You can view Krishnan Subramanian’s slideshow for Cloud Connect India, Intelligent Platforms: Iterating Beyond Today’s PaaS, by clicking here ; some explication . #Rishidot

From the introduction to our research paper, :

Cloud computing has entered the mainstream of enterprise IT, unleashing an array of new opportunities and changing the way technology is used and business gets done. The first wave of cloud computing services built on basics like software-as-a-service and elastic computing, in which access to computing assets expands to meet demand. The primary issues to be addressed at that time were scale, speed, and cost. The focus today, however, has turned to more complex and robust cloud platforms that enable collaboration, creativity, and customer interaction.

The need for more agile and flexible IT frameworks drives a variety of cloud services. These in turn enable increasingly strategic uses of the technology by integrating networked resources more holistically into business operations. Yet a mix of ad hoc cloud efforts can increase complexity and create new problems. As a result, there is a growing need for organizations to adopt overarching cloud strategies and focus on building platforms that support broad development and are capable of delivering maximum return on investment.

This new wave of cloud platforms is driving a remarkable transformation within IT and across the enterprise. Indeed, platforms of various types, including technology platforms, are emerging as a key element of business strategy in the 21st Century…

From our , Unlocking the Cloud:

What is a cloud platform?

At its most basic, a cloud platform — also known as Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) — is a system that delivers over the internet (and as a utility) the infrastructure and services needed to develop, prepare, and run applications, as well as other services, including application integration and portals. The pre-built infrastructure unlocks the key benefit of these platforms, which is to remove the considerable developer time and bandwidth traditionally required to make applications ready for use (e.g., server administration, managing OS patches, managing upgrades) with on-premise alternatives. Instead, cloud platforms enable developers to focus solely on coding innovative applications. Cloud software typically works in “stacks,” with Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) sitting at the bottom, Platform-as-Service (PaaS) in the middle, and Software as a Service (SaaS) positioned on top.

In today’s business world, your success depends on speed and agility. You need to move forward as rapidly as possible, and to change direction quickly as conditions change.

And that is the perfect business case for the Cloud.

Right out of the box – if there were a box – Cloud solutions can be implemented much faster than traditional on-premise software. What’s more, they are highly elastic, so they can change and grow in sync with your business.

Best of all, there’s no big upfront investment in hardware, software licenses, and related services. So you can quickly and easily adopt new solutions – or even try out new capabilities and business processes.

Up to Speed in No Time
In Cloud deployments, it is very easy to evaluate new business solutions —with little risk. For example, have you always wondered how that new CRM solution would improve the efficiency of your internal sales staff? For a very small investment, you can find out.

Need to respond to a competitive threat by adding an entirely new department? With the Cloud, you can have your software in place before the office furniture arrives.

Whatever you choose to do, your total cost of ownership (TCO) is minimized because there’s no upfront investment. And your time to value is far shorter because implementation takes minutes, days, or weeks – instead of months.

Who’s in Charge?
In my role as Senior Vice President, Head of Infrastructure Services at SAP, I’m sometimes asked who should be in charge of Cloud applications. Should IT retain full control, or should individual lines of business be free to pursue their own strategies?

My answer is that IT still has an important role to play – for the following reasons:

  • Integration: IT can ensure smooth integration of Cloud solutions with your organization’s on-premise software.
  • Data integrity: IT should govern all Cloud-related activities in order to ensure consistency and integrity of your organization’s data.
  • Business synergy: Your IT professionals are experts at leveraging synergy among your various lines of business – and that’s more important than ever, when your organization needs to move forward with a singular purpose.
  • Transparency: IT can help ensure that your organization has full transparency into which Cloud solutions are being used – and how they interact with your other IT systems.
  • Security: IT can ensure that your Cloud solutions are fully secure, and that they are not compromising the integrity of your on-premise solutions.
  • Access and identity management: IT can provide clear rules for who is allowed to use and access your applications, and how to prohibit access if an employee leaves your company.

SAP Runs SAP – in the Cloud
At SAP, we love the Cloud – so much so that we bought SuccessFactors, a global leader in Cloud-based applications.

In the short time since then, we have implemented a wide range of new HR services, including goal-setting, compensation, and talent management.

Our end-users are delighted with the simplicity of the HR application, which offers an intuitive interface and easy self-service capabilities. And our managers are delighted by the way our Cloud-based HR software delivers serious performance, with the ability to streamline key processes.

We’ve made the business case for Cloud. And I think you’ll find that there’s a strong case to be made within your organization, too.

For further trends around Cloud platforms make sure to check out the latest research of Oxford Economics called “Unlocking the Cloud” –

Read more in the following blog by @eagaines

An excerpt from the new research paper, Unlocking the Cloud, which you can get (free registration required):

NYSE Technologies provides advanced software and data services for the financial services industry, including brokerage companies, market research firms, hedge funds, and investment banks. The firm, which grew out of the fabled New York Stock Exchange and later became a division of NYSE Euronext, launched a major cloud initiative in June 2011. Feargal O’Sullivan, Head of Sales, Americas, for the firm, describes the organization’s approach as a “vertically oriented cloud.” The company focuses on a broad scope of services enabled through clouds, which must be delivered on demand within an agile and flexible IT and business framework. “We need the environment to operate within the operating budget rather than the capital budget; as a moderate recurring cost instead of a large up-front capital expense,” he says.

“The next generation of PaaS will radically change the world of development.”

From a post by Mike Kavis about the evolution of cloud computing and cloud platforms — the last in his six-series on Cloud Economics. This one’s called “PaaS is the game changer.”

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His first example that radical change involves mobile development; our next paper is about cloud platforms and mobility.

I like to compare the Cloud to banking. Before banks existed, everyone kept their valuables at home. But today, with constantly improving security technologies and a modern and highly regulated financial services industry, the safest place for valuables is in the bank.

As the public Cloud industry matures, I believe we will see more and more of our valuable data – including the most sensitive data – being kept outside the four walls of our organizations.

But like any emerging technology, the Cloud is not without its challenges. For example, before signing on to a public cloud service (also known as “Infrastructure as a Service,” or IaaS) you should first address the following issues:

  • Service Level Agreements: With many providers, you can’t negotiate the price or conditions of SLAs, and terms may change frequently. What’s more, providers may ensure availability of the platform – but not the content running on the platform. Try to find a provider who offers flexible, predictable terms and a solid track record of uptime performance.
  • Hidden costs: When your first invoice arrives, you may be surprised to find charges and fees for items such as network transfer, input/output consumption, and support. Make sure to ask your provider for a complete listing of any fees before you sign on.
  • Incompatibility / Lock-in: Currently, it’s not that easy to migrate from one provider to another, because most providers use different cloud technologies such as different “hypervisors” – the software, hardware, or firmware that governs their virtual machine environments. One way to mitigate this issue is through the use of platform services and automated application deployment to ease workload mobility.
  • Distribution: To properly protect your enterprise and its customers, you need to know where your critical data actually resides. For example, should your information for the EMEA region reside only in EMEA data centers? If some of it resides in U.S. data centers, is it subject to compliance with the PATRIOT Act? Make sure your provider offers detailed monitoring of data placement.
  • Software licensing: You may have enterprise license agreements for your company’s software applications, but chances are they are not valid for use in public cloud deployments. Therefore, you must negotiate new licenses. This can be difficult, because it’s hard to measure license usage for cloud-based applications that may be used infrequently.

Meeting the Challenges
How can you ensure a smooth transition to the Cloud? Here are some suggestions I would like to share with you:

  • Plan ahead: Even as you enter a public cloud deployment, have a clear exit strategy at the ready so that you’re prepared for unforeseen circumstances.
  • Choose carefully: Be sure to have a use case for every block of data that is placed in the cloud. Would it provide greater value if maintained on your own servers? Do the cost savings outweigh any risks?
  • Oversee: Create a clear governance plan, and assign your internal IT professionals to serve as cloud services “brokers” who represent your organization’s best interests.
  • Audit: Conduct regular audits of the security and quality certifications of your provider – including their SSAE16 and ISO 27001 compliance.

Worth It
The challenges presented by the Cloud are all manageable. And for most companies, they are outweighed by the tremendous benefits, which include flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and rapid adoption of new business processes.

In a new report series from Oxford Economics, sponsored by SAP, you can learn more about the many ways in which organizations around the world are meeting the challenges and opportunities of the Cloud. To download the first report, Unlocking the Cloud, .