The cloud environment is coupled with internet based data exchange and access, and internet based access to low cost computing and applications. The characteristics of cloud computing include on-demand self-servicing, pooled resources, which allow economies of scale, elastic capacity and usage based billing. Internet access is a must for cloud utilization.

Walking into a data centre, you walk into walls of large servers storing information heading from one end to the other. Cloud enablement offers transformational flexibility and scalability for business and customers. It is not the technology that is new but the ways in which to use it that have evolved.

The evolution of IT grows at an exponential pace. A little walk through the development of IT from one point of view; the mainframe allowed automation of tasks. Electronic data interchange enabled data exchange between organisations. Personal computers and client-server democratized computing and brought technology closer to the user. The internet/web supported open and interconnected networks bringing business closer to customers and started driving new business models. Here then enters the era of the cloud </insert angels singing and shiny sparkles here>

_ “The rise of the cloud is more than just another platform shift that gets the geeks excited, but will profoundly change the way in which people work and companies operate” – Economists 2008”_

Among cloud enabled organisations, there are those taking leadership positions in cloud, those that are piloting and those still researching. This shows that different levels of organisations are reaching towards a cloud enabled administration. Cloud enablement is leveraging IT services for business value add. What we should be doing is helping customers realise the clouds full potential.

The deployment community of the cloud can be differentiated by private, public and community deployment. We need to understand the transformational impact that cloud is having on clients. Building knowledge of cloud is not a one-time event. We need to continue to learn in order to stay current.

The different service models in this revolution are created to suit the needs of all organisations, different sizes and streams. Software as a service (SaaS) comprises of business operations being conducted over a network. With this model perpetual software licences are now being replaced with flexible service level agreements (SLAs). Cost shifts from being a capital expense to being an operational expense.

Platform as a service (PaaS) deploys customer created applications to the cloud. This includes operating systems, application servers and database servers. It means not having to manage underlying software and/or hardware issues.

Infustructure as a service (SaaS) incorporates rentals for storage, processing, servers, software, networks and other computing resources.

When applying cloud implementation and enablement, some of the key issues to consider are privacy and security, data portability and regulatory policies. Business models are shifting and customers are demanding higher levels of service on a global scale.

As this is still fairly new the risks that raise many eyebrows in corporate are data ownership and portability. The transition risks and switching costs involved. The regulatory, taxation complexity and ambiguity that comes with large multi-country cloud deployment efforts made by one company.The human factor, which would affect the adoption of cloud because of vision, threats and the culture around cloud. Assurance of privacy and security, which are at the top of every users’ priorities and Legacy complexity and embedded investments that come with the new deployment.

The business environment is more complex than ever. We need to help clients embrace and leverage the change to their advantage to increase their competitiveness. The impact that information technology is having on everything cannot be overemphasized. Cloud has reached an inflection point in the marketplace. The virtualization of IT impacts economics and business processes of organisations.

Cloud is a business issue, not just an IT issue. It is one of the most disruptive issues in the past 20 years. Performance and risk balance to bring sustainable change over time. It is more about business transformation than it is about IT transformation. Cloud allows firms to focus less on their IT inefficiencies and more on their and focus more on their business competencies.

The focus is now more on service management and less on IT deployment. It has transformed the way data moves making it cheaper, more efficient and faster. Now, companies can be distributed across the globe carrying advantages such as speed to market, improved working capital and reduced invested capital.