Cloud and the Future of Business: From Costs to Innovation

I have not been updating this blog for a while as I have been busy writing commercial papers on Cloud Computing. The first of these, for Accenture, has just been published and is available here

The report outlines our” Cloud Desires Framework” in which we aim to explain the technological direction of Cloud in terms of four dimensions of the offerings – Equivalence, Abstraction, Automation and Tailoring.

Equivalence: The desire to provide services which are at least equivalent in quality to that experienced by a locally running service on a PCor server.

Abstraction: The desire to hide unnecessary complexity of the lower levels of the application stack.

Automation: The desire to automatically manage the running of a service.

Tailoring: The desire to tailor the provided service for specific enterprise needs.

(c) Willcocks,Venters,Whitley 2011.

By considering these dimensions to the different types of cloud service (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS and Hosted service (often ignored – but crucially Cloud-like)) it is possible to distinguish the different benefits of each away from the “value-add” differences. Crucially the framework allows simple comparison between services offered by different companies by focusing on the important desires and not the unimportant technical differences.

Take a look at the report – and let me know what you think!

3 thoughts on “Cloud and the Future of Business: From Costs to Innovation

  1. This paper brings in new framework explaning the different Cloud Services that I have not seen in other Cloud reports.The framework fits well into all the services explained. I like the fact that the Cloud is looked both from a technology and service perpective.An interesting area is “BPaaS” that IT vendors would look to move into.

    I felt that this Paper on “The Cloud Promise” should have highlighted more benefits/advantages of the Cloud in the long run.Also Hosted Services sounded confusing(Is this reffering to a private cloud? )

    Looking forward for the next set of papers/webinars


    • Thanks for the support. Our aim in this report (remembering that it is one of five reports in total) was to provide a solid foundation for evaluating the promise of cloud by allowing comparison with other services. Our future reports will address these issues including discussion innovation and organisational change achieved through Cloud Computing. I will post the reports on this blog as they become available.

      With regard to Hosted Services – I am sorry it sounded confusing. A hosted service is when a provider does not simply provide a service or virtual machine from their data-centre but provides a complete physical machine. You are essentially renting a server in somebody else’s machine room. For big cloud companies such as RackSpace this was the origin of their business and today remains very important. What we wanted to point out using our desires framework was that such hosted services should be included in the Cloud Computing comparisons and discussions.

      In contrast Private Clouds are different – they refers to a company having its own data-centre, but instead of running it as a set of servers for the business, running it as a cloud-provider to other business units. Take a university for example – traditionally the IT services group would run lots of servers – mail servers, databases etc for the whole university. If it moved to a private cloud however IT services might instead run a Cloud service (similar to Amazon’s). University departments would then access this service on a pay as you go basis – then they could run their own mail servers etc on this private-university cloud service. The advantage of this for the university is that accounting would be easier – costs of IT would be shared on a pay per use basis – and the central IT function’s costs and usage would be easy to account for. Similarly departments and research groups could effectively share computing power – using it at different times and for different purposes.

      Best wishes


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