Forrester: Few business leaders understand cloud implications, benefits

Forrester: Few business leaders understand cloud implications, benefits

Summary: Companies are scrambling towards the cloud because of the potential for lower costs and faster project deployments. But business leaders need to evaluate the financial pros and cons before jumping in, according to a new study by Forrester.

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Companies are scrambling towards the cloud because of the potential for lower costs and faster project deployments. But business leaders need to evaluate the financial pros and cons before jumping in, according to a new study by Forrester.

The survey, dubbed "The ROI of Cloud Apps," cites four primary points that business leaders need to consider before adopting the cloud or rebuffing it: the benefits, costs, risks and flexibility.

That sounds simple and logical enough, even to the point where it seems too obvious to be mentioned as those things should be considered during any major change at a company. However, given how much hype there is being dedicated to cloud computing these days, it is worrisome that business execs and IT managers will either transfer over to the cloud too hastily or refuse to join due to possible ungrounded fears.

Here's a chart from Forrester highlighting some examples of how Software as a Service (SaaS) can benefit a particular organization:

Some of the pitfalls, Forrester explains, include being locked into a contract with a vendor and being unable to switch later, as well as other vendor viability risks.

Nevertheless, based on the overarching themes and examples in Forrester's report, the benefits to adopting cloud computing (when planned well) seem to outweigh the potential problems. Here are four examples of ongoing benefits that Forrester thinks will be reaped with SaaS usage:

  • Faster time-to-market speeds: "Many SaaS deployments take only days or weeks. Why so fast? Cloud solutions are ready to go — users need only a login and an Internet connection to get going; there is no need to procure hardware or do testing."
  • Less need for IT support: "The SaaS provider typically includes a help desk in the subscription, and technical support needs are lower since the provider does all the patching and bug fixing.
  • Easier upgrades: "Users get access to the latest features and functionality faster than in an on-premises deployment where upgrade cycles often take three to 10 years."
  • Better utilization: "Firms pay for what they need, eliminating the shelfware problem typical of on-premises deals."

What pros and cons to cloud adoption do you think are missing from these findings?

Related:

Topics: Virtualization, Cisco, Cloud, Hardware, Servers

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17 comments
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  • The cloud is an excellent

    place to store data you can't always have access to. Every business needs this.
    sackbut
    • RE: Forrester: Few business leaders understand cloud implications, benefits

      @sackbut But every business also needs a cost effective solution


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  • I think ....

    ... all versions of Windows 8, from Home Premium upwards, should have some private cloud features users can turn on. MS could make money from encrypted back up services, other services, and a private cloud market place.

    As for businesses, I believe public cloud implementations should routinely be continually mirrored down to a company's servers, and in the event of an outage, the company's servers could temporarily run the service, and maybe mirror the service to another compatible public cloud. In the event access to the Internet goes down, maybe mirrors of the service could be deployed on designated PCs throughout the company. When the original service goes back up, these mirrors could be shut down, and careful synching of data among the mirrors, could make it seem to the average user, that nothing happened. The above would take some fancy programming, but it would be a pretty resilient system.
    P. Douglas
  • Security

    Security is the biggest liability of them all. LulzSec and Anonymous are gallivanting around breaking into private data for laughs and youthful idealism. But the real danger is those who do the same for the profit motive.

    Scary stuff for business owners who put their customer data into centralized cloud storage. Those data silos are a big blinking opportunity to anyone with skills and motive.

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    clarge1120
    • Don't forget data mining

      @clarge1120 -- I agree. And don't forget data mining.

      Everyone tells me I shouldn't have to worry about that. I guess that's because so many online tech companies have been so very trustworthy with our personal data.

      Even if they were (which they aren't), having all my data in someone else's hands means that someone else gets to decide who can see my data; not me. Homeland Security says, "We need to see his data and -- oh, by the way -- you can't tell him we asked." (That's what the PATRIOT Act allows.)

      I'll keep my data where I think I can best determine who gets to look at it, thank you.
      RickHorowitz
    • RE: Forrester: Few business leaders understand cloud implications, benefits

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  • RE: Forrester: Few business leaders understand cloud implications, benefits

    I'm not totally convinced on savings on licensing, essentially all SAAS does is move the cost from CapEx to OpEx, over a long enough timeline I think that subscription service will cost more than the upfront cost of licensing.
    OffsideInVancouver
  • But not all cloud apps are created equal...

    Thanks for your post on the Forrester report, Rachel. I respectfully disagree with Forresters statements about quicker and improved adoption being true of ALL SaaS applications. While SaaS applications often appeal to consumer sensibilities and lend themselves to faster adoption, not all SaaS applications are created equal. IT and business teams still need to evaluate the usability of a new application to determine if employees will be able to use it effectively. The pro here is that with more employees tapped into a new SaaS technology, the more people will want to use it, and the the greater the ROI that can be expected. One recommendation we at Coupa make to clients is that they establish a cloud focus group of employees, at various levels and across departments, to give the technology a test ride before implementing it to the entire organization. Nothing helps visualize success more than getting a taste of it upfront, and most cloud application providers are both able and very willing to make a fully functioning trial like this available.
    jhekl
  • RE: Forrester: Few business leaders understand cloud implications, benefits

    Wow; history and repetition go completely out the window again. Nothing concrete in the entire article.
    tom@...
  • RE: Forrester: Few business leaders understand cloud implications, benefits

    "Business Leaders" don't HAVE to understand the cloud. That's why they hire people who DO understand it!
    tom@...
  • RE: Forrester: Few business leaders understand cloud implications, benefits

    Actually, I'd say that MOST people truly DO, "...understand cloud implications". And, they really DON'T want, it's "...benefits".

    But, with the overwhelming amount of "Cloud"-HYPE suddenly being shoved down our throats... again, I'd say SOMEBODY must be becoming desperate.
    Raife_1
    • RE: Forrester: Few business leaders understand cloud implications, benefits

      @Raife_1 The cloud computing could save companies a lot of money for networking gear and the people to maintain the servers on site. Have central servers is good idea if the bandwidth they require and storage does not exceed the cost to keep their databases on site. The idea that you could access these central servers from any device is a nice selling point, however, then security could be an issue. For the normal user, it is no big deal. Hard drives are so cheap to keep your content at home.
      adaedone@...
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