Usha Rao, Head of Data Centre & Cloud Practice, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, BT
Without the cloud, business suffers. Organisations that haven’t migrated to the cloud are still using multiple legacy systems to manage their data and processes. This leads to a siloed approach to organisational procedures, which prevents a 360-degree view of customers’ data.
These disparate systems make it harder for teams across the business to place the customer at the centre of what they do. And to succeed in the Age of the Customer, companies need to be transforming their business to deliver a standout experience at every touchpoint.
The local cloud
For a long while now, we’ve heard that cloud services can reduce IT costs and help transform operations. And that’s true. But sometimes the cloud is hard to reach — maybe you have limited connectivity, or perhaps your available bandwidth just won’t support the applications users need.
What do you do then? Mobile health clinics; emergency services, armed forces, oil and gas installations; festivals; pop-up shops and so on — there are many examples of services where connectivity is an issue. The world is getting more connected by the day, but there are still plenty of places where high-bandwidth connectivity isn’t available, or can’t be relied upon for some time yet. But just because a cloud-connected data centre isn’t accessible, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the opportunity to innovate and become more agile. That’s where the cloudlet comes in.
For the health worker, a cloudlet could mean being able to access a copy of a patient database or an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based application that enables them to provide life-saving services.
The development of cloud solutions and the rise of hybrid cloud solutions are reshaping the IT landscape and pushing traditional boundaries
In the oil and gas industry it could mean the ability to collaborate with other workers within a remote site or access complex modelling applications.
Both cases are made possible because the cloudlet is attached to the Local Area Network (LAN). The cloudlet is a local version of the cloud service, and because it’s local, it’s accessible in an environment where the wider cloud can’t be relied upon. Instead of cloudlet, you could call it a deployed cloud or local cloud.
The point is, being LAN-based also means it’s suited to high-bandwidth applications that use AI, complex processing, large data-sets or virtual reality.
Putting the business case together to justify using a cloudlet requires a clear understanding of the benefits it will deliver. It is likely that there will be need to change to network architectures too, to ensure that they support distributed cloud architectures. And for many organisations, it’s unlikely they will have the resources needed to set up and manage their own end-to-end cloudlet delivery service. What these organisations need is a service provider that understands their situation, and can help them launch their cloudlets.
Hybrid cloud is reshaping the IT landscape
The development of cloud solutions and the rise of hybrid cloud solutions are reshaping the IT landscape and pushing traditional boundaries. And with this transformation comes a need for updated IT skills. Without these, organizations won’t be able to make the most of new developments.
It can seem too complicated and a little overwhelming, but there are ways to navigate this landscape easily and make the most of the choices on offer. Our Cloud of Clouds is a good example of how we’re responding to changes in the landscape. It does not matter which and how many cloud solutions providers our customers work with, we will take away the complexity and ensure all the cloud solutions work seamlessly on their networks. This demonstrates how we make it simple for organizations to make the most of these developments.
BT research shows that 65 per cent of organizations already have more than half of their applications and infrastructure in the cloud. But less than a fifth have completely migrated to the cloud. So there’s still a huge number of businesses that are missing out on the full benefits of cloud adoption.
The cloud brings tremendous benefits and, when harnessed effectively, has the potential to facilitate new business models to serve stakeholders and drive productivity.