Biz Solutions

SPECIAL REPORT: The need to simplify the cloud

Nowadays, the term “cloud computing” is being bandied around so ordinarily, mentioned not only in more formal IT-related settings but even in informal musings as posted in blogs or social networking sites. The “cloud” is, indeed, now part of the daily lexicon, no matter the context.

Enter the cloud

For all of its popularity, however, the cloud continues to be misunderstood, with this misunderstanding best seen in the fear of businesses to fully embrace it. In fact – and even as IDC predicted that spending on public cloud services in the Philippines will grow from $124 million in 2013 to $429 million in 2017 – a 2013 survey by Microsoft Philippines revealed that ““while there’s no denying that cloud adoption is accelerating among some business, there is a lack of awareness among other businesses of how their concerns can be easily addressed (by cloud)… Myths prevent organizations from becoming more agile and having a cost-effective way to improve productivity in a new world of work where employees are demanding more flexibility, more mobility and who collaborate better with social tools.”

Other studies highlighted the same. In 2012, for instance, Wakefield Research reported that “majority (54%) of people surveyed said they did not use the cloud, when in fact, 95% do.” Specifically, “65% bank online, 63% shop online, 58% use social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter, 45% have played online games, 29% store photos online, 22% store music or videos online and 19% use online file-sharing. All of these services are cloud-based.”

In 2014, Amdocs – in “Cloud adoption in small- to medium-sized businesses” – noted that wile cloud adoption is growing, many businesses “are only likely to subscribe to minimum entry level services”. For instance, in Brazil, where Amdocs noted the highest cloud consumption, businesses only subscribe to “some (cloud services) which are free, e.g. storage and back up services (87%) – typically Dropbox and Google Drive – and some paid for services, e.g. computer networks (54%).”

That the cloud remains largely misunderstood goes without saying, with the Microsoft Philippines’ survey involving 2,017 Microsoft partners in 11 countries in Asia Pacific (APAC) enumerating pervasive myths vis-à-vis cloud. Particularly in the Philippines, these include: lack of privacy, not secure, no ownership, less productive and no ownership.

Aside from these myths, there are “restrictions” that limit cloud subscription, according to Amdocs. These include: 1) laws and regulations (for instance, “arduous registration requirements that may act a cost barrier for the use of cloud computing); economic performance (that is, businesses in markets with unstable economies are “being more cautious when investing in cloud services and making do with their existing infrastructure); and private investment (i.e. no investor confidence yet on how cloud will improve businesses, which is related to the myths related to cloud, as noted above).

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But the pervasive confusion around cloud “points to a need for service providers to heavily promote their cloud-based services, but also have the technological backbone and infrastructure to provide the bundled services and consolidated billings. It is clear that consolidation of services is perceived as a step in the right direction companies now offer more simplified cloud,” Amdocs stated. “(Businesses) that are currently ‘cloudless’ need education on the benefits the cloud could provide. Spill over effects do exist… e.g. word of mouth, but service providers need to do much more to create the required change.”

It is because of this that many service providers now offer simplified cloud in attempts to make it enticing, thereby push adoption faster. Because truly, it’s time to wake up and smell the… cloud.

Upgrade Magazine takes a closer look at some companies that recognized the continuing complexity of cloud, and therefore offer simplified approaches to it.

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