Back in the day, Cloud was just a technology for technologists. It had some business benefits, maybe, but they came anyway, regardless of the Cloud solution. The design choice was a technical one.
This picture is changing as the use of Cloud has extended through deeper and wider penetration across the organisation, and as the demands on the infrastructure have grown with the scale and complexity of the technology workloads.
In this challenging business environment, Cloud choices create business issues. Paradoxically, the demands of technology can often be met in a variety of ways with services from different brands, but the business implications are more significant and drive the outcome for the business.
As a result, the strategy for hosting must be devised with the ambitions of the business as a major input, as well as the technology requirements. The business dimension can, in fact, have quite profound implications for Cloud choices, driving some of the fundamental decisions about architecture and provider.
Cloud strategy and choice have become as significant for the CFO as they are for the CTO. Both must be satisfied by the decisions made, because they have long lasting, significant implications for both aspects of the organisation.
At the forefront is cost. Cloud pricing is a dynamic that is often hard to model, driven by usage and workload. Different providers use different approaches leading to different implications for the finance office. Different Cloud architectures have significant price implications, too. Data movement is often heavily charged, for instance, and so storage and transport can be key factors in how the cost model works.
Today’s business world is unpredictable and changes can be dramatic, driven by all sorts of factors from scale-up and scale-out, competition and customer demand, to data regulation across borders and pricing decisions by service providers. Change of Cloud infrastructure can be immensely costly and difficult to deliver, and so the choice of architecture is often a big bet on the future and what demands will be placed on the business to respond to change.
Cloud is increasingly complex and an ever larger area that must be sourced carefully so that it can be resourced and supported. The growing demands this places on the business for skills and workload, time and attention and cost, are making hosting infrastructure a critical item in the budget and for operations to manage.
Operations and budget are now just as important as technology for the choices about Cloud and infrastructure that will be felt in Finance and HR, as well as the tech team.
Peter is chairman of Flexiion and has a number of other business interests. (c) 2021, Peter Osborn