Part 2 – Innovation Blog Series: Head to the Cloud

11.05.2012

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It’s all change

Disruptive technologies trigger change. Change within IT groups and businesses, across competitive markets and for consumers.  Cloud computing is one of the new generations of disruptive technologies that is helping accelerate the pace of change for providers and consumers alike. Let’s explore the potential, and the steps involved.

From physical to invisible

For years, business organizations maintained significant IT asset investments to deliver core business services to their customers.  These investments – in the form of server farms, mainframes, and data centers – were usually physically present on the business premises, or on the premises of an outsourcer or bureau. As the requirements and complexities of those IT assets have grown over time, so have costs and risks involved in managing those business services. The promise of Cloud Computing is that, by removing the necessity for a “physical presence”, the related costs and risks will not exist as they used to.

The Cloud advantage

The Cloud computing model operates as a kind of self-service facility, allowing you to access software, server and storage resources via the internet. “According to the Intuit UK Online Survey, 38% of the UK small businesses are using cloud computing, in which almost half of them use the technology because documents can be shared with greater ease”: you can maintain and manage these resources from the comfort of your own computer device through a web browser. The software, processing power and storage remain in the Cloud.

Businesses benefit from the convenience of Cloud as they can save on time, expertise and money, which is normally essential in buying, deploying and managing the infrastructure needed. Cloud shelters the user from these complexities. There is no need to use capital to purchase hardware and software. Instead, you can rent what you need on a subscription or pay-as-you-go basis.

Customer challenges

So if the attraction of Cloud computing is so compelling, why doesn’t everyone adopt Cloud? Simply, IT shops have heavy investments in core applications and infrastructure, but little budget or incumbent skills to adopt new technology or change operating models. And for some, the prospect of removing perfectly good assets from the building, for them to be replaced by an undefined external ‘service’, remains somewhat counter-intuitive. The barriers to adoption are therefore partly technological, and perhaps partly emotional.

Elevating to the Cloud

Instead of considering this as a technology strategy or a subjective decision, Cloud is seen as a business decision, and then the justifications become clearer.

If your organization is looking to move IT infrastructure into Amazon or Azure using their IaaS offering, an enterprise looking to SaaS as a means of rapidly provisioning your solution to new markets and new customers, or an architect looking to build a more flexible application architecture incorporating PaaS technology such as SQLAzure.

Deciding on the best model will be shaped by a number of factors including budget, skills, IT maturity and business strategy. Often, organizations will want to protect their most prized IT assets, typically their core applications and customer data. For these organizations, the fact that many such applications could be hosted in the Cloud – either by them or for them – create unprecedented opportunities for flexibility and cost reduction.

As well as the change in technology, your IT staff will need to consider new and updated skill sets to support the Cloud based operating model. With the ever growing IT skills crisis, a Cloud strategy could be the best answer, as organizations which embrace it will be more attractive for prospective IT staff, particularly new graduates, while potentially being able to forego the need for harder-to-find, niche skills.

Micro Focus and the Cloud

Industry analysts predict Cloud computing expenditures as a percentage of total IT budget to increase to over 35% in the coming three to five years. There are significant benefits for those who embrace Cloud – lower cost IT, greater business agility, a highly competitive IT workforce, and new levels of customer and community engagement.

Micro Focus is empowering this innovation today, with unique technologies such as Visual COBOL.  Enabling organizations to re-use their core business assets (services) repurposing them for new market and new technology environments such as the Cloud.   With Visual COBOL, an organization can take their existing COBOL based applications assets and deploy them to a Cloud infrastructure of their choice – IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS.

The Micro Focus Visual COBOL development and deployment products will run within an IaaS environment today, with no change to your existing application code.  Additionally, our Visual COBOL for Azure product provides direct access and capability to Microsoft PaaS tools and technologies, including integration with our COBOL deployment platform.  These technologies make it possible to bring many of today’s enterprise applications originally designed for single user access into an elastic, multi-tenanted model, enabling an enterprise to bring SaaS delivery to its customers.

Focus on what matters

Visual COBOL offers developers a means by which to take existing applications to Cloud architectures today. Reusing existing core applications enables development teams to focus on new inventive capabilities and user enhancements, rather than core business service design and development.  The result and savings to the business is reduced risk, lower cost, and faster time to market.  Visual COBOL makes the leap to the Cloud a simple step forward.

Are you ready to elevate towards innovation?

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