A wise man once said, “Buy what you can…Build what you need…Integrate for competitive advantage.” With the evolving cloud market, this motto is even more relevant today than the early days of client/server enterprise applications.
Both end-user DevOps and technology vendors are moving at a hyper-rate to migrate their applications to the cloud and out to the end-point. However, all application providers, Cloud Service Providers (CSP), and integrators are not created equally. Further, there is no panacea for which cloud model one chooses especially as companies are striving to establish interoperability between customers, partners, suppliers, employees, and now devices.
For many years, most enterprises have expanded enormous resources to build/deploy internal systems that enable them to more efficiently plan, build, account for, deliver, sell and deliver their service offerings. These applications focused on generating cost savings through process efficiency and spoke the language of CEOs, CFOs, and COOs. For example, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) providers like; SAP, Oracle, IFS, Infor, and Sage concentrate on delivering products or services more efficiently thus reducing Costs of Goods Sold (COGS), while Customer Relationship Management (CRM) vendors like; Oracle/Siebel, Salesforce, SAP, and Microsoft focus on reducing the costs of sales, marketing, and customer support – thereby reducing Selling General and Administrative (SG&A) expenses. Supply Chain Management (SCM) vendors like; JDA, Epicor, IBM, and PTC focus on the flow of raw materials, logistics, and distribution while Workforce and Service Automation firms like; Calabrio, ServiceMax, ServiceOne, and Workday help to optimize the workforce and Human Resources.
Traditionally, enterprise systems were extremely expensive to deploy, they took a long time to implement, and any changes required costly change management and upgrade processes. Because of these long implementation cycles, enterprises were forced to a no-win choice: build for today and take a SWAG at where you business will be in five years and build towards it. The evolution of the cloud has changed how companies develop, deploy, and most importantly build for today while decreasing risk and improving efficiencies.
Not all applications are “cloud-ready”, even those that claim, “born in the cloud”. However those vendors and CSPs that are architecting their solutions and services for cloud-based delivery models, hybrid offers the most flexible approach over traditional hosted models. While this approach provides the most malleability it has its potential drawbacks including disparity between security policies, API integration, policy/provisioning standards, and no real interoperability at the end-point. Therefore it is important to partner with a CSP that is aligned with your strategy, business model, as well as providing a complementary route to market for your services/solutions.
In future articles we will discuss various cloud models, security and data considerations, platform providers and their engagement models. If I can answer any questions or provide more information please do not hesitate to reach-out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.