We have entered "The Cloud Era". But what precisely does this mean and how can enterprises adapt and maximise the benefits of this?
In a nutshell, the Cloud Era enterprises now face is revolutionising service delivery and it’s not an optional shift. It won’t just go away, it’s an irreversible series of trends. Competition demands that enterprises keep up with what consumers want, or they will fall behind their competitors.
The Cloud Era encompasses elements such as mobile over fixed computing, personal devices being used for work, rather than provided by the enterprises, wireless rather than wired, cloud hosting rather than on-premises models and applications, or ‘apps’ rather than program suites. The pace of change today is rapid; tablets did not exist until 2010, but now they are being used by growing number of employees for work across various of industries.
All of these contrast starkly with the traditional computing approach of even the mid to late 1990s.
Desktop shipments declining
Recent research by Gartner found that Worldwide PC shipments (particularly enterprise desktop PCs) totaled 71.7 million units in the first quarter of 2015, a 5.2% fall from the first quarter of 2014. At the same time, shipments of mobile PCs, including notebooks, hybrid and Windows tablets, grew compared with a year ago. Gartner forecasts that PC replacements will be driven by thin and light notebooks with tablet functionality. Their early study suggests strong growth of hybrid notebooks, especially in mature markets, in 1Q15.
Research house IDC found that in the US PC market shrank by about one percent from the previous year, with shipments totaling 14.2 million PCs in 1Q 2015. Again any growth centred on mobility devices, portables, particularly around emerging product categories such as Chromebooks, Bing, Ultraslims and Convertibles. IDC said desktop shipments were also relatively sluggish this quarter.
The push for organisations to encompass "The Cloud Era" is coming from consumers not businesses.
A recent article on the Citrix website puts it quite well: “The consumerisation of IT is letting today’s users connect to IT services using an array of devices — from desktops, to tablets, to mobile phones. Pervasive network connectivity, both wired and wireless, is driving anywhere access for mobile and remote workers. Multi-tenant data centres are more efficient and are powering entirely new business models. Elastic compute architectures are enabling web-like applications that automatically scale in response to fluctuations in demand.”
Consumers demanding more
So, highly tech-savvy consumers are now demanding that organisations cater for their mobile, connected lifestyles. They expect the same service responses from your business that they would get from Cloud giants like Amazon, Facebook, Google and eBay. If they are in any way disappointed, it is too easy to switch their business somewhere else. Forget consumer loyalty, ‘it’s the technology, stupid’. Organisations are now primarily measured on how successfully and easily they deliver their products and services to whatever personal device a consumer may choose to use.
The Cloud today offers many faces – public, private or hybrid – and it has become a very specialised and somewhat complicated IT aspect, explaining why organisations are turning to external service provides, expert in cloud management for enterprises, to ensure they keep up with the pack. It could be argued that the days are fading fast where enterprises, particularly large ones, could rely on internal IT departments and experts to configure and manage their complex IT diaspora.
Outsource providers popular
Just like organisations would not consider drilling for their own oil to power their equipment, or installing their own power stations [Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) aside, because this is another story] or necessarily building, operating and maintaining their own data centres, they now routinely outsource key IT services and facilities to external service providers, whose business it is to keep systems up to date and effectively operating.
Such outsourcing is popular because there are so many opportunities to benefit from ‘The Cloud Era’, particularly in partnership with expert outsourcers and managed service providers who know the market and thoroughly track the changes and trends.
It could be argued that only qualified and experienced external IT service providers have the skills, knowledge and expertise to properly enable enterprises to thrive in ‘The Cloud Era’. So, solid advice is to do your homework and find an outsourcing partner who can help you make the journey.
Logicalis is such a partner, to find out how Logicalis can support you and your business head to the Solutions and Services page.