How organizations are leveraging cloud to accelerate business growth

Cloud today is no longer a question of ifs or buts. Today, organizations across the sectors are testing various flavors of cloud for different functions. The flexibility of cloud has changed the rules of the game, as even smaller enterprises can use world class infrastructure on a pay-per-use basis. This has led to cloud adoption across all levels of the organization – C-suite, Corporate IT, and end users. That said, there are still some sectors that are reluctant to use cloud because of security reasons.

To discuss the opportunities and challenges for adopting cloud in the Indian scenario, Dataquest, as part of its CIO series, recently hosted a focused roundtable on how organizations could leverage the full potential of the cloud. This roundtable was done in association with Microsoft’s partner PC Solutions and Microsoft in New Delhi.

The discussion was moderated by Ibrahim Ahmad, Group Editor, CyberMedia by highlighting the new emerging trends in the field of cloud computing and what the industry thinks about this trend beyond security. Panelist included: Ashok Jade, CIO, Shalimar Paints, Subroto K Panda, CIO & CISO, Anand & Anand, Harish Chandra, GM-IT, Sarovar Hotels, Dheer Singh, GM-IT, Yepme.com, B M Rangan, Sr. VP & CISO, Quatrro.

With this backdrop in mind, the panel discussion delved on the issues that are becoming the nightmare for CIOs / CISO and how vendors can act as catalyst by providing better SLAs, flexibility in terms of lock-in period, etc.

In today’s competitive scenario, organizations need best technologies to be ahead of their competitors. Therefore, it becomes important for IT heads to implement leading technologies that can create more value for the business.

The cloud is no longer a tech talk — it’s a business term and this upcoming approach has pushed vendors to work on innovate and game changing solutions. Having said that, if your company is in a  growing stage and have to use their money in high potential projects then cloud should be considered, said some of the panelists.

Agreeing on these lines, many CIOs believe that cloud market will witness a paradigm shift from competitive to simplifying environment, which will lead to better rates, better understanding and stability.

First step towards change

Today cloud computing brings along with him unprecedented benefits to organizations. Therefore, IT leaders have to understand this alarming opportunity and make best use of it. “I think cloud is mature enough to take our core applications. But at the same time one should draft a proper roadmap to reach the ultimate goal,” added Ashok Jade, CIO, Shalimar Paints.

He also talked about how at Shalimar Paints they had taken non-core applications in the first phase and will be taking core applications like finance, ERP, etc in the second phase.

Another interesting point was raised by Subroto K Panda, CIO & CISO , Anand & Anand on how his law firm had overcome various roadblocks through cloud computing. The biggest challenge for them was to provide real-time access of information/ annexure to their lawyers at any point of time. Secondly, when their lawyers take down notes from their clients, they have to keep them at secured platform from where they can easily access.

To tackle all these issues, we decided to implement cloud at our premises. As it was not possible with our current in-house IT infrastructure. To begin with, we moved to private cloud setup and then after seeing its benefits, we moved our core applications to public cloud,” added Subroto K Panda, CIO & CISO , Anand & Anand.

Harish Chandra, GM-IT, Sarovar Hotels talked about the wait and watch mantra mode of the hotel industry. He accepted the fact that this industry never implements technologies that are still at infant stage. “For us technology is important to serve our customer. We have a lot of training manuals with us. We have kept all these manuals on cloud for our staff. To make sure that no one misuses these manuals, we have built up a strong secured framework due to which no one can download these manuals and at the same time we are able to see which staff has logged in and for how much time”.

Roadblocks in the Cloud Journey

One has rightly said that success comes to only those who pave their way by tearing the oceans of difficulties riding on the ship of wisdom and planning. Similarly, to reap the benefits of cloud, one has to witness various roadblocks to reach its ultimate goal.

To throw some light on various hiccups that many CIOs face during their cloud journey, Dheer Singh, GM-IT, Yepme.com puts stress on reliability and flexibility factor. He further explained that how performance decreases as the traffic increases in peak hours and therefore if you have to keep within the defined convergence rate of 2.5% to 4%, then it becomes important during the peak hours that you should be able to scale up at your hardware level also.

Further, some of the CIOs believe that there is lack of standardization among vendors. To support its point, Ashok Jade mentioned his experience while dealing with different vendors. He explained how today different cloud service providers have their own policies and standards as compared to others. So it becomes difficult for a CIO to deal with different vendors at the same time.

Agreeing on this Deepak Chawla, GM, PC Solutions, talked about various concerns an IT head has today: What should they do with their existing IT investment if they plan to move on cloud? How to deal with different vendors, if I am not a single vendor shop? What if my apps are running on different platforms. So can I have single platform to deal with all kind of applications?

Need of the Hour

It is important for IT leaders to have a balance between on-premises and cloud applications and at the same time it is vital that leaders within business who are tasked with making technology acquisition decisions should be well appraised of both the benefits and the risks of cloud computing, which in turn, will help them make good buying decisions.

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