|By Brad Anderson||
|April 25, 2014 11:30 AM EDT||
Every company worries about competition. When I ran a large enterprise solutions organization, I took steps every day to ensure we were outpacing the competition. Frequently this involved making "build" vs "buy" decisions for the various product parts or services we needed to drive our business. In each discussion, I would ask my staff: "What is going to help us move faster or be more efficient? What will help us beat our competition?"
In today's business world, IT is a significant driver of competitive advantage and the same considerations of "build" vs "buy" apply to IT, just as they do to other parts of the business.
Imagine the following exchange between a Line of Business executive and CIO of a company:
LOB executive: "We need this new business application to be launched before the end of summer to take advantage of back-to-school spending."
CIO: "That's less than six months away. We've looked at your requirements and we can have the solution built and operating close to back-to-school time."
LOB Exec: "Close to? Exactly when?"
CIO: "For sure, before Thanksgiving."
LOB Exec: [rolls his eyes] "Too late. We'll be the only player in the market without an offer"
CIO: "How do you know that? It will take time for others as well."
LOB Exec: "Not necessarily. With cloud services brokerage, you can design and match the requirements of your business application against the capabilities of multiple cloud providers as well as private cloud to determine best fit. You are basically doing a build vs buy analysis and if speed is important as it is, you BUY a solution for almost immediate deployment. You get a Bill of Materials before you decide and use it to track actual spend versus plan."
CIO: "We all want things sooner, but don't you prefer the comfort of knowing that it is in-house and fully compliant?"
LOB Exec: "Who said anything about not being compliant. We can make sure any solution we deploy includes services like application load balancing, security, and back-up and recovery to be compliant. They are all part of the criteria for matching the best fit solution."
What we can't lose sight of is that IT is an enabler to a higher priority responsibility - making the right business decision to outpace the competition. Sometimes it is BUILD, but sometimes it will be BUY. A Cloud Services Brokerage is all about streamlining the Cloud "Buy" process to take the risk and complexity out of cloud consumption. Cloud consumption is the consumerization of IT. Like all consumerization processes, cloud consumption is increasingly about the user experience and less about the operational details. Consumers - Line of Business - just want cloud to work predictably and responsively. Their business is not IT; they are focused on being the best bank, manufacturer or consumer goods company.
One of the biggest advantages of cloud computing is the ability to respond quickly to opportunity. The challenge then is how to choose intelligently among the many cloud choices to match capabilities to your needs. Cloud Services Brokers enable enterprises to normalize evaluation across providers, match provider capabilities against workload requirements, aggregate and procure multiple services to create a complete solution, and control and benchmark actual spend-versus-plan. A company's growing cloud spend are random decisions to remain competitive.
As a result, enterprises can align the consumption experience with the businesses' requirements so all IT spend, public or private, is optimal, repeatable, controllable and compliant. And best of all, the LOB and CIO are aligned on being the best bank, manufacturer or consumer goods company that is outpacing their competition.
There's no doubt that the Internet of Things is driving the next wave of innovation. Google has spent billions over the past few months vacuuming up companies that specialize in smart appliances and machine learning. Already, Philips light bulbs, Audi automobiles, and Samsung washers and dryers can communicate with and be controlled from mobile devices. To take advantage of the opportunities the Internet of Things brings to your business, you'll want to start preparing now.
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