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Cloud Computing, Service Management

Cloud computing for business: where do we begin?

Microsoft’s latest announcement on Office suite has confirmed that cloud computing is here to stay. (Wainewright 2012). While at personal level people are feeling the impact on cloud computing by using applications like Dropbox or googleDocs, at business level still many CxOs are sitting on the fence. Their concern is due to the

  • risks associated with cloud computing
  • about the tangible benefits promised by the cloud delivery model
  • fact that they do not know what is available in the market

Risk management of cloud computing has many dimensions. I have discussed about the data security risk here. < https://psymphony.wordpress.com/2012/03/

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Apart from Capex to Opex spending change and potential savings, cloud computing services do offer tangible benefits if properly managed. I have discussed the importance of having a benefits management plan here < https://psymphony.wordpress.com/2012/07/

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In this blog, I will discuss the point 3, “the fact that they CxOs do not know what is available in the market”. I have classified the cloud computing solutions in the three business areas. They are

  • Business Continuity
  • Business Growth
  • Business Operations

Business Continuity

According to ITIL “the business continuity management process involves reducing risks to an acceptable level and planning for the recovery of business processes should a disruption to the business occur” (ITIL 2007). The key term here is “acceptable level of risks”. Currently many Small Medium Enterprises (SME) and non-profit organisations do not plan for business continuity as the cost involved is high. With cloud computing, setting up a remote recovery site has become affordable to many organisations.

Case study:

Here is a case study of RDNS, a community organisation that has used cloud computing model to plan their recovery. I had a chance to listen to the firsthand account of the implementation from the former CIO of RDNS. The person mentioned that initiating the disaster recovery process can be carried out using an intuitive, self-service interface. Overall, at the time of my interaction RDNS (Oct 2011) they were quite positive about the cloud DR implementation experience.

http://www.optus.com.au/business/Success+Stories/Royal+District+Nursing+Service+SA+-+Cloud

Market place – Infrastructure As A Service:

Here is a partial list of providers who can help to setup a remote recovery site:

http://kloudax.net.au/category/service-model/infrastructure-as-a-service-iaas/

Business Growth

There are 3 ways a business can grow:

  • By finding new customers
  • By getting more orders from the existing customers
  • By getting high value orders from the customers

The CRM tools provide campaign management and contact management features that enable you to grow the business. CRM is one of the relatively mature markets in cloud computing market started by SalesForce. The current tools offer a wide range of features.

Case study:

Well, I have to admit that I did not find a good case study so far.

I suggest the following ones.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM gives many whitepapers. Please read “Next –Generation CRM : Driving Productivity with End-to-End Cloud Services”. This whitepaper shows the advantages and increasing trend of CRM in the cloud. There are case studies listed in the last section of the paper.

http://crm.dynamics.com/en-gb/white-papers

Here is a case study of the software product that facilitates community consultation for major mining/infrastructure projects. At the time of writing this blog, this product does not seem to be available as a SaaS model. As there is an emerging trend to offer pay-as-you-go licensing option among software providers, I have included it in the case study.

http://www.consultationmanager.com.au/projects.html

Marketplace: CRM

You can find partial list of CRM providers here:

http://kloudax.net.au/category/service/crm/

Here is a portal that compares the product features of CRM

http://www.comparecrm.com/

Business Operations

There are many options to streamline the business operations through cloud services. Some of the service areas I want to discuss are:

  • Email
  • Service Desk
  • Project Management
  • Collaboration
  • Enterprise Resource Management

I will address the first two areas in this blog.

Email:

According to Gartner, “Email is one of fastest growing cloud computing services. By the end of 2014, penetration of cloud email and collaboration services (CECS) will stand at 10 percent and will have passed the “tipping point” with broad-scale adoption under way.” (Gartner 2011).

In Australia we are witnessing a trend in Educational institutes using Microsoft and Google email instead of in-house hosted Microsoft Exchange. Microsoft has offered Live.edu free of cost educational institutes. In the latest Microsoft release, it announced a Office 365 for Education product. (PCWorld 2012).

Moving Email management in cloud computing seems to be a fairly straight forward option if the security risks are assessed and managed. I believe, with Microsoft’s push to cloud email the adoption of cloud email services will be faster.

If you are a CxO reading this blog, I encourage you to consider Email services in the cloud. You can use the ROI calculator to provide detailed estimate. (http://kloudax.net.au/tools/)

Case study:

This Google Apps site lists many well-known Australian companies that have “gone google”. The stories include Mortgage Choice and Flight Center.

 

http://www.google.com/intl/en_au/enterprise/apps/business/customers.html

Marketplace – Cloud Email:

You can find partial list of Email providers here:

http://kloudax.net.au/category/service/email/

Service Desk:

IT Service Management tools are sometimes referred as service desk/help desk/ticketing tools. A true service management tool encompasses features broader than help desk/ticketing. The features are generally compatible with ITIL.

Case study:

The following case study tells the story of a global manufacturing company with two service desks moving to a single SaaS based solution. According to the customer, the major benefit is the capability to perform self-service.

http://axiossystems.com/share/downloads/casestudies/CSS_Nilfisk_US.pdf

Marketplace: IT Service Desk

You can find partial list of Service Desk providers here:

http://kloudax.net.au/category/service/it-service-management/

About Kloudax:


Kloudax is a portal that provides an overview of the cloud market that enables the business to see “what is out there”. Kloudax provides a categorized service directory and additional tools that empowers to take informed decisions. It also includes an introductory e-learning course complete with audio and self-assessment.

The portal is still evolving. Please do provide feedback. If you think some cloud providers are missing, please let us know. If you wish to add any features that will be useful to you, please provide feedback.

Did I tell you that it is all free?

Visit Kloudax at:

http://www.Kloudax.net.au

References:

Wainewright, P. (2012) Microsoft, the old dog, learns some new cloud tricks | ZDNet. [online] Available at: http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-the-old-dog-learns-some-new-cloud-tricks-7000001002/ [Accessed: 25 Jul 2012].http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/en

Gartner.com (2012) Gartner Says By End of 2014 at Least 10 Percent of Enterprise Email Seats Will Be Based on a Cloud or Software-as-a-Service Model. [online] Available at: http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1796914 [Accessed: 25 Jul 2012].

Pcworld.idg.com.au (2012) Microsoft releases Office 365 for Education – Software as a service, cloud computing, internet, collaboration, e-mail, applications, software, Microsoft – PC World Australia. [online] Available at: http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/article/428907/microsoft_releases_office_365_education/ [Accessed: 25 Jul 2012].

ITIL (2007) The Official Introduction to the ITIL Service Lifecycle. OGC, p.181.

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About Murali Ramakrishnan

Murali is the Managing Director of the boutique consulting firm "Process-Symphony". Process-Symphony specializes in IT enabled business process orchestration. http://www.process-symphony.com.au http://www.kloudax.net.au

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