With well-established and well-defined benefits, moving to cloud computing is not a matter of if, but how. CIO Asia takes advice from a recent CIO forum.
Identified as one of last year's Top 10 IT trends by Gartner, cloud computing has already moved beyond hype to reality with its ability to let organisations adopt new business models, expand rapidly, and increase business flexibility, all while greatly reducing capital costs and investment.
Recent research by Vanson Bourne found that in the last two years, cloud computing has ascended from a solution not fully understood by nearly a third of IT decision makers globally, to one that 82 percent of enterprises are using daily.
Not only has cloud computing gained significant traction, the momentum is not expected to slow down anytime soon. According to IDC, application delivery through the cloud in the Asia Pacific is expected to increase by 40 percent in 2011.
It was no surprise therefore that the topic of cloud computing was the focus of attention at a recent thought leadership forum held at Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Twin Towers. It was organised by CIOciety Malaysia, a CIO club administered by Cisco Systems and CIO Asia magazine.
Johan Affendi, head of cloud services, iPerintis, delivered the opening keynote noting a host of business reasons why companies should navigate towards cloud computing.
"Poor asset utilisation, technology obsolescence, a complex procurement process, and a need to focus on core business costs are the driving forces that point towards cloud services as a viable solution," said Affendi.
"It is common to see a slew of platforms, servers, storage where usage is as low as 10 to 15 percent, and procurement processes for IT assets can range between three to six months," he explained. "The economic downturn has also been a catalyst for businesses to focus on bottom lines."
With its broad-based expertise in managing end-to-end cloud environments including the country's largest cloud system, that of Fortune 500 energy leader, Petronas, iPerentis noted that the cloud paradigm becomes more important as a company grows.
"It is even more difficult to internally manage an IT department in and industry as large and complex as the oil and gas sector," he said.
However, a critical factor to successful cloud implementation, according to Affendi, is the need to change the mindset and business model of companies. "Asian companies in particular feel the need to own assets, but under this model, the companies do not own their own servers," said Affendi. "It requires transformation of the thinking process in terms of how one pays for and consumes IT services."
A key part of the cloud computing transformation also sees IT organisations now dealing with vendors as partners and hammering out service level and utility agreements as opposed to just purchasing equipment.
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