Monday, November 8, 2010

Cloud Computing – The Next Norm in IT

Understanding An Entrepreneurial Opportunity

Cloud Computing Services are geared to be the next wave in the IT Industry and are all set to be the norm of the day, in about 10-15 years. It will redefine the role of IT in most of the SMEs and also in the corporate bigwigs. Almost every analyst/CIO has been found to be accommodating towards this nascent concept of IT service possibility. Though it will be premature to say how exactly the services will rule the roost, Cloud Computing is certainly taking shape in form of verticals like IaaS, Paas, and SaaS to name some. It has gone beyond the awareness stages for some of the IT behemoths and innovation envoys like IBM and Google. But for most of us it has not gone beyond the awareness stage.

Cloud Computing is definitely here to stay. Gartner in its report identifies Cloud Computing as Top 10 strategic technologies for 2011. What is Cloud Computing? In simple language, to quote from Wikipedia, ‘Cloud computing is Web-based processing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices (such as smartphones) on demand over the Internet’. It is same as using any other utility services [like electricity, water or the television cable services].

In my article Importance of Identifying A Niche Segment For An Entrepreneur, I have talked about how niche pockets and sometimes an industry by itself are created as a consequence of growth in any industry and the technological advances. Cloud Computing is an offshoot of IT needs of organizations, the evolution of the Web infrastructure and the advancement of Mobile technologies, all put together. According to Gartner, Inc., the worldwide cloud services market is expected to reach $150.1 billion in 2013.

On careful deliberation it becomes clear that the potential for cloud computing services is high. Any IT implementation [whether a software upgrade or new installation of systems] is a colossal task for organizations. It takes away much of the IT budgets and the productive time from the hands of the CIOs and the CTOs. This is especially true for the SMEs [the Small and Medium Enterprises]. The SMEs typically find the cost differential to be a big burden on their bottomline and on their capacity to be productive. We know that the SMEs usually form the backbone of an economy. This makes the potential of Cloud Computing services is high. SMEs would be keen to adopting new technologies, as this would put them at competitive edge. If it comes via cloud computing services it will spare them the hassles of establishing an IT department as such. Even the bigger organizations are a good target as it reduces the burden on them to maintain large IT departments. A hybrid option can be a good choice for the bigger organizations where they can maintain only the critical IT processes within their purview and buy other required IT services as utility from cloud computing service vendors.

In its nascent stage the Cloud Computing is already being seen forming verticals. The most prominent of these are –

IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service
PaaS – Platform as a Service
SaaS – Software as a Service

Organizations can run almost any kind of application and IT infrastructure that they need by subscribing to the services offered by a cloud-computing vendor. This is the promise, which Cloud Computing has in offer. Whereas at one side it is all set to cast a shadow shrouding the future of current IT industry in India and the traditional IT outsourcing vendors, on the other side it is opening up a slew of business opportunities. It takes an entrepreneur’s mindset to spot it early, march with the growth that it promises and maximize the market share.