In 2015, ‘cloud’ was the default way for most businesses to provision infrastructure and/or software. Once the conscious distinction between cloud and traditional IT diminishes, will the term ‘cloud’ become irrelevant?
According to Wikipedia the term Cloud Computing first appeared in 1996, but it wasn’t until 10 years later that it really started to gain widespread acknowledgment and use. It is now almost ubiquitous in its use across businesses and consumers alike, but will the term ‘cloud’ be still relevant/exist in 2020?
- 10 years ago outsourcing was predominantly dependent on contracting a third-party service provider to run your systems or services. This very often involved a complicated business process – i.e. the business function which used IT.
- In the last 5 years nearly all IT outsourcing activity has involved a level of transformation to a cloud–based service. The solutions varied from Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) through to Software as a Service (SaaS). A shift to not owning the infrastructure/ software or people became common, coupled with more flexible payment and contractual terms.
- In 2015, cloud is the default way for most businesses to provision infrastructure and/ or software. Those applications and processes not yet deemed ‘cloud ready’ are included as part of a hybrid cloud approach embracing the traditional and future. But over time the number of applications not suitable for the cloud will reduce through natural lifecycle/ evolution.
- IT is now about operating a business service delivered by a 3rd party, rather than operating infrastructure and software platforms. This has led to IT being purchased outside of the IT department, with some industry analysts estimating that by 2020 as much as 80% of spend on IT will be from outside of the IT department. Non-IT departments don’t know or care if it is cloud; they care that the service can meet their immediate business requirements and budget.
- Once the conscious distinction between cloud and traditional IT diminishes, the term cloud will become irrelevant – and ‘cloud computing’ will become a tautology. The timeframe over which this will happen is being accelerated by the move to a more continuous integration/ development approach (aka DevOps) and building applications in a micro-services architecture rather than the traditional monolithic approach.
In summary, cloud as a term in IT will become irrelevant and eventually disappear as it becomes the default way of delivering IT services and the barriers to Cloud, such as security, compatibility or integration diminish.
Does this matter? Not if IT departments and businesses as a whole mature their approach to defining and procuring solutions. We frequently see RFPs and other tender documents focusing too much on the technology specifics (make, model, specification or architecture) than the business requirements in need of a solution.
When choosing a hotel do you focus on its construction, power & strength or do you focus on the location, quality of service, cost, food, facilities? Traditional architects would focus on the former, the modern era of business service architects focus on the latter.
Which are you?