. These factors are creating the element of fear they have in jumping all-in to the cloud.

The areas where companies are testing are less vital areas of their business. However, key parts are still cloud-free and staying that way for a while.

We will see the cloud space continue to grow, but only for less sensitive areas of a business’ operations. That’s why the cloud rollout will continue in fits and starts over coming years. Parts of a company will go online while other parts stay far away.

We are seeing the cloud space really start to grow with competitors like Oracle, Salesforce, SAP, Microsoft, HP, Amazon, Cisco, IBM and many others.

The competitors in this space will continue to grow and change as this industry segment does. Leadership also will change over coming years.

Don’t think today’s leaders will be tomorrow’s leaders. It is very early in this new cloud game, and like any horse race, leadership changes time and time again. That will make this an interesting market to follow.

There will be several brand new players in this space that will grow rapidly but are not yet even on the radar. That’s the way business works. Suddenly newcomers with big ideas will challenge the industry and take us in new directions.

As security improves and innovation continues, expect to see more companies jumping further into the cloud space. Eventually, bit by bit, companies will start to put key applications online.

The Cloud’s Learning Curve

There are different types of clouds. There are public, private and hybrid clouds. They each have their own unique security and operational challenges.

Companies will first put their most critical information in a private cloud. Then, when they feel it is safe, they will go hybrid, intermingling with the public space.

Companies in some industries will be first while others will take longer. Companies are already doing business without the cloud, so they have no real need to rush into the space.

The cloud rollout will be a long-term process over many years, but I think it’s unstoppable.

It’s important to recognize that the cloud is more than just electronics. It’s also people who understand how to operate in this new world. Executives and workers must understand. That’s part of the process that slows down adoption — people learning new skills.

That’s why educating and training the workforce to implement the cloud will be important going forward. Today it’s an edge for an individual — but tomorrow, it will be expected.

Many executives fear that if one of their key suppliers goes down, then that will shut them down as well, since they are all connected in the cloud space.

This is a real concern.

However, some companies are always first to the table. They are the early adopters. They take advantage of the benefits and wrestle with the problems first.

Then, over time, other segments start to jump in as well. This is how the cloud will expand over the next several years.

All of this and more explain why the cloud is the future of business — but it also explains why the rollout will take time. Since this is such a large and important transformation of the business community, it’s important to take things slow and get it right.

Jeff Kagan

E-Commerce Times columnist Jeff Kagan is a technologyindustry analyst and consultant who enjoys sharing his colorful perspectives on the changing industry he's been watching for 25 years. Email him at [email protected].

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