Cloud computing is no longer on a roll but becoming a bullet train, according to Aegis Services Australia President, Chris Luxford.
It's a lofty claim but one that is backed up by data from analyst firm, IDC, which has found that more than 20 per cent of Australian CIOs are currently using a Cloud solution.
IDC has also forecasted that the use of Cloud services by Australian companies, from SMBs all the way to enterprises, is set to quadruple by 2015.
The revenue for Cloud services in Australia is expected to increase from $470 million in 2010 to just over $2 billion in 2015 for a compound annual growth rate of 34 per cent.
“Technology has been changing the way we have been doing business for some decades,” Luxford said.
“And keeping on top of that change requires time and usually a large IT department to understand the technology and how it can impact a business.”
Aided by the fact people “no longer fear technology” and a growing understanding of what the Cloud can do for business, Luxford foresees the technology to continue to be “an ever increasing enabler” for change.
He said the real change organisations were striving for is "differentiation", and that largely came from an organisation changing its business processes at a faster rate than the competition.
“Technology as a process change enabler is critical,” Luxford said.
While in the past technology may have been viewed as a “necessary evil” by its adopters, the jaded mindset caused by failed large, company-wide technology investments and broken promises by technology sales people has made companies more hesitant in adopting new developments such as the Cloud.
Luxford attributes this problem to organisations being fatigued by the “technology project” concept and paying attention to potentially more important pieces of process change after the technology itself was implemented, which tended to result in low or non-existent ROI.
“Technology projects used to be long and often blew out budgets, and as a result ROI would frequently be at less than desired levels, but you had to do it to stay competitive,” he explained.
The Cloud is supposed to change all of that, as the required process change can be attainted through the wise investment of resources to deliver the desired ROI and market differentiation.
Highlighting that technology has “long driven differentiation, revenue and cost competitiveness” at Aegis, Luxford expects that the Cloud computing will do it in a way that is more “client centric customer outcome” focused.
“Until now our own technology platform has required an almost continuous upgrade cycle of hardware to keep pace with changes in software at significant cost,” he said.
“It can also be hard to move staff around because their login is dedicated to a particular hardware spec for the various client related activities.”
Putting money where its mouth is, Aegis recently underwent a technology upgrade with its Citrix Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Project at its offices in Australia, India, the Philippines and South Africa.
The upgrade was done to enable Aegis’ employees to ‘hot desk’, meaning its staff can sit at any desk in any location and still have regular access to all the information they need.
While Luxford is excited about the prospect of potentially saving 50 per cent on the company’s hardware costs based on an early estimate, the speed of driving process change is what he is really looking forward to.
“We believe we can undertake and execute process change in a third of the time we were able to previously, with greater flexibility from cloud-based technology,” he stated,
While Luxford said perceived security issues may be keeping some companies from adopting the Cloud, he felt that there is nothing to worry about if IT staff understand how security is managed, what risk mitigation strategies are needed, and how data integrity can be ensured.
When it comes to balancing improved business agility, flexibility and efficiency with potentially security flaws, Luxford tends to approach it as “an invisible line”.
“Those below the line are those that look at decisions and focus on the risk of change,” he said.
“Then there are those above the line who think, ‘what is the risk of not changing?’”