Our Fifth Report is out – Management implications of the Cloud

The fifth report in our Cloud Computing series for Accenture has just been published. This report looks at the impact Cloud Computing will have on the management of the IT function, and thus the skills needed by all involved in the IT industry. The report begins by analysing the impact Cloud might have in comparison to existing outsourcing project. It considers the core-capabilities which must be retained in a “cloud future”, considering how these capabilities might be managed, and the role of systems integrators in managing the Cloud.

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Cloud and the future of Business 5 – Management .

Hybrid Clouds – Inside and Outside

I want to argue that our current categorisation of “Public and Private” cloud is inappropriate. Instead I want to propose a categorisation of “Inside and Outside” cloud.

Public and Private clouds imply a strict boundary between the organisation and the internet. The organisation is hidden behind a private firewall, while the outside is public.

But in reality everything sits within the cloud – including the enterprise. Using the cloud is not either-or but can be a hybrid. For example I met this week with Peter Cowley, ex MD of New Media at Endermol (makers of TV shows such a “Big Brother”). He pointed out that Endermol for some projects would  ship everything possible to the cloud (video, pictures, pages), but where personal information or critical information was used, the cloud services would hook back to an internal server. This internal server would be basic – supplying only simple HTML pages on the data, but would be integrated into the complex Cloud offering seamlessly. My Hybrid cloud is neither public nor private – it is a mix between inside and outside.

Similarly by thinking about “private clouds” internally – for internal users – we are focusing too heavily on the boundary of the enterprise. This limits options – for example allowing an outside supplier to capitalise on the “Inside Cloud” to offer new services to staff or outside customers.  For example in Telecos the internal fabric of the business (the network) might allow outside companies to run applications on it as a platform. For example an innovative ConferenceCall system – hosted within the Telcos “Inside Cloud” might be offered to the public  –  not exactly public, but neither private.

(see Creeger,M (2010) “CTO Roundtable: Cloud Computing” , Communications of the ACM, 52(8) p 50-56 for more details on the Telecoms case study).