The adoption of cloud computing is being driven by marketing and other non-IT divisions of organisations, IDC Australia and Asia-Pacific research associate vice-president Tim Dillon says.
Speaking at the IDC Cloud for Business Conference in Auckland this week, Dillon cited IDC itself as an example, noting that a major initiative at the research firm, the overhaul of its CRM systems with the introduction of Salesforce.com, was driven by the sales and marketing organisation.
“It did not come from IT and wasn’t led by IT”, he noted.
Another example is the use of social media as a marketing tool; in many cases, the IT department only hears about such initiatives when Marketing tells them about it, Dillon said. The trend can also be seen in Human Resources departments adding social media and mobile cloud functionality in order to attract candidates.
Add smartphones and tablets to the mix, and the ability of non-IT parts of the organisation to introduce new applications and services is multiplied.
“IT will continue to be an influence and a check on those parts of the business that introduce cloud services,” Dillon said.
After breaking cloud computing into SaaS (Software as a service), IaaS (Infrastructure as a service) and PaaS (Platform as a service), he noted that a new “as a service” offering is emerging, that of “Cloud business as a service.”
It includes business processes such as insurance claim processing being performed via the cloud.
“Who is pushing this? Outsourcers,” Dillon claims.
Analytics is also being delivered via the cloud, with Dillon citing the example of a fast-food chain in the Philippines that uses cloud-based automated reporting, as well as real-time analytics and audit-trail analysis as cloud services.
He also noted that when talking about cloud computing, it is important to note the distinction between public, private and hybrid clouds.
“Hybrid is where we are going to end up,” he predicts.
Dillon gave some pointers on what makes an offering a cloud service, as opposed to mere hosting. For example, a true cloud service should have self-service provisioning and be scalable.