The second area is around which platform will be used to develop enterprise applications that run in the cloud. This side of the market is still emerging, Gens says, but major platform-as-a-service (PaaS) players so far include Google AppsEngine, Microsoft Azure and IBM's SmartCloud PaaS. This decision could determine what type of "IT shop" your organization becomes moving forward.
6) Who are the right partners for your cloud strategy?
Outside of PaaS, there is a wide market developing around the infrastructure, software and service areas of the cloud. This mixes major cloud players that are relatively new to working with enterprise IT - such as Amazon and SalesForce.com - with big-name players that have dominated enterprise IT but are relatively new to working in the cloud, such as IBM, HP, CSC and Accenture. The new players are cloud-savvy but are developing an enterprise IT reputation, whereas traditional players have legacy relationships with IT, and are unveiling their cloud strategies. "I wouldn't count either of these [sets of] players out," Gens says.
7) What's the right destination?
Once a cloud strategy is adopted, the question is what the goal is for the organization. The cloud can be about enabling technology to better service the business to make it more agile and cost efficient. Those solutions are tailored specifically to each business though, so Gens believes there could be continued movement toward cloud services that are targeted to more specific vertical industries. These could include healthcare focused clouds, or clouds focused specifically on the financial services sector, for example.
8) What are the details?
Finally, the technology powering the entire cloud is a focus area for cloud optimization. Enabling the network to connect to this cloud infrastructure and applications, security controls and management of upgrades, are all questions to be addressed. "These are the details with a capital D," Gens says. But, he estimates that 80% of success is asking the right questions for your specific instance.
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