Cloud computing a "real" and "accelerating" phenomenon

KPMG report reveals biggest benefits are unexpected

Cloud computing should be part of every organisations' strategic plan, says KPMG’s Director of Technology and Innovation, Bruce McCabe.

“Cloud computing gives organisations more flexibility; it helps them get new products and services to customers faster, and even opens up business options,” McCabe said.

In the report Cloud Computing: Australian lessons and experiences, McCabe noted that there was a significant difference between the expected benefits and those reported in practice by organisations who have adopted cloud computing.

Organisations generally implement cloud computing to improve cost of efficiency of IT, but most have reported much bigger benefits relating to business efficiency, McCabe said.

The report which examines the adoption and use of cloud computing reveals that cloud computing can potentially help organisations rapidly scale computing resources, match computing requirements to fluctuations in business demand, and shift to utility-based pricing.

This presents interesting new market opportunities for local IT companies, or for overseas firms looking to invest in local facilities, McCabe said.

The report outlined significant challenges facing Australian cloud adopters and providers, notably the wide variation in maturity and quality of cloud services and service providers, and found regulatory and risk management concerns were the major reasons underpinning reservations among larger organisations in signing with offshore cloud providers despite the structural and strategic benefits of global business computing.

According to McCabe, cloud computing may introduce new complexities and risks, the substantial benefits that cloud computing could bring should not be ignored.

“Every organisation no matter how large should be trialing and experimenting with some a low risk app because there is so much to learn, and the clear message from research respondent is that they learnt of most of the benefits after they began actively doing it,” he said.

Organisations should also start moving through their applications portfolio and looking for where it makes most sense because then companies can take advantage when mature services arrives, he said.

Despite, the challenges surrounding cloud computing it is definitely the buzz word for 2009, according to CEOs and CIOs.

In a recent survey, IDC listed the top reason why CIOs like cloud computing is because it is easy and fast to deploy. This was followed by paying only for what you use and then gaining access to the latest functionality.

However, IDC revealed that CIOs were not migrating to the cloud also with 22 per cent stating the cloud was too immature, and 25 per cent describing it as an "interesting concept” rather than a strategic plan.

This comes after news that Microsoft has launched its first serious effort to build IT into its cloud plans by introducing technologies that help connect existing corporate networks and cloud services to make them look like a single infrastructure.

At Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference, the company revealed that it is attempting to show that it wants to move beyond the first wave of the cloud trend, defined by the availability of raw computing power supplied by Microsoft and competitors such as Amazon and Google. The company’s goal is to supply tools, middleware and services so users can run applications that span corporate and cloud networks.

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