“A Cloud” - A physical collection of particles of water or ice suspended in the air, usually at an elevation above the earth’s surface.
“The Cloud” – A form of computing that involves a large number of computers connected through a communication network such as the Internet.
The optimist in me believes that if you were to ask a young child what the ‘cloud’ is, they would innocently point to the sky or offer a delicate description, but in our day to day lives we now know the ‘cloud’ as a worldwide hosting phenomenon. The personal cloud market has been a growing force for a number of years now but what had always surprised me was the disproportionate growth we had been battling in the business world. The same battles continued to rear their ugly heads with question marks vs. legacy on-premise solutions. These solutions were outdated, slow, restrictive, costly and generally wouldn’t offer a complete solution for the business, but the mind-set remained. The IT myth “if I can see the server box, it must be secure” or the perceived complexity of migration from an old technology to a new one was holding true and inevitably curtailing innovation.
As recent as the last 8-10 months however we have witnessed that mind-set reversing dramatically and are now looking at a rigorous demand from businesses across all sectors to adopt cloud solutions as first option and as a matter of priority. If I’m honest I struggle to put my finger on any single radical act that turned the tide, rather a collection of smaller ones, largely attributed to the recent commitments and advancements in the industry by certain online giants. The unveiling of Microsoft’s cloud-based Office 365 for the iPad, Amazon's announcement of the general release of its new cloud desktop computing business, Intel’s investment in Cloudera, Cisco’s commitment to spend $1 billion on a ‘cloud of clouds’ and Google’s continued dedication to enhancing their cloud practices. I have to admit my personal favourite announcement of late is the emergence of Salesforce as the first cloud company to enter the top 10 in Gartner Inc.'s worldwide software market share report. Massive achievement!!
More relevant for us at Bedford however has been the declining concern over the security of a cloud solution, as we’ve seen the confidence grow naturally as a result of live client experience. If you asked the security question you would get the whole truth and nothing but the truth. In fact we encouraged the discussion, but too often the door was shut before the assurances could be laid bare on the table. It seems that attitude has changed, and changed for the better! The business world can be a small one sometimes and as in-house expertise grows so has the good word spread. Dare I even say a certain passion is developing among businesses, a passion that Michael Gould and co have embraced for a long time.
Although the mood is shifting, the stat is commonly batted about that businesses face an 80/20 budget split, allowing for 80% spend maintaining legacy solutions and leaving only 20% for investment in new technologies. A lot of that will be down to fear, the fear of the unknown, the fear of the migration, the fear of merging old technologies with new ones. Providers are ready and want to help. I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing Anaplan at the frontier of this technology for a number of years now and have fought the good fight alongside them, but it’s getting easier, that battle is starting to give way as more and more businesses look to embrace the cloud methodology as their own. It is no longer a matter of if but when.
“The world that we know in five or ten years won’t be defined by the form factors we know today. The software we use will birth many form factors that will become commonplace,” Satya Nadella, CEO at Microsoft.