Cloud Takes Business Agility and Flexibility to New Heights

How does IT BECOME the business?

For many CEOs, the question is no longer “if” information technology will impact their business – it’s by how much. Data is being produced and replicated at unprecedented speeds, ushering in a new age of IT growth. The emergence of cloud, big data and IoT is transforming the data center, and those who capitalize on this technology movement stand to gain significant competitive advantage. As the ultimate goal is to maximize efficiencies, cut costs, and drive revenue – cloud and “as-a-service” models now put corporate IT in the unique position of becoming a transformative change agent in business.

Global businesses are in the midst of a “Third Industrial Revolution,” where competitive advantage comes from capitalizing on the new digital infrastructure and massive amounts of data flowing across it. As our recent e-Book points out, this digital transformation is empowering companies to move faster, serve customers in new ways, and create expanded opportunities for growth and innovation. Perhaps that’s why Bessemer Venture Partners pegs the cloud computing market at nearly $128 billion by 2018 – a 22.8 percent growth rate. A survey of large and mid-sized corporations by Harvard Business Review even reports a primary reason for business cloud adoption is agility, followed closely by accelerated innovation and reduced costs. But why IS cloud having such a significant impact? Let’s consider the following fictitious example to learn what’s really going on.

ABC Corporation generates most of its revenue at predictable intervals throughout the year. The company is exploring new business initiatives to increase revenue and smooth predictability. With this in mind, it embarks on a business strategy based on the cloud and leveraging the 12 Factor App Approach -- a methodology supported by a series of principles for developing and deploying cloud native software to accelerate developer productivity. By adopting this approach, ABC Corporation immediately achieves these initiatives while enhancing revenue consistency to reduce seasonal business dependency. Customer demand is easily met via auto-scaling, allowing IT to expand and contract as needed in real-time with no additional capital outlay. Return on investment (ROI) grows by matching customer needs in real-time, while the ratio of infrastructure-to-cost utilization is also maximized.

In this instance, the true differentiator isn’t so much cloud itself -- but an ability to leverage the right hosts for targeted application workloads across enterprise cloud. As evidenced by such examples as ABC Corporation, the answer for many is the right platform and “as-a-service” offerings from leading service providers like CenturyLink. The game-changer here is AppFog – CenturyLink’s multi-tenant Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) based on Cloud Foundry. Working with AppFog, developers could focus on writing actual applications, rather than managing the underlying infrastructure. Adhering to next-generation application architectures such as Twelve-Factor, the business immediately benefits from enhanced agility and productivity, while more efficiently using resources and lowering overhead.

PaaS is making a real difference across the industry, affording companies the flexibility to transition demanding applications to the “as-a-service” model – including databases, big data with Hadoop distribution, and data analytics. As cloud becomes even more entrenched, options like Bare Metal Servers can then be considered – delivering the computing power of a physical environment with the same automation and “pay-as-you-go flexibility” as virtual machines. From a management perspective, companies can leverage Role-Based Access Control (RABC) to ensure development teams are provided well-defined maximum resources with built-in chargeback. At the same time, this approach means these groups hold real-time power to allocate the care of PaaS via API calls or a Web-based portal.

While ABC Corporation is one fictitious example, there’s no faking that cloud and “as-a-service” models are delivering REAL results -- creating the foundation fueling the next-generation digital infrastructure. Companies now have a very real opportunity to maximize IT as a true business transformer. Don’t be a roadblock, take the next step today.