I spend a lot of time talking to companies about cloud and when asked why I’m so enthusiastic about it, my answer is the same: it is exciting to be on the first step of something that is a complete game changer.
It’s an exciting time, also, to be at eir Business, where we’ve partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS), the biggest provider of cloud services in the world. We are the only partner in Ireland that has the combination of Advanced Consulting Partner and Direct Connect Partner for AWS.
When you think about it, a telco is the original cloud management company. We may not own the underlying infrastructure that is the cloud, but as a telecommunications company, we are used to managing big, industrial-strength cloud infrastructure with millions of people accessing it.
It’s difficult to overstate the scale of change being created in IT because of the cloud. In my opinion, within two years, there will be no organisation that’s not using cloud infrastructure of some sort.
The economies of scale already becoming available as a result of the cloud are impressive. For example, consider the switchboard (PBX), something most companies can’t do without: solutions like these can all be delivered via the cloud without the traditional capital expenditure.
There are other big opportunities for companies to save money by leveraging the cloud. For example the old model of licensing software, where you have to pay 20 per cent of the value of the licence each year to maintain it, is evaporating. Companies want to use software applications when they need it – three days of data mining, for example, per quarter, and no more. That pay-as-you-use operating model is one that every software company in the world is grappling with.
Like the desktop PC revolution, cloud is changing everything
I think about the changes being created by cloud as being somewhat similar to what desktop computing did when it was an innovation decades ago.
When PCs started to appear on every office desktop, it was a huge change: computing had become accessible to businesses of every size. You didn’t need to invest in a central mainframe anymore, and machines became smaller and were distributed in different locations. That was stimulated by innovation in chip production, and it allowed smaller companies for the first time to harness processing power they couldn’t afford before.
The cloud takes that to the next level: it puts all IT infrastructure into a virtual environment, introduces the pay-as-you-go model and the power is unlimited. There’s no longer any worry about planning ahead for how much capacity you need – and no need to purchase according to the maximum power you expect to require down the road. The cloud unshackles you from all of that, and that’s what makes it so exciting.
Real-world stories of business in the cloud
You don’t get a better case study of scale and the cloud than Smyths Toys Superstore, who have worked with eir Business on their cloud requirements. The majority of the company’s business is done in the run up to Christmas, and online sales are slowly becoming the mainstay of their business. The volume of business they’ve done in the last two Christmases has doubled, and that has been enabled because of an AWS Cloud Solution from eir.
They don’t want to purchase IT that’s going to sit idle for 11 months, and that’s slowly going out of date. They don’t want to apply patches and updates, keeping that infrastructure ready for those really busy weeks. The cloud gives them industrial-strength IT when they need it.
For business owners who still aren’t convinced, the stats say everything
Not every business owner I meet believes the time is right to move to the cloud, but it’s important to look at the stats. The majority of governments across the world have a cloud strategy. Every software provider has a cloud strategy. The biggest online retailer in the world has run their business on this for 15 years. The cloud is resilient, it delivers return on investment you’ve never even considered before, and what’s more, you don’t need so many people in-house to look after your IT anymore.
Seventy per cent of the cloud marketplace is now with AWS. That means that if you’re working with eir, an AWS partner who also provides a full enterprise-class service wrap, you’re absolutely going with the market leader.
I do believe that we’ve only begun to see the changes cloud will bring. That’s what revolutions do: they sweep through, and nothing is ever really the same again.