There is still a significant on going debate about the Cloud phenomenon: it's taking place now, it's hype, it's still to come... Everything ranging from skepticism, excitement, disappointment.
In all truth, the IT industry has been talking about the Cloud for quite a few years, and the IT audience probably feels that it may fall out of fashion even before reaching its full potential.
The key to understand where we are, and what's going to happen lies in what a good friend of mine was recently stating: the Cloud is not a place, it's an architecture!
This simple statement is reminding us the Cloud is not about expecting that sooner or later we could take advantage of something which is going to be deployed somewhere in the skies.
As much as any major technological transition, also the "Cloud" requires hard work, and the technology developments are progressively creating the conditions for the full implementation of this new computing model which is called Cloud.
True, too high expectations have been created by some IT vendors at times when the conditions for implementing such a model were simply just not ready. But that's also somehow part of the IT industry game.
However, for those who have waited until now, it's probably just about time to start embracing the Cloud and exploiting its enormous benefits.
At Oracle, for example, we believe we now have a unique end-to-end Cloud value proposition.
What's the key differentiator? A seamless Cloud and On-premise Architecture which allows moving workloads between the two in a transparent way.
This is the secret weapon to unlock the Cloud flexibility & speed benefits, without alienating the value of the legacy systems which have been built with the experience - and multimillion dollar investments! - over the years.
Actually, if we look at the customers' evolution, there are significant commonalities which are emerging out of the winning business models:
a) Companies thinking of themselves as IT companies selling goods, such as books or any others.
b) They have embraced a service-oriented cloud architecture.
c) Their business models are based on social intelligence rather than product expertise.
d) They are harvesting their enterprise-wide Big Data analytics.
These winning Companies' goals are:
- to stay ahead with innovation.
- to keep pace with change: for them, traditional app developments are simply taking too long. Meanwhile, the technology innovation is entirely changing the landscape.
- to privilege Customer Satisfaction.
They are expecting a Cloud vendor to be innovative, simple to use & consume, etc.
In the past, the IT world was quite stable. Due to the new IT market forces (the so-called SMAC: Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud), things have radically changed: LoB executives have started to buy Cloud solutions, and several IT Departments have been forced to quickly integrate these solutions with their back-office systems.
In order to ultimately avoid anarchical developments, and keep on leveraging the investments made on legacy assets, the CIO's should turn asap into co-creators of innovation.
Yes, but how? Most of them are well qualified for this new challenge, but need to take two fundamental steps:
1) accept that most of IT innovation may not come from their own IT departments, as innovation typically comes from outside. Rigid monolithic systems are preventing change.
2) transform IT into an innovation enabler.
Customers should reap the Cloud benefits by building a digital infrastructure right on top of their current legacy, while they keep on leveraging their robust legacy.
We could call this a bi-modal IT, i.e., with two quite different IT models:
A) systems of differentiation and innovation: the customer-facing part should be modular to allow quick developments, etc.
B) systems of record.
In most cases the first will be hosted in the Cloud, and the latter On-premise, with continuous online connection and integration between the two.
Some customers may also decide to do viceversa, if they'd like to control their most innovative projects On-premise. However, most companies wouldn't modify their reliable legacy applications, and as such won't move them onto the Cloud.
Anyway, this is the good news: Customers finally can (or, probably, must) implement their new Service Delivery Model by turning their Data centers into Secure Data Centers Platforms, whose logical model schema could be articulated in a discrete number of entities.
The secret of the Oracle recipe is that you could indifferently put all these entities (social interaction, big data capabilities, etc) back and forth either On-premise or on the Cloud.
Furthermore, Oracle has the largest market share in programming language (Java) and in the DataBase: most of the ISV's are already using the Oracle technology, and there is a huge Oracle Application portfolio already available, which is also hosted on the Cloud.
If we consider the recent enhancement in the Oracle Enterprise Manager software, enabled to manage both Cloud and On-premise environments, the linkage between the two Oracle propositions is becoming clearer and stronger.
Last, but not last, another Oracle's competitive advantage is the experiential one: in fact, having built its own Cloud, it could share with its customers its own expertise - and lessons learned! - to help them build their own Cloud architectures.
Hope IT wasn't too cloudy 😉