Adapting to Winds of Change

August 7, 2014
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Look around at global economic conditions. More than skirmishes—near flat out war—in Ukraine, Gaza, Iraq and Syria.  China pushing up GDP numbers by loading local provinces with more debt. European economies are on the mend, but not yet turning the corner. Fickle western consumers more pre-occupied with the latest smartphone app than the new product you’re selling. It’s in stressful economic conditions that you need to make sure your business has the ability to cycle capacity up or down when needed. You need cloud computing.

According to an article in the Financial Times, during the World Cup, Ghana’s authorities had to “import 50 megawatts of energy from neighboring Ivory Coast” just to keep televisions on during Ghana’s National Soccer team’s games. Fortunately, Ivory Coast had enough spare electricity to sell to Ghana, because there might have been riots in the streets had Ghanaian authorities not figured out a way to meet the demands of thousands of televisions.

Just like Ghanaian authorities, many businesses are unprepared for volatile capacity needs and capricious consumers who want what they want, and now.  That’s why enterprises that not only have a cloud computing strategy, but the ability to quickly deploy cloud resources on a whim, will ultimately fare better than those still trying to spell “c-l-o-u-d”. 

This means having an information architecture documented that includes cloud, signed agreements with providers, an understanding of applications and databases or file systems needed, security policies in place, applications written and ready to take advantage of cloud resources, data loading strategies (VPN or dedicated circuit?), processes to scale cloud resources up and down (and triggers when to do so), data governance for onsite and cloud systems, business continuity plans and more.

There’s much work to do before you can take advantage of cloud resources, and just-in-time planning doesn’t cut it. With the flexibility, speed and power that cloud offers, there’s really no excuses to let opportunities to capture unplanned demand pass you by. 

Can you ramp up and down based on erratic business conditions? Can you weather economic fluctuations? Are you flexible enough to point resources towards unmet consumer demand?  Can you quickly adapt to global winds of change? Cloud computing infrastructures are ready. Are you?