Cost Benefits of Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing is a “newsworthy” term in the IT industry in recent times and it is here to stay!

Cloud Computing is not a technology, or even a set of technologies — it’s an idea. Cloud Computing is not a standard defined by any standards organization.

Basic understanding for Cloud: “Cloud” represents the Internet; Instead of using application installed on your computer or saving data to your hard drive, you’re working and storing stuff on the Web. Data is kept on servers and used by the service you’re using; tasks are performed in your browser using an interface / console provided by the service.

A credit card and Internet access is all you need to make an investment in technology. Businesses will find it easier than ever to provision technology services without the involvement of IT.

There are many definitions available in the market for Cloud Computing but we have aligned it with NIST publication and with our understanding. NIST defines cloud computing by describing five essential characteristics, three cloud service models, and four cloud deployment models.

NIST's Architecture of Cloud Computing

NIST’s Architecture of Cloud Computing


“Cloud Computing is a self service which is on demand, Elastic, Measured, Multi-tenant, Pay per use, Cost-effective and efficient”. It is the access of data, software applications, and computer processing power through a ‘cloud’/a group of many on line/demand resources. Tasks are assigned to a combination of connections, software and services accessed over a network. This network of servers and connections is collectively known as “the cloud.”

Cloud service delivery is divided among three fundamental classifications referred as the “SPI Model,”

Cloud Service Models - IaaS, PaaS, SaaS

Cloud Service Models – IaaS, PaaS, SaaS

Software as a Service is a model of software deployment where an application is hosted as a service provided to customers across the Internet. By eliminating the need to install and run the application on the customer’s own computer, SaaS alleviates the customer’s burden of software maintenance, ongoing operation, and support. Salesforce is very popular Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software that is offered only as a service.

PaaS model makes all of the facilities required to support the complete life cycle of building and delivering web applications and services entirely available from the Internet. Google App Engine (GAE) is an example of PaaS. GAE provides a Python environment within which you can build, test and then deploy your applications.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is the delivery of computer infrastructure as a service. Rather than purchasing servers, software, data center space or network equipment, clients instead buy those resources as a fully outsourced service. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one of the pioneers of such an offering. AWS’ Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is “a web service that provides resizable compute capacity”.

There are four deployment models for cloud services regardless of the service model utilized (SPI).

Public clouds refer to shared cloud services that are made available to a broad base of users. Although many organizations use public clouds for private business benefit, they don’t control how those cloud services are operated, accessed or secured. Popular examples of public clouds include Amazon EC2, Google Apps and

Private cloud describes an IT infrastructure in which a shared pool of computing resources—servers, networks, storage, applications and software services—can be rapidly provisioned, dynamically allocated and operated for the benefit of a single organization.

Hybrid Cloud represents composition of two or more cloud deployment models (private, community, or public) that remain unique but are bound together by uniform or proprietary technology that enables data and application portability.

Community Cloud represents infrastructure is shared by several organizations and supports a specific community that has shared concerns. E.g. FDA compliance needs specific controls where audit requirements can’t be met by other deployment models.

Cloud computing brings efficiencies and savings. The diverse benefits of cloud computing are undoubtedly worth pursuing. Cost-cutting is at the top of most companies’ lists of priorities in these challenging economic times. Having turned from revolutionary possibility into increasingly well-established custom, the cost of ‘outsourcing to the cloud’ is now falling dramatically.

In only paying for the resources used, therefore, operating costs can be reduced. After all, in-house data centres typically leave 85%-90% of available capacity idle. Cloud computing can lead to energy savings too, removing from individual companies the costly burden of running a data centre plus generator back-up and uninterruptible power supplies. Thus it results in reduction of CAPEX & OPEX.

Cloud Computing is in its formative years, but expect it to grow up quick. The prospective of Cloud Computing is mind boggling and the technology and business options will increase exponentially.

Still question remains, how Clouds are beneficial to the enterprises?

  • Focus on core business
  • Cloud computing increases the profitability by improving resource utilization. Pooling resources into large clouds drives down costs and increases utilization by delivering resources only for as long as those resources are needed.
  • Cloud computing is particularly valuable to small and medium businesses, where effective and affordable IT tools are critical to helping them become more productive without spending lots of money on in-house resources and technical equipment.
  • Cost savings
  • Remote access
  • Ease of availability
  • Real-time collaboration capabilities
  • Gain access to latest technologies
  • We can leverage the sheer processing power of the cloud to do things that traditional productivity applications cannot do. “For instance, users can instantly search over 25 GB worth of e-mail online, which is nearly impossible to do on a desktop.
  • To take another example, each document created through Google Apps is easily turned into a living information source, capable of pulling the latest data from external applications, databases and the Web. This revolutionizes processes as simple as creating a Google spreadsheet to compare stock prices from vendors over time, because the cells can be populated and updated as the prices change in real time.
  • Cloud computing offers almost unlimited computing power and collaboration at a massive scale for enterprises of all sizes.
  • “ has 1.2m users on its platform. If that’s not scalable show me something that is. Gmail is SaaS and how many users are on that?”
  • Multi-tenancy enables sharing of resources and costs among a large pool of users, allowing for:
  1. Centralization of infrastructure in areas with lower costs (such as real estate, electricity, etc.)
  2. Peak-load capacity increases (users need not engineer for highest possible load-levels)
  3. Utilization and efficiency improvements for systems that are often only 10-20% utilized.
  • Sustainability comes about through improved resource utilization, more efficient systems, and carbon neutrality.

But, are there any issues with Cloud Computing?

  • The benefits of cloud computing will not be realized if businesses are not convinced that it is secure. Trust is at the centre of success and providers have to prove themselves worthy of that trust if hosted services are going to work.
  • CIA (Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability)
  • Application performance
  • IT Security Standards – There are multiple standards for security protocol for IT systems that have yet to be implemented into cloud computing.
  • Regulatory compliance— the vendor will be required to participate in internal and external audits. They will need to find a way to accommodate auditors from all firms using their service. [FDA Compliance is not feasible yet.]

Let’s consider Facts and Figures before jumping into minor details of Cloud Computing. Compare the annual cost of Amazon EC2 with an equivalent deployment in co-located and on-site data centers by entering a few basic inputs (Ref: Amazon EC2 Cost Comparison Calculator).

Cost Component - Amazon EC2(Public Cloud), Co-Location, On-Site

Cost Component – Amazon EC2(Public Cloud), Co-Location, On-Site


High-CPU Instances: Instances of this family have proportionally more CPU resources than memory (RAM) and are well suited for compute-intensive applications.

20 High-CPU Extra Large Instance (75% utilization) and No. of Peak Instances – 5 with 10% Annual Utilization

  • 7 GB of memory
  • 20 EC2 Compute Units (8 virtual cores with 2.5 EC2 Compute Units each)
  • 1690 GB of instance storage
  • 64-bit platform
  • I/O Performance: High
  • Avg. Monthly Data Transfer “In” Per Instance (GB) -10 GB
  • Avg. Monthly Data Transfer “Out” Per Instance (GB)- 20 GB
  • Region: US-East
  • OS: Linux

Cost Details:


TCO On-Site

TCO On-Site


TCO Co-Location

TCO Co-Location

Amazon EC2(Cloud Computing)

TCO Amazon EC2

TCO Amazon EC2

Annual Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Summary

Annual Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Summary

Annual Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Summary

Hence … Proved :-)

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Comparing the Business Case for Private Cloud over Public Cloud

Business Case for Private Cloud over Public Cloud

Cloud isn’t a technology hullabaloo but ultimately a powerful business disruption, a real game changer. The central theme of a Public Cloud is provisioning and management of IT resources by a 3rd party while Private Clouds offer an organization a solitary point of control for security, manageability, privacy, governance, audit and compliance. CIA (Confidentiality, Integrity & Availability) concern is a major road block in the path of Public Cloud Business case and Private Cloud Business case wins over. Need of the ‘Business’, dictate terms.

Do you Agree?

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Cloud Deployment Models

FAQs on Cloud Computing

FAQs on Cloud Computing

1.1          What is Cloud Computing? Why is it relevant for Business?

Cloud separates application and information resources from the underlying infrastructure, and the mechanisms used to deliver them. Cloud enhances collaboration, agility, scaling, and availability, and provides the potential for cost reduction through optimized and efficient computing.

Cloud describes the use of a collection of services, applications, information, and infrastructure comprised of pools of compute, network, information, and storage resources.  These components can be rapidly orchestrated, provisioned, implemented and decommissioned, and scaled up or down; providing for an on-demand utility-like model of allocation and consumption.

This is a critical change for small businesses because it gives them access to services that were too complex or too expensive before.

  • Email / Email Security
  • Office applications
  • Backup
  • File storage and sharing
  • Share resources, files and information on an intranet
  • PC management
  • HR / CRM Applications
  • Online stores

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1.2          Do you see cloud services being very different from other kinds of outsourcing? Is it more a difference in degree than in kind?

Cloud services in their purest form are outsourcing. They move the responsibility for a process or service to a third-party provider. Customers have to evaluate cloud services similarly to the way they evaluate other outsourcing. Right business environment and migration path are the vital factor. The alternatives have to be competitive on the bases of cost, capability, and performance. There are also security and functional requirements to take full advantage of moving to cloud services.

1.3          How it is relevant to my existing business?

The momentum is toward more of a business-services orientation, with the value being in the ability of the business to select services that match their requirements and then acquire and dispose of those services in a much lower-friction way than they do today. So the role of IT changes considerably from a purveyor of service to being an integrator of service. IT needs to be involved because there are still considerations related to cost management, performance, security, and data placement, but the changes enable the business to behave in a much more independent way with its use of technology.

1.4          How realistic is the premise that a business can go to market faster using cloud services?

Particularly among small to medium businesses, there is a considerable advantage to using cloud services to go to market, whether it’s introducing new products and services or being able to expand geographically.

Concept of “minimum business infrastructure” is cloud-enabled and allows businesses to set up operations in a new geography quickly. It also lets them better integrate the supply chain or compress or shorten it by using cloud-based services or to deploy those services into a mobile environment more quickly. Even at early stages, it’s easy to see how the availability of a set of standard services being acquired and deployed more rapidly could speed products and services to market and also to new geographies and segments more quickly.

1.5          How resource utilization is guaranteed and what are the effects of it in Cloud Computing?

Multi-tenancy: Consumers might utilize a public cloud provider’s service offerings or actually be from the same organization, such as different business units rather than distinct organizational entities, but would still share infrastructure to utilize it efficiently.

From a provider’s perspective, multi-tenancy suggests an architectural and design approach to enable economies of scale, availability, management, segmentation, isolation, and operational efficiency; leveraging shared infrastructure, data, metadata, services, and applications across many different consumers.

Multi-tenancy in cloud service models implies a need for policy-driven enforcement, segmentation, isolation, governance, service levels, and chargeback/billing models for different consumer constituencies.

1.6          Explain the Cost Saving by Cloud Model.

No to CAPEX, Yes to OPEX; “Pay as you Use” billing Model

To address this challenge use pricing benchmarks to compare offerings. For example:

  • Compute benchmark: $x.xx /Instance/month
  • Storage benchmark: $x.xx/GB/month
  • Network benchmark: $x.xx/GB/Month transferred in and/or out
  • Backup benchmark $x.xx/GB backed-up

Prices vary from service to service and vendor to vendor.

1.7          What are the other benefits?

Improved Time-to-Market / Agility: The cloud is an excellent resource for support of the software development life cycle. The ability to transition the staging environment into a production environment with small scripting or a few flicks of the mouse can speed time to market of a solution.

Reduced IT costs: With less hardware and software to manage, there is less demand for expensive IT support staff. Many online services come with community help and support.

Flexibility: Capabilities can be rapidly and elastically provisioned — in some cases automatically — to quickly scale out; and rapidly released to quickly scale in.

Access to new services: Cloud computing gives you access to advanced technology that may not be available or cost-effective any other way.

Measured service: Cloud systems automatically control and optimize resource usage by leveraging a metering capability at some level of abstraction appropriate to the type of service; “”Pay per Use”” Billing Model.

Security: All kinds of security measures are cheaper when implemented on a larger scale. Cloud providers have the economic resources to replicate content in multiple locations by default which results in out-of-the-box disaster recovery.

Energy Efficiency: Key current technology for energy-efficient operation of servers in data centers is virtualization. Key current technology for energy-efficient operation of servers in data centers is virtualization.

1.8          What level of availability I can achieve?

Cloud has N+1 redundancy for all vital components. Due to scale it ends up being 3 + 1 or more, while in an in-house solution it often means 1+1. You notice the overhead going down from 50% for in-house to 25% for a large Data Center.

The best way to ensure good service is with solid Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with clear contractual language. Look for vendors who publish their performance and have clear financial penalties for underperformance. SLAs typically include availability aspects and give you an idea of what the baseline is.

Service Level Agreement (SLA) for services:

  • 9’s does it has (look for 99.9% to 99.999% uptime guarantee)?
  • Transparent, public site to publish any system issues or outages
  • Compensation commensurate
  • Applications and data stored in several geographically separated datacenters
  • Tried & Tested Disaster recovery strategy
  • Data Back up
  • Data Export utility in a usable format

1.9          How regulatory compliance can be met?

There are cases, due to regulations, where you don’t want your data stored outside of some particular area, maybe a specific state and certainly not outside your country. It’s the customer’s responsibility to comply with government regulations. “”You have to be sure you are still in compliance once you move to the cloud,

  • Make sure that this is part of contract
  • Right to Audit Clause
  • Consider which applications and data they are considering moving to cloud services, and the extent to which they are subject to compliance regulations
  • “Cloud aware” auditor since many might not be familiar with cloud and virtualization challenges.

1.10       Can existing security policies ensure the security in Cloud Model if not then what is the risk profile for implementing cloud solution? What steps I need to take for maintaining privacy and security?

Security controls in cloud computing are, for the most part, no different than security controls in any IT environment.  However, because of the cloud service models employed, the operational models, and the technologies used to enable cloud services, cloud computing may present different risks to an organization than traditional IT solutions.

A cloud computing deployment — whether private or public — means you are no longer in complete control of the environment, the data, or the people. A change in control creates a change in risk — sometimes an increase in risk and in some cases a decrease in risk. Some cloud applications give you full transparency, advanced reporting, and integration with your existing systems. This can help lower your risk. Other cloud applications may be unable to modify their security profiles; they may not fit with your existing security measures, and may increase your risk. Ultimately the data and its sensitivity level will dictate what type of cloud is used or if a cloud model makes sense at all.

For low-value assets you don’t need the same level of security controls and can skip many of the recommendations — such as on-site inspections, discoverability, and complex encryption schemes. A high-value regulated asset might entail audit and data retention requirements. For another high-value asset not subject to regulatory restrictions, you might focus more on technical security controls.

1.11       What do I need to do to ensure my existing security policy accommodates the cloud model?

A shift to a cloud paradigm is an opportunity to improve overall security posture and security policies. Early adopters of cloud applications will have influence and can help drive the security models implemented by the cloud providers. Extend existing security policies to accommodate this additional platform. To modify policies for cloud, need to consider similar factors: where the data is stored, how the data is protected, who has access to the data, compliance with regulations, and service level agreements.

  • Trust related to transparency of cloud providers – highly important in public clouds where visibility is low, as well as private clouds where you need to be aware of controls.
  • Data concerns – Confidentiality, Integrity & Availability
  • Incident Response, Notification and Remediation
  • Application Security
  • Identity and Access Management
  • Governance model – Governance and Enterprise Risk Management, Compliance and Audit, Information Lifecycle Management, Portability and Interoperability
  • Resource monitoring and management system – look at a system that can track resources, data and access.

1.12       Can you demonstrate real-world successful deployments or Use-cases?

Enterprise Usage Scenario (The most typical cloud use cases):

End User to Cloud (Astronomic Data Processing): Applications running on the cloud and accessed by end users

Enterprise to Cloud to End User (Logistics and Project Management in the Cloud): Applications running in the public cloud and accessed by employees and customers

Enterprise to Cloud (Payroll processing in the Cloud): Cloud applications integrated with internal IT capabilities

Enterprise to Cloud to Enterprise: Cloud applications running in the public cloud and interoperating with partner applications (supply chain)

Private Cloud (Central Government Services in the Cloud): A cloud hosted by an organization inside that organization’s firewall.

Changing Cloud Vendors: An organization using cloud services decides to switch cloud providers or work with additional providers.

Hybrid Cloud (Local Government Services in a Hybrid Cloud): Multiple clouds work together, coordinated by a cloud broker that federates data, applications, user identity, security and other details.

1.13       Which are the decisive factors to integrate / migrate the current services in cloud Model?

Avoid vendors with limited integration capabilities, or ones that require extensive hand-coding to achieve the needed links between systems. Instead, look for one who uses open APIs for the fastest and most economical approach to integration.

1.14       How do you see the challenge of managing and monitoring the service levels at the endpoints where the users are involved?

Cloud computing is not feasible without service management, governance, metering, monitoring, federated identity, SLAs and benchmarks, data and application federation, deployment, and lifecycle management. The ability to integrate a cloud service with your processes and automation systems can be a key competitive advantage.

Managing the endpoints is not always done well in today’s environment because of the multiple layers of technology required to deliver a service. For example, consider a hotel reservation system. The hotel cares about the availability of the reservation system, but what it really cares about is filling rooms. You need an end device, a local area network, a router, a switch, a circuit, another router, another switch, a load balancer, an application server, and a database server. All those things need to be in place and working today to be able to say, “Yes, I can make that reservation.” We use synthetic transactions to make sure each of those components is available. Not only to represent the availability of the end service, making the reservation, but also to anticipate the denigration in service going on, seeing that the database is slowing down, or that a router starts to bog down.

One of the continuing outcomes will be more emphasis on the services themselves and less on the hardware and technology underneath, which translates to a greater focus on doing business.”

1.15       When to avoid using Cloud Service Models?

  • Slow or unreliable Internet connection
  • Absolute physical control over data
  • To run a specialist line of business applications; for example, a hotel booking system or an estate agency database, you may not be able to integrate it easily with some cloud-based systems.
  • Cloud computing tends to work on the ‘one-size-fits-all’ model; if you need highly customized Application then it may not work well.

1.16       What factors do we need to consider achieving Portability and interoperability? Any standards are available?

Portability and interoperability must be considered up front as part of the risk management and security assurance of any cloud program.

  • With Software as a Service (SaaS), the cloud customer will by definition be substituting new software applications for old ones.
  • With Platform as a Service (PaaS), the focus is minimizing the amount of application rewriting while preserving or enhancing security controls, along with achieving a successful data migration.
  • With Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), the focus and expectation is that both the applications and data should be able to migrate to and run at a new cloud provider.

Due to a general lack of interoperability standards, and the lack of sufficient market pressure for these standards, transitioning between cloud providers may be a painful manual process.

1.17       What are the Current Market Trends and Future Opportunities?

Current Market Trends:

  • The cloud has moved from “when” to “how”.
  • Large organizations rely on commodity IaaS for testing and developing new applications, and for hosting applications that are less-critical, while small businesses use it for mission-critical applications.
  • Organizations won’t commit entirely to public cloud resources and private cloud resources as they can use either model.
  • Developers are flocking to PaaS for their enterprise applications.
  • Replace most new procurement with cloud strategies.
  • Start with private clouds as a stepping stone to public clouds.
  • Get real about security.
  • Move to private clouds as a back up to public clouds.
  • Rackspace, Dell and Equinux’s launch of a demonstration environment of OpenStack promises to change the industry by enticing customers to consider toying with its open source platform for free while paying for consultative support services associated with cloud design and management.

Future Opportunities:

Enterprise-focused clouds will look to further specialize their offerings. Cloud users and providers cited “analytics” and “automation” as a service they’d like to have.

The investments by large vendors, the advances in control and choice, and the increasing popularity of web and mobile applications – are the biggest drivers of PaaS adoption.

SaaS will focus on integration of data and services. This integration could prove to be a valuable offering that will address the growing number of cloud services.

The innovation on cloud storage will focus on primary storage for enterprise applications in the cloud.

Private clouds are here to stay whether as a whole or part of a hybrid cloud environment.  Two major trends can be expected in the coming years – advanced hybrid cloud capabilities, and a wave of innovation around higher-level features and specialized functions.”

Presentation Cloud Computing Overview

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Cloud Computing Overview 0.1d

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Communications and Collaboration tools with Cloud Computing

Collaboration and Communication with Cloud Computing
Typical requirements, characteristics of Communications and Collaboration tools within enterprises
Today’s business realities force companies to radically change the way they operate on a global scale.
  • Companies are expanding operations to many parts of the world in order to secure and optimize talent where it lives.
  • Quick, effective and efficient communications
  • Reducing the delay involved in connecting and sharing information becomes increasingly important in today’s fast-paced world.
  • Travelling to meet customers
  • Expand markets and see staff becomes less economically viable.
  • Corporate Responsibility – Environmental factors – use technology to conduct business.
  • Social paradigms are converging with e-mail, IM, voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and presence, creating new collaboration styles.
  • Participation point of view – Geographically distributed organizations need to cultivate innovation while being efficient. More efficient and more productive people want easy to use systems.
    • People – Immediate access to essential people to manage a strategic project or client requirement
    • People increasingly want to use mobile devices for collaboration to share content, information and experiences with their communities.
    • Organization – Business units, separated by continents, engaging in a planning session via video web conferencing without the need for travel.

Collaboration technologies are shifting the business landscape. Collaboration uses TECHNOLOGY designed to fit the way people work and enables them to be more efficient and productive.

Communications and Collaboration tools can improve the way companies collaborate and share information faster and more seamlessly.

Such tools include

Communication and Collaboration Tools

Communication and Collaboration Tools

Organizations are beginning to deploy corporate IM and presence, VoIP and shared workplaces on smart phones, mostly focusing on Microsoft OCS and SharePoint.

Benefits of Communications and collaboration tools:

  • Enable companies to connect with partners, customers and employees.
  • Interaction between teams in different locations and allow for them to work together on, and share, documents and data
  • Live meetings that take place technologically rather than physically
  • Link people together in ways that changes the way people work
  • Efficient processes using routing and presence.
    • Routing enables a communication connection by office phones, mobile devices, and computers.
    • The idea of presence technologies enables people to see if someone is available and accessible for conversations across various channels.
  • It reduces the delay involved in implementation and it doesn’t require IT to always be involved. These types of solutions have traditionally been owned, implemented and managed on premise.
  • On devices, mobile applications or browsers can already access micro blogging, social networking and communities. Native e-mail clients on BlackBerry, Palm and WinMo smart phones integrate collaboration features with different levels of support.
  • Wireless e-mail products are beginning to integrate with collaboration platforms.
  • IM/presence, voice applications, telephone integration and shared documents will give competitive advantage to vendors.

E-mail and other communication and collaboration tools are vital to business operations. However, organizations have become increasingly frustrated with:

v  The high cost

v  Security risks of traditional on-premises e-mail solutions.

v  Maintaining e-mail hardware

Software and security suites already places a huge burden on IT departments, who also face increasing demands for universal e-mail access and enhanced collaboration capabilities.

But as cloud computing provides new options for utilizing technologies, accessing collaboration in the cloud offer other possible benefits as well.
How Cloud is a naturally fitting model (based on its characteristics) to support the requirements of collaborators; trend: from traditional ways of collaboration to Cloud based Collaboration
Collaboration technologies allow companies to achieve many of their business objectives. Companies have turned to technology to improve collaborative efforts.

With the advent of cloud computing, collaboration technologies become tools that enable companies and their employees, to operate on a whole new plane.

Traditional Approach Cloud Approach (Revolution in inter-connected workforce)
Cumbersome, On-demand applications
Expensive Ubiquitous broadband access
Complex Mobile technologies

Cloud solutions have proven convenient, powerful, and cost-effective in bringing diverse and distributed teams together. Companies are turning to cloud solutions to overcome the productivity and continuity challenges of distributed workforces.

The cloud is emerging as a vehicle to reap the benefits of collaboration tools in the form of a service. Using the cloud offers another approach to achieving business objectives that are enabled by collaboration solutions.

And utilizing collaboration tools in the cloud has been demonstrated to be a relatively low-risk, high-return on investment approach to getting started in cloud. The fact is that some services available in the cloud already have a proven track record.

They include web conferencing services such as Microsoft Live Meeting or WebEx. Most people have used these and other services and done so confidently for a long time – in the cloud.

Here are some examples of cloud-based collaboration solutions.

  • Video and voice conferencing
  • Presence and communication

Cost factors also make collaboration in the cloud a possible as well.

  • Companies are under pressure – to reduce IT costs, to maintain business operations.
  • Cloud computing – New ways for companies to procure and consume collaboration technologies. (SaaS)
  • The economic downturn – Increase usage of cloud computing.

As the reality of cloud computing begins to take hold for companies considering new IT opportunities, the benefits of collaboration technologies utilized as a service through the cloud become readily apparent.

Collaboration in the cloud immediately opens options for access to new and cost-effective ways to address company goals and objectives. For example:

v  Being able to get communications and collaboration services up and running quickly;

v  Lower upfront deployment costs;

v  Ease of access

v  Pay for software solutions you need, when you need them;

v  Access to automatically updated software and security.

v  Virtual team members can conduct face-to-face meetings in real-time (often with video) and collaborate on projects and share, discuss, and edit project documents, project plans, presentations, and more.

v  Users can gain access to their PCs, Macs, documents, presentations, and spreadsheets remotely from any location.

v  IT services personnel can remotely investigate and resolve problems with users’ laptops, desktops and mobile devices.

v  Cloud e-mail currently has minimal adoption, but it will grow significantly in the next three to five years. In 2009, only 3% of e-mail accounts were in the cloud. By the end of 2012, that number will increase to 10%

If used effectively, collaboration in the cloud enables companies to capitalize on needed technology without the extensive, upfront capital expense that comes with the time-consuming installation and configuration of IT systems. This raises the capital expense (CAPEX) vs. operational expense (OPEX) comparison.
Illustration through case study covering user requirements scenario, cloud based collaboration architecture / solution components, very higher level process steps for setting up/migrating to Cloud based Collaboration, benefits, challenges and how they can be overcome
v  No upfront investment in IT support resources or infrastructure

v  Social Networks = Professional Networks

v  Peer Networking

v  Avoiding Hierarchies (LinkedIn Direct Introductions, Face book Friends, Tweeter Followers, etc)

v  Blending Synchronous and Asynchronous work

v  Agility: ability to get up to speed and be productive very quickly. It gives them the opportunity to be very flexible and dynamic.

v  TCO of cloud-based e-mail and collaboration solutions is a fraction of that of traditional on-premises systems.

v  SaaS-based communication and collaboration solutions deliver savings in hardware, software, maintenance and support.

v  Improve reliability and availability, Seamless software upgrades

v  Instant scalability,

v  Paying only for what they use.

v  Anytime/anywhere access: Importantly, SaaS applications are accessible from any location with an Internet connection and serve a central location from virtual teams to collaborate and maintain productivity on the-go.

v  Easier to-use, easier-to-configure, and easier-to-integrate with other applications in the ecosystem which results in rich functionality and better user experience than traditional on-premise applications.

v  Increased productivity by improving your presentation and collaboration capability

v  Significantly reduced travel and operational costs

v  Higher sales by enhancing interactions with customers and prospects

v  Expanded access to prospects, partners and subject matter experts

v  Realized a faster and greater return on investment

v  Improved and more streamlined access to company data and communications which leads to greatly improved efficiency and marked productivity gains.

v  More effective communications through roles based contact – workers and customers use the right contact method and reach the appropriate company resource immediately improving user and customer service experiences.

v  Improved support for the mobile workforce allowing a remote worker the same access to the data and communications they need, when they need it, without having to be in the company network.

  1. SECURITY FEARS: Google Docs and Zoho, whether to store company and client data on the cloud.
  2. No familiarity with working on the cloud. It is easier to simply email the document, double click the document and start editing it rather than log on to the separate system in the browser and then navigate to the folder to edit the document.
  3. Lack of integration with existing systems. For example, we don’t always have a list of Gmail IDs for everyone in the team. This means an additional step to make the collaboration document accessible to all. Each cloud service requires a different login ID and password than the regular network sign-on on the machine.
  4. Having documents on the cloud severely handicaps their ability to access the documents when there is no Internet connectivity. And working off the Net is slower than working off the local machine.
  5. Not always knowing where your data is stored, and who has access to it
  6. Concerns over regulatory compliance, and auditing
  7. Concerns over the long term viability of your selected cloud and
  8. Limited reporting and analytics features were another sticking point for IT

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