As-a-Service

Conclusion: IT organisations' lack of IaaS usage planning will most likely increase consumption cost. As a result, IT organisations should work closely with business units to understand usage patterns and track monthly usage against forecasts. This will more likely ensure that IaaS usage levels remain within budget. This note provides the usage management framework. Part 2 planned for release in August 2014 will provide User Management maturity self-assessment approach.

Conclusion: WhileI SaaS and PaaS adoption has been increasing during the last two years, most IT organisations are hesitant to migrate their legacy systems to public SaaS. This is primarily due to the applications being highly customised to support the current business mode of operations. As a result, migration to cloud requires significant effort to retrofit the existing systems in public SaaS architecture. One of the options to address the customisation obstacle is to adopt a rapid business process redesign approach.

While IBM is planning to invest A$1.4 million to grow its global datacentre facilities, its focus remains on private cloud with no serious public cloud offerings, As a result, IT organisations under traditional outsourcing contracts with IBM should examine the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of third party public cloud alternatives prior to renewing the existing outsourcing contracts.1

Conclusion: With the migration to complex hybrid sourcing strategies, traditional IT organisations based on ‘plan/build/run’ models won’t be suitable for acquiring public cloud services in an increasingly changing market. This is due to vague understanding of service total cost of ownership and limited contract negotiation skills. IT organisations wishing to rely on external services must evolve to ‘plan/procure/govern’ structure to emphasise strategic service planning and hire specialised service procurement skills. This paradigm shift requires CIOs to restructure IT procurement with a view to run it as-a-service to other IT groups and business lines.

Conclusion: IT organisations wishing to maximise Public Cloud return on investment should adopt a Cloud Governance Maturity Model that ensures consistent delivery, builds trust and leverages new technology. This will enable IT organisations to effectively manage their sourcing portfolio by balancing cost and risks, creating value and realising the desired benefits.

Conclusion: In-house IT Service Management (ITSM) initiatives require considerable time and investment (up-to three years, up-to $1.5 million approximately). This has resulted in limited senior management continuous buy-in and reduced ITSM benefits realisation. Therefore, IT organisations wishing to implement ITSM should evaluate a public cloud alternative versus the cost and merits of establishing in-house service management capability.

Conclusion: Some SaaS service providers can exercise ‘exit for convenience’ contractual terms by giving no more than thirty days termination notice. As a result, SaaS users will be at a high risk to recover services on time and without data loss. Therefore, IT organisations wishing to migrate critical services to public SaaS should develop a Contingency Plan and test it regularly. The Contingency Plan establishment cost should be incorporated into the business case for public SaaS migration.

Conclusion: IT organisations wishing to migrate in-house services to public cloud should ensure that service providers understand the complexity of the in-house architecture candidate for cloud migration. This can be achieved by identifying the in-house service failure points within the legacy applications and their associated infrastructure. The service providers’ lack of understanding of the existing operational weaknesses will most likely extend the transition period and delay achieving the expected service levels in a gradual and cost-effective manner.

Conclusion: IT organisations managing a multi-sourced environment and wishing to reduce unscheduled service downtime, should establish end-to-end Change Management Frameworks. This will ensure that business operations remain unaffected by service providers’ system changes.

Conclusion: Driving value from Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) requires more than just a technical evaluation. IT Organisations must get clear understanding of the features and benefits of the billing model and how these are aligned to, and can be used to drive, the business’ objectives (e.g. faster time to solution, rapid scale-up and down, infrastructure costs to usage and revenues).

Achieving this understanding will require IT organisations to elevate the evaluation of the IaaS billing model to the same level of consideration as other key non-functional requirements such as availability, recoverability, and security. Organisations that fail to do this may find themselves locked into costly, inflexible IaaS contracts that are not aligned to the business objective and which fail to deliver the full potential of the Cloud.

Conclusion: Given that the public cloud value is maximised when end-to-end SaaS is reached, IT organisations’ misunderstanding of SaaS building blocks, business applications architecture integration and lack of mature multi-sourced environment governance will limit SaaS public cloud adoption. CIOs should establish a cloud sourcing strategy to assess the feasibility and cost effectiveness to gradually migrate business applications to public cloud. Failure to do so might minimise public cloud opportunity to improve enterprises’ performance and/or reduce the cost of doing business.

Conclusion: Demand for storage capacity continues to grow at 60%+ per annum, requiring ongoing capital investments in incremental capacity upgrades, or worse, a capital intensive rip and replace upgrade every 3-4 years. Since “cloud” is the current IT buzzword, IT organisations are being asked to look at how the use of cloud storage can reduce cost and transform lumpy capital expenditure into a more uniform “pay as you go” operational cost.

Conclusion: The increasing reliance of software solutions on third party web services creates new kinds of risks that must be considered when designing software systems. The main difference between in-house software components and external web services is the level of control available in the event of unforeseen issues. Consequently it is prudent to invest in improving the level of fault-tolerance and usability of applications. In order to determine where improvements are needed, organisations need to understand the end-to-end web service supply chains that are encoded in their software solutions.

Conclusion: Organisations planning a migration from earlier versions of Office to Office 2007 or Office 2010 need to conduct an 'Office Readiness Assessment' prior to the migration - or risk significant business disruption. Rather than developing in-house assessments skills , a short term engagement with consultants experienced in Office file scanning tools and migration technologies is likely to be the most cost-effective, timely and lowest risk approach to safeguarding business continuity during Office migrations.

Conclusion: Software vendor Zoho is pinning its growth on the rapid adoption of cloud services with the aim of being the IT department for SMEs. This business strategy might seem overly optimistic as its potential success may even be partly dependent on Microsoft. According to Zoho, the status of Microsoft in delivering products online is an implicit approval of the delivery and use of software by smaller vendors.

Conclusion: Like a toy that comes with a ready meal, Google Apps is seen by universities as suitable for student users. By its cost per student and terms of service, Google Apps exemplifies how the principle of good enough (POGE), has been accepted to service student needs.

With ever-present financial pressures institutions will consider Google Apps, and for its trading cost it is a viable alternative, which will develop and in all likelihood offer more features in the future.

Conclusion: Google Apps' products are developing rapidly. These developments range from the large and significant, to the small minor adjustments. Google has increased its pace of development, and enterprise users will want to gain a strategic view of how the Apps mature in the next two years.

Google Apps' driving force, Rajen Sheth defines the corporation's main ambitions in two areas: to improve functionality, perhaps in ways that have not been considered by users, and to redefine enterprise messaging and collaboration. Whether they can achieve such ambitions is not foreseeable but they will offer many new tools and enhancements to reach that objective.

Conclusion:Software as a service seems suspiciously familiar, bringing up old memories of time share mainframe computing systems in a different era, and more recent memories of application service provider based software offerings. Repackaging of old concepts in new terminology is a technique commonly used by software vendors. However, don’t dismiss software as a service due to a lack of technical innovation. The current attraction of SaaS is a result of changes in the economics of IT infrastructure.

Conclusion: While the total cost of ownership model is helpful in an initial comparison of products and services, the familiar problem with TCO as an analytical methodology is evident1. This problem is especially clear when dealing with Google Apps because its costs of production and distribution are atypical of the software industry.

The assessment of price should be done in relation to, or in the context of features and benefits. These may be itemised as utilitarian functions and therefore it is possible to assign costs to each feature. The differences in requirements for each organisation mean that to a large degree, TCO evaluation should be done in the context of an organisation’s own situation.

Conclusion: As the economy enters recession both public and private organisations are trimming costs. There is emerging evidence that Google Apps Premier may have some appeal compared with other vendor products. Despite questions over Google’s capability and experience with channel partners, deeper investigation is worthwhile.

Organisations assessing Google Apps Premier must determine not only total cost of ownership, as Google does not have a model template to assist with that, but also whether the channel relationships will endure, as Google has almost no experience in running such programs.

Conclusion: Business departments not getting the services they want from their IT departments see Software as a Service (SaaS) as a very attractive alternative to get applications currently not being provided or to replace unsatisfactory or poorly supported applications. CIOs must be prepared to find (possibly renegade) SaaS applications in use in their organisations. They must set in place the relevant support and appropriately skilled staff to manage this potentially disruptive technology.

Conclusion: The usefulness of Web based applications is not limited to the provision of Web-enabled front-ends to traditional business software. The Web also allows the design of applications that are capable of putting powerful human intelligence at our fingertips. Tapping into that intelligence to solve truly hard problems possibly constitutes the next disruptive innovation. Intelligence has never been cheaper!

Conclusion: A perfect IT storm is looming, driven by merging category 4 storms such as Utility (or cloud) computing, and the Red Shift growth in massive computing. The force of the storm will be exacerbated by rising energy costs and their impact on the data centre energy budget. As a consequence, in a few years many mid to large organisations have at least all their non-differentiating applications running on remote shared SaaS-like sites. This will have a significant impact on the IT department and it’s CIO.

Conclusion: Implementing a web service oriented architecture leads to more maintainable application systems that are cheaper to operate - if you can afford to wait three years or longer, without resorting to cutting corners, or even pulling the plug. Reduction of risk exposure is the real and immediate reason why consumption and creation of services should be an essential part of renovating and evolving the enterprise application landscape of a software intensive business.

Conclusion: Compared to the consumer market, the enterprise market is more conservative when letting an external service provider store and manage its critical business information remotely, via the web. But in the face of spiralling internal IT operational costs, many companies are likely to significantly expand their use of Software as a Service (SaaS), previously known as Application Service Providers (ASPs) over the next five years.

Utility Computing is gaining higher levels of customer interest and acceptance, amid significant investments by systems vendors to build on their individual "brand" (e.g., Adaptive Enterprise, On Demand, Real Time Infrastructure) and the resulting cacophony of terms, definitions, and strategic directions. However, there still remain several crucial "missing-technology-links" in the evolutionary chain -- these will be addressed by both traditional software and systems vendors, as well as Open Source providers.

''On-demand''—or ''adaptive,'' ''agile'' or other terms being used by major vendors includes the combination of business models, processes and operations that are enabled by and which require these IT resources. This concept is therefore more of an overall business strategy, including not just the availability of IT resources ''on-demand,'' but the ability to build, change, adapt and manage business operations using and leveraging the ready availability and variable capabilities of utility computing.

Conclusion: The pay as you grow benefits of Application Service Providers* (ASP's) are finally approaching critical mass in Australia as a result of greater penetration of broadband technologies (cable internet, DSL, satellite and wireless) and more substantive vendor offerings.

Conclusion: IT organisations wishing to select quality services at competitive prices should rate themselves against an IT procurement maturity model to leverage economies of scale. This will enable IT organisations to reduce cost while meeting business needs in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Conclusion: It is no longer viable for telecommunication providers to simply offer Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunks for voice connectivity or Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) links to connect office and data centre locations. Nor does it make good business sense for the telco or for the customer.

The modern architectures of Cloud and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), mixed with the need to maintain on-premise for critical elements are key components that support most digital strategies. Using older telecommunications architectures with fixed connections and physical infrastructure for routing and switching can be costly, and can stifle agility and therefore productivity.

However, modern telecommunication architectures bring an ability to virtualise connections and network switching. The abstraction of these capabilities allows dynamic management of the services providing substantial agility, as well as potential productivity gains and cost savings to the customer.

Conclusion:

As-a-Service machine learning (ML) is increasingly affordable, easily accessible and with the introduction of self-learning capabilities that automatically build and test multiple models, able to be leveraged by non-specialists.

As more data moves into Cloud-based storage – either as part of migrating core systems to the Cloud or the use of Cloud data lakes/data warehouses – the use of ML as-a-Service (MLaaS) will grow sharply.

This paper summarises options from four leading Cloud MLaaS providers: IBM, Microsoft, Google and Amazon.