We had a look at the way in which cloud computing transformed itself through some astonishing innovations in the past decade. We also differentiated cloud adoption from cloud washing. Cloud resources are plenty and they keep multiplying over time.
Cloud is now the backbone of digital transformation. They drive business growth in 2022 thanks to its heightened capabilities.
But leveraging the cloud still comes with plenty of questions and concerns. Which is why, now we look at the cloud from the level of a company’s need-based interests.
Starting with cloud adoption.
Benefits of Cloud Adoption
Quick recap from the previous blog- The cloud is better than on-premises solutions for the following reasons:
- Cost cutting: Renting and sharing resources instead of building on your own
- Ease of use: The cloud players keep innovating so your job is simplified
- Quick set-up: AWS realized the need for cloud solutions after noticing how slow the entire on-premise development process was. Now it is almost instantaneous.
- Scalability: businesses are able to enable growth using cloud thanks to automation and operations improvement brought by emerging technologies
Cloud Infrastructure Break Down
The cloud ecosystem is massive. There are three major types of cloud platforms- IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
The most basic layer of the three platforms on which the rest (PaaS and SaaS) are built on. IaaS provides a platform for compute, data storage and networking capabilities. IaaS is mainly used for developing software (testing and development, batch processing), hosting web applications and data analysis. IaaS is delivered by all the major players including AWS, Azure, Cisco, IBM, Oracle and Google.
Fact: AWS started the first IaaS service with S3 back in 2006, which is still one of the most popular cloud platforms to date.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Application development. That is the main purpose of PaaS. The vendor provides the hardware and software tools which are typically required for developing, running, maintaining and managing applications. What kind of applications? All kinds of softwares. Thanks to the third party tools and other app development services, PaaS is an effective platform to develop applications. You don’t have to purchase the tools the platform provides, it comes as a part of the service. Life is easier with PaaS, but not as convenient as SaaS.
Usually, the companies that provide IaaS provide this platform as well, but based on needs, the business can opt for third party vendors like Apache Stratos and Heroku. AWS Elastic Beanstalk, and Google App Engine.
Fact: Canon may have been the first company to have had a PaaS platform (even before AWS launched S3!). The story is interesting and worth a read. To read, click here.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
When you don’t want to develop anything on your own, you can opt for (somewhat) customizable but pre-built applications designed specifically for your niche.
Most cloud CRM tools you see today are SaaS tools. Hubspot, Zoho, LeadSquare, Looker and Salesforce are great examples of SaaS tools. They have simplified the work of most businesses that might have had to come up with their own infrastructure to sort and classify leads from various databases.
On-premise CRM solution puts the burden of database management, control, security, and maintenance on the company. As a result, the corporation has to purchase licenses in advance instead of opting for yearly subscriptions. An on-premises deployment may be more advantageous for businesses with complicated CRM requirements. But currently, cloud CRMs like Salesforce and Hubspot are popular for the ease of set-up and cost benefits.
Google Drive is a SaaS product as well. With over a billion users, Google Drive is the most used cloud storage solution on the planet.
Thanks to the cloud, you now have Artificial Intelligence (AI) being delivered as a service.
Analytics as a Service (AaaS)
A niche within SaaS and one of the last layers specific to what it does even though there are other services like DaaS, MaaS, CaaS and NaaS in the markets. Analytics as a Service is almost a BI tool used for data analysis.and examples are restricted to the industry. The BizAcuity Gaming Analytics Accelerator is one such developed for the benefit of gaming companies who need not have to build their own BI systems from scratch.
Fact: XaaS (Anything as a Service) is a vernacular used in the cloud industry which could mean any of the above, from AaaS, MaaS, DaaS or BaaS.
Phases of Cloud Adoption
When adopting a cloud strategy, at the beginning, sky’s the limit. Through every phase of cloud adoption, well, sky is still the limit. No pun intended. Or is it?
Cloud adoption is undertaken having company vision, mission and scalability in mind. Without a well-thought of data strategy and framework in place, the cloud strategy could prove to be more expensive than it has to be. And not as fruitful as the company wants it to be. Microsoft’s blog paints quite the picture about this issue. Cloud is an opportunity when its potential is rightly tapped into with a company’s objectives.
Naturally, cloud adoption is done in phases. Slow and steady but you are still winning.
The first step is the assessment where the company assesses costs, services, security, returns and more. AWS, one whose empire rules the cloud markets has an excellent cloud framework that covers the A-Z of digital transformation along with case studies. It helps when building the assessment.
The next step is to migrate to the cloud. To try and test the platforms in accordance with data strategy and governance. Initial adoption would include multiple databases like Google Workspace or Office suite, sales & marketing CRM, payments system, ERP system (depending on the industry). The next phase would involve pulling the data from the multiple sources by integration. This is done to gain better visibility of the operations, and capture data points of interest for the clients. Reasons may vary from business to business but integration is the cornerstone for customer success.
With cloud data integration, it gets easier to make reports across departments and data storage will never be an issue. Medium and large enterprises could benefit from integrating all their data on the cloud. The importance of customer analytics cannot be overstated in today’s world.
A cloud-first strategy, as the name suggests, encourages companies to consider moving most of their work and data on the cloud. To find solutions on the cloud itself rather than on-premises and then migrating to the cloud. Cloud-first strategy is much more cost-effective than on-premise undertakings.
All-in or Cloud native:
Bid adieu to on-premise altogether. Companies develop data ecosystems on the cloud, the data architecture is now independent of on-premise systems.
Applications developed or built entirely on the cloud with cloud-based or cloud-enabled tools are called cloud native applications. To quote Oracle, “The term cloud native refers to the concept of building and running applications to take advantage of the distributed computing offered by the cloud delivery model. Cloud native apps are designed and built to exploit the scale, elasticity, resiliency, and flexibility the cloud provides.”
But won’t that have its own set of disadvantages? Yes, but the innovations don’t seem to stop.