Interview with Jim Kaskade, Global Executive (most recently SVP and General Manger, SIOS Technologies, Inc.)
Situation: Cloud computing as a concept dates back to the 1960s. “Cloud” became a more prominent concept in 1990s as a metaphor for service delivery over the Internet. The technology that makes it a practical reality has advanced significantly. Broad business adoption, however, has varied depending on the deployment architectures used. What are some of the barriers to enterprises “crossing the chasm” and embracing moving to the cloud?
- Definitions: There are three cloud deployment architectures or market segments when defining the opportunities and barriers to entry:
- Software as a Service – SaaS – represented by distinct B2B applications like Salesforce.com and Google Apps, and B2C applications like Apple’s iCloud.
- Platform as a Service – PaaS – represented by application platforms targeted at application developers and including Microsoft Azure and Amazon Beanstalk.
- Infrastructure as a Service – IaaS – represented by on-demand access to low-level IT infrastructure such as virtualized computer, storage, and networking infrastructure.
- The elephant in the room is that, relative to global IT spend, use of public cloud is in its infancy.
- Adoption of the cloud varies by business size and IT structure.
- Start-ups – particularly technology start-ups – use all three segments. The rationale is simple. It is easier and conserves capital to use all three delivery segments as an expense rather than invest in IT infrastructure. Another benefit is time to market.
- Mid-sized companies – up to hundreds of employees – have more challenges.
- They start with SaaS applications to get their feet wet. Primary concerns are availability and security. If they have good, dependable Internet access, barriers to entry can be low.
- Using a PaaS is also attractive but begins to compete with internal, existing platforms. Mid-sized companies typically have their own IT and developers who may prefer an internal platform. The company’s choices are also limited to a PaaS system that is similar to current development platforms.
- The barrier to IaaS adoption is the IT staff itself. If the IT staff is savvy, they can maintain and run their internal data center less expensively than IaaS services. The question comes down to whether building and maintaining a “crazy smart” IT group is core to the company’s business model.
- Enterprise companies – Fortune 100s or even 1,000s – have far greater challenges.
- Their current IT model already has moved to a mix of 30% in-house and 70% outsourced with partners like CSC and Accenture.
- Most Enterprise CIOs begin their use of “cloud” with a migration to SaaS. The barriers to PaaS are that their systems are tailored to customer-specific applications and internal infrastructure, limiting PaaS use to small, non-critical applications which require quick, global deployment.
- The barriers to using IaaS services are similar to PaaS, where CIOs struggle with tradeoffs between agility and issues of cost, security, and availability.
- The Achilles’ heel of these companies is that 80% of their IT spend is just keeping the lights on.
- The implications of all this are that the cloud is ideally for small to medium companies, some of which will become large enterprises. If you can succeed with a migration of legacy applications to cloud-based services you will become more nimble in responding to customer’s needs – the biggest upside to cloud services in general.
You can contact Jim Kaskade at firstname.lastname@example.org
Key Words: Cloud Computing, Adoption, SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, iCloud, Business Size, IT, Structure, Staff, Applications, Cost, Nimble, Availability, Security, Chasm, Start-up, Mid-Size, Enterprise, Outsource, Partner, Data Center, Legacy