Cloud computing continues to drive incredible transformation. It has changed the way we run businesses; creating whole new sectors and disrupting entire industries. We’re now able to communicate, interact and share more than ever, while business models that were once impossible are now commonplace.
This momentum is driven by a simple underlying proposition: provision new business capabilities rapidly and with agility; if it’s successful, scale that capability up; if it’s not, then fail fast and turn it off. Regardless, you’re only paying for what you use, when you use it.
Incredibly, we are only at the very start of the journey to the cloud. Today depending on which reports you read, between six and 15 percent of workloads run in the public cloud, leaving the vast majority of enterprise, mission-critical and legacy workloads to make the transition from their long-standing home, on premises. For IT leaders, the challenge is onto find a pathway to accelerate the move for their remaining workloads to the cloud; one that protects existing investments and provides choice for the future. But is it as easy as it seems?
Mapping a path to the cloud
A one-size-fits-all approach to the cloud will simply not work. Each business will be at a different point of IT maturity and have a different compelling event fueling their move to cloud. There needs to be a highly-tailored path laid out that suits a business’ individual needs, regardless of where their journey to the cloud starts. The path to the cloud also needs to support all types of workloads across a unique mix of new cloud applications, existing environments, and hybrid models.
Having this type of flexibility will help businesses accelerate their transition to the cloud from their compelling start point.
Layers of cloud
As adoption matures, a new inhibitor becomes apparent. Each vendor providing a piece of cloud functionality brings with it different models for consumption, operation, data residency and jurisdiction, Service Level Agreements (SLAs), upgrade windows, security and commercial models, as well as many other factors. Agility and adoption can be rapidly compromised when organisations have to play ‘integration broker’ between cloud vendor offerings.
So as more workloads move to the cloud, an integrated cloud platform across all three layers of cloud becomes increasingly essential, providing an approach that can remove the challenge of managing multiple vendors.
SaaS, the great enabler
Software as a Service (SaaS) unlocks measurable business value and bolsters performance by enabling employees, customers, prospects and partners to be more informed, connected, productive and engaged.
Every organisation requires elements of IT to: hire and retain talent; manage a supply chain; enable a salesforce; provide service to a subscriber or install base; and run and operate their business efficiently. Looking at it like this, SaaS is a platform for enablement, empowering organizations to benefit from these business functions rapidly in bite size chunks … or as a whole suite.
Businesses that get their SaaS implementations right will find they are able to connect business functions like never before. Take Pandora, for example, an Internet radio station serving customers in the US and parts of Australia and New Zealand. They came to Oracle looking to drive global expansion and unify financial data to meet regulatory compliance mandates around.
Pandora's executives embraced an all. SurSaaS environment and focused on enhancing its finance function. Pandora selected Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Cloud to modernise the finance function, enabling the company to address innovative business goals for their streaming service while reducing risk. Pandora enhanced reporting and improved decision making by combining its Oracle ERP Cloud solution with Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Cloud to simplify how it accessed and integrated real-time information to enhance reporting and improve decision making.
PaaS, a platform for change
So, if SaaS is the platform for business enablement, Platform as a Service (PaaS) is the platform for change, giving businesses the ability to integrate and extend, develop and deploy, connect and share and manage and secure their applications and workloads.
Avaya is a great example of how the sum of SaaS and PaaS is greater than the parts. To serve its population of 20,000 partners worldwide, Avaya had to endure cost and resource constraints stemming from its need to maintain customisations in the Partner Relationship Management (PRM) component of its SaaS CRM application. Avaya liked the fact that PRM module in Oracle Sales Cloud delivers 80 percent of the required functionality out-the-box, and that the remaining 20 percent could be built on integrated Oracle Java Cloud Service SaaS Extensions. Avaya is projected to realise a 30 percent cost saving as a result of selecting Oracle’s SaaS and PaaS.
IaaS, a platform for scale
At the other end of cloud is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), providing the capability to spin up computers, network and storage resources very quickly, at the swipe of a credit card! Think of the burst capacity required for end or month or end of quarter processing or any spike processing – and the ability to only pay for that on consumption. Or the vast amount of virtualised workloads sitting inside the data centre that would benefit from moving to the cloud, on a consumption basis.
IaaS is the platform for scale, enabling seamless migration, predictable performance, scalable and dedicated resources, accelerated deployments and secure connections.
And ultimately cloud applications and platform need to run on something – the infrastructure layer. Any conversation about the cloud today should start with IaaS.
As businesses increase their migration of workloads to the cloud, IaaS will be necessary in making these migrations simple and fast; ensuring businesses can virtualise and shift workloads to the cloud without the need for complex and time-consuming rewrites. Combining IaaS with PaaS and SaaS layers gives businesses the most compelling unified cloud solution available.
One Oracle customer to benefit from our IaaS solution is Tippett Studios, a legendary American animation and visual effects company that created the incredible special effects in films like Jurassic World and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The company significantly lowered its TCO by using Oracle Storage Cloud. Tippett Studios is able to securely store and access large digital files at the most economical price points in the industry.
Cloud: Greater than the sum of the parts
As the above examples show, the key to a successful journey to the cloud is for businesses to have the confidence to pursue the path that makes the most sense for them, which most closely aligns with their business strategy.
As organisations take their initial steps into cloud, they must ensure they have in place an integrated solution that spans both on-premises and public cloud solutions and allows them to complete business tasks seamlessly between both environments.
This is because applications and information live on both, and will co-exist for years. Point products and disconnected services will not deliver business transformation; for that businesses need a fully integrated cloud platform. There are many different paths to the cloud; businesses must find that one that suits them best and make a start today because the journey is just getting underway.
Chris Chelliah is Group Vice President and Chief Architect for Core Technology and Cloud, Oracle Asia Pacific. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Malaysian Business.