Month: January 2014

Cloud matters – but what you do with it matters more

Honest assessment of needs, hybrid implementation, and innovative deployment key to maximising ROI, says Claranet

Analysis firm Forrester claims in a recent report into business agility that “cloud really doesn’t matter” when it comes to increasing revenues, and that there is no clear dividing line between high- and low-performing organisations in terms of knowledge and use of cloud technologies. This is not surprising, says Claranet’s UK Managing Director Michel Robert: rather than boosting performance directly, the true ROI of cloud services lies in their power to enable new applications and ways of working.

The report reveals that “Infrastructure Elasticity”, Forrester’s measure of agility afforded by cloud computing, accounted for almost no difference in enterprise performance. Robert believes that organisations need to understand what workloads they are moving to the cloud and why, as well as what benefits to expect from doing so:

Jumping headlong into a wholesale migration of IT infrastructure simply because the cloud is the ‘next big thing’ is not likely to get an organisation very far. For example, Claranet’s own research shows that while 87 per cent of organisations cite increasing flexibility and scalability as a key objective for migrating to cloud, a large majority (75 per cent) indicate that their actual requirement for scalability is ‘average to entirely predictable’. This disparity suggests that many organisations are investing in the cloud without properly understanding their requirements and the level of investment needed for their needs. After all, if they are not experiencing frequent or extreme variance in demand, they may be wasting time and money chasing the scalability that cloud computing offers,” he said.

“In cloud computing, there is no such thing as ‘one size fits all’. It is important for organisations to honestly assess their needs at the outset, make improvements to their IT systems gradually, and mix on-premises infrastructure with migrating elements to the cloud in a hybrid approach that reflects their changing priorities and needs. It is a case of ‘evolution, not revolution’,” Robert continued.

Despite the potential cost-savings inherent in moving to the cloud, Robert believes that its true value lies not in the infrastructure itself but in how organisations use the cloud to improve the development and use of applications: “Increasingly, it is the ability of a cloud provider to both host applications and manage their development that enables innovation within organisations,” he said.

“Claranet’s latest research found that many organisations are capitalising on their cloud adoption to launch ‘cloud-native’ applications that they would not otherwise have been able to run. This is especially the case with communications services, where unified communications deployments are 58 per cent cloud-native, VoIP services 59 per cent, and video conferencing facilities 66 per cent,” Robert continued.

Choosing the right provider is key to unlocking the full potential of the cloud, Robert said: “Organisations must look for a cloud service provider that will take a consultative approach to recommending an appropriate service based on a full understanding of an organisation’s requirements, rather than simply delivering ‘cloud for cloud’s sake’,” he concluded.

Find out more:

Claranet targets enhanced hosted desktop experience using Citrix technology

Increased demand for flexible working and BYOD driving need for development

Claranet is to build on its membership of the Citrix Service Provider (CSP) programme by using Citrix XenApp to deliver enhanced security, low-bandwidth optimisation for limited or mobile connections, and a like-for-like Windows 7-style end-user experience. This comes as Bring Your Own Device and mobile working trends increase demand for remote access to corporate data and applications.

With organisations increasingly keen to accommodate more flexible working patterns to boost productivity, the ability to replicate employees’ desktop experience, with full access to data and applications, is a crucial factor in enabling employees to work effectively on any device, wherever they are,” said Michel Robert, Managing Director of Claranet UK.

“Equally important for businesses is having confidence that the data and applications being accessed are secure. Claranet has an existing high-performance, customisable and easy-to-consume Hosted Desktop service, based on Microsoft Remote Desktop Services. Our relationship with Citrix means we will be able to build on this expertise to provide security enhancements alongside other benefits such as more granular control over user experience, easier customisation, and reduced bandwidth consumption,” Robert continued.

Claranet’s most recent research into cloud adoption trends, completed in September 2013, showed that 71 per cent of organisations see data security and data privacy as a concern when it comes to migrating data and applications to cloud services, with more than half of those citing them each as a major concern. These concerns are in part driven by the heightened risk to data security caused by remote access through portable devices.

“In many traditional IT environments, increased security often implies greater restrictions and control of users. With Claranet’s hosted desktop service, users’ workspaces reside remotely and securely in the cloud and can be accessed from any Internet-enabled device. This makes access to an organisation’s corporate desktop – from any device, anywhere, at any time – a reality,” concluded Robert.

With the growing trend toward businesses enabling mobile ways of working and the growth of BYOD programmes, the demand for desktops-as-a-service is set to continue into 2014. As a leading independent managed service provider in the UK and Western Europe, and a Citrix Service Provider partner, Claranet’s broad portfolio and expertise in hosted desktop services gives it a strong position to help drive adoption of DaaS. The planned enhancements to its hosted desktop platform will help Claranet to build on its experience in delivering hosted desktop solutions and establish even greater trust as a provider,” said Ken Oestreich, Senior Director, Product Marketing, Desktops and Apps, at Citrix.

Find out more:

Majority of cloud users benefiting from IT innovation following adoption, new research finds

Claranet research points to redefined role with reduced administrative burden

Half of organisations believe that cloud adoption has changed the role of their IT department, but more than four-fifths still anticipate having a need for a distinct department as far in the future as 2020, according to research by Claranet. While the transformative potential of cloud computing is having a profound effect on how the IT department operates, it is facilitating a change in focus towards strategy and innovation rather than rendering it obsolete, says Claranet Managing Director Michel Robert.

Claranet’s third annual cloud adoption survey, which polled 300 IT decision-makers from a range of small and medium-sized businesses, and enterprises, found that 49 per cent of respondents have seen their organisation’s adoption of cloud solutions change the role of the IT department. Of these, 57 per cent said the IT department was now more strategic in its outlook, while 55 per cent said that cloud computing had put their IT department in a strong position to innovate new solutions for the organisation.

This shift in focus was emphasised by organisations’ expectations of what the core activities of their IT departments will be in the future. 54 per cent said that data security would be a key function in 2020 (down from 66 per cent today), while technical support was cited by 46 per cent (compared with 60 per cent for whom it is currently a major focus). More than four-fifths (82 per cent) believe that their organisation will still have a need for a distinct IT department in 2020, rather than its functions being entirely outsourced or absorbed by other internal departments.

Organisations are increasingly aware of the true potential of cloud adoption and outsourcing, seeing it as presenting an opportunity to redirect resources and take a longer-term strategic view of their IT operations. This might mean investigating innovative new ‘cloud-native’ applications that they would not be able to run on their on-premises infrastructure, and that will facilitate new business opportunities, rather than simply porting existing applications,” Robert said.

Claranet’s research also found that reducing pressure on in-house IT teams was a key objective of cloud migration projects for three quarters (75 per cent) of organisations. However, of those organisations for whom adopting cloud services has changed the role of their IT department, less than a quarter (23 per cent) have seen it reduce in size.

“The fact that the vast majority of IT departments are seeing no change to their staffing levels once they migrate functions to the cloud is a strong sign that – far from sounding the death-knell for internal IT departments – cloud adoption can relieve pressure on in-house teams. By outsourcing resource-heavy tasks that contribute little to the bottom line, organisations can free up their IT departments to focus on the kind of innovation and strategic thinking that ensures IT best serves the needs and direction of the business,” Robert concluded.

Find out more: