Analysis firm Forrester claimed in a recent report into business agility that "cloud really doesn't matter" when it comes to increasing revenues, and that there is no clear dividing line between high- and low-performing organisations in terms of knowledge and use of cloud technologies.
This is not surprising. Rather than boosting performance directly, the true RoI of cloud services lies in their power to enable new applications and ways of working.
What Forrester calls Infrastructure Elasticity accounted in the report for almost no difference in enterprise performance.
Organisations need to understand what workloads they are moving to the cloud and why, as well as what benefits there might be.
Jumping headlong into a wholesale migration of IT infrastructure simply because the cloud is the next big thing is not likely to get an organisation very far.
For example, we have found that, while organisations cite increasing flexibility and scalability as a key objective for migrating to cloud, most also indicate their actual requirement for scalability is only average, and entirely predictable.
This suggests that many organisations are investing in the cloud without an understanding of what they need and how to invest.
After all, if they are not experiencing frequent or extreme variation in demand, they may be wasting time and money chasing the scalability that cloud computing offers.
In cloud computing, there is no such thing as one size fits all.
It is important for organisations to honestly assess their needs at the outset, make improvements to their IT systems gradually, and mix on-premises infrastructure with migrating elements to the cloud in a hybrid approach that reflects their changing priorities and needs.
It is a case of evolution, not revolution.
Despite the potential cost-savings inherent in moving to the cloud, its true value lies not in the infrastructure itself but in how organisations use the cloud to improve the development and use of applications.
Increasingly, it is the ability of a cloud provider to both host applications and manage their development that enables innovation within organisations.
We have found that many organisations are capitalising on their cloud adoption to launch "cloud-native" applications they would not otherwise have been able to run.
This is especially the case with communications services.
A cloud service provider must take a consultative approach to recommending an appropriate service based on a full understanding of an organisation's requirements.
Michel Robert is managing director of Claranet
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