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Life in the cloud

Life in the cloud 

Cloud trends for the enterprise in 2014

The time for cloud is now. Across the board, companies are increasing their spend on cloud. For smaller companies, Datta said they are adopting things like SaaS and spending in traditional simplified cloud offerings like web hosting. He also pointed out that in the future, we’ll see them spend more on the use of collaboration. For larger enterprises, their IT budget includes network and collaboration, and professional services around the cloud.

The larger the business, the more complex the solution, and the greater the need for consulting.

On this matter, Datta and his team have surveyed IT departments about their budgets. He found that more companies are spending more of their IT budget on cloud or managed services. The pattern is similar for both small and large companies. In the next couple of years, budgets for cloud will increase.

“When you look at the spend that businesses across the board, whether they’re small or large, when you look at what’s going on in terms of the percentage of IT budget that’s dedicated to cloud or to managed services, you start to see that let’s say if 18 per cent of small businesses are spending 30 per cent or more of their IT budget on cloud and managed services,” said Datta.

Cloud technologies changing industry

Mobile devices connected through the cloud, make more information available. The Internet of Everything is advancing this trend. This holds exciting possibilities for the future. Industries have the potential to transform.

“Just about every industry is impacted, whether it’s manufacturing and the increased automation of manufacturing processes, the increased safety and security within them, we’ve gone through so many use cases across different industries where it can apply,” Datta commented. “If you’re in healthcare, the ability to digitize all healthcare documents and have it easily accessible wherever you are, as you can imagine it would be very interesting to see first responders being able to check some idea and get some information on drug interaction that you can and cannot have and being able to treat you much better than if they didn’t have that information.”

Another industry primed for change is oil and gas. As an industry that is highly automated, being able to tell you’re done drilling, or having bump up productivity in the oil patch.

“If you look at kind of how it’s done in Canada, with the Oil Sands, you’ve got all these different pieces of equipment that are moving around that cost millions of dollars, they’re very dangerous, and being able to wire them so that there’s an accurate control of where are all these devices, where are the people, and maintaining safety and security of the assets and the people in those areas becomes possible through cloud,” Datta remarked.

Cloud in our lifetime: onus on us to control what we share

As cloud technologies continue to evolve, a big issue for many companies is security. When looking at possibilities for cloud in our lifetime, Datta noted that there are two sides to the coin.

“I think one is there’s going to be an increasing need to have governments focused on privacy, and for individuals to be focused on controlling the information of themselves that is out there,” said Datta. “On the other hand, there’s going to be an absolute increase in the simplicity with which we’re able to intersect with services and with other people. I think it’s going to be a bit of a dance, where we’re going to have make sure that we’re getting the things that we want without revealing too much that we don’t want the world to know about.”

For Datta, cloud has to be managed properly.

“I think the onus is going to be on businesses as well as consumers to do then. But I think if the balance is struck, then there’s great potential to simplify life, to increase productivity, to create new industries around the world. It has the potential to be as development friendly as the Internet has been.”

Ensuring business success in the cloud

Datta explained that it depends on the size of the business, but in general the approach ought to be having a good understanding of what you want to do with the cloud.

Before entering the cloud, companies should ask themselves questions such as: Are you looking to free up some IT resources by offloading some of your noncore IT resources to the cloud, allowing the business to focus on its core competencies and to drive more innovation and more agility into the market so they can address more opportunities. Is it a matter of reducing cost by leveraging the cloud, what are the things that are driving you towards it?

“Once you understand that, you can then decide what the appropriate solution is for you,” said Datta. “It’s not that businesses are whole-heartedly throwing 100 per cent of their business into the cloud; they’re being selective of the areas that are important to maintain complete 100 per cent kind of on premise control of. There are other areas that they’re very happy to put into the cloud, and then have a hybrid model between those two different kind of infrastructures. There’s lots of ways that we’re being impacted by the cloud, and I think at the end, it’s really an improvement in quality of life.”

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