If you’re like me, every week you get a plethora of emails and whitepapers telling me exactly what the cloud is and how great it is. “27 reasons why cloud is more important than your family!” is a typical subject line designed to get you engaged and interested.
But the reality is most decision-makers now have a fair understanding of the cloud. And most are fully aware of the opportunity and the benefits. It is the practicalities and the realities of designing, implementing and using cloud technology that need to be addressed.
How do I build a scalable application? What design principles should I follow? What specific security issues must I consider? How do I budget for a pay-as-you-go model?
The last point is an area I believe brokers have a key part to play in. In any organisation, it is typical for a department to be allocated a budget at the start of each financial year. This value of the allocation depends on an account of likely expenditure prepared by the department’s director.
Unfortunately, the pay-as-you go nature of cloud computing doesn’t tally well with this model. Many finance departments are uncomfortable with the idea that costs could potentially spiral due to an unexpected (and uncontrollable) increase in demand. Of course, it’s easy to argue that increased demand for IT is correlated with increased revenue – but it’s difficult to prove this case to the finance director responsible for balancing the books.
Paying on credit card is also not ideal. Credit cards mount up interest charges if not managed correctly. Who is responsible for these charges? And how is credit card expenditure claimed back? It can be tough to keep track of expenses if multiple users are shelling out for use of the department’s cloud infrastructure.
Brokers can remove some of this risk, allowing the consumer to purchase resources in advance of when they will be used and to be invoiced accordingly.
For the finance director, this means controllable costs, correct managed and accounted for.
For the IT director, this means retaining the ability to manage additional resources should demand increase, with the benefit of reducing costs for their baseline usage.
Over time, the processes and culture of enterprises using the cloud will have to change to really drive the benefits of flexible computing. Until that day, a broker can ensure that everyone in the organisation is kept happy.
The author is a Director at Cloudonomics Ltd.