The cloud, if you were to believe everything you read, is a fully fledged and fully rounded solution. However, the truth is very different. What we have is a system that can be too general purpose for most businesses, with an infrastructure behind it that’s still determined by a largely manual process.
If you need more, you buy more, if you need less, you cut back. It’s a bit like the early days of the personal computer. You had a narrow choice of hardware, and the PCs came with a basic operating system, and a few utilities. There was no specialised software and if you wanted anything outside of the norm you needed to create it yourself. But that’s all about to change.
The future for cloud – and we’re talking 2017, not 2027 – is a solution that understands the problems that your business has, your vertical sector requirements, scaling up or down automatically without any input from you.
At a recent joint Olive and Mitel “Cloud Future” seminar it was debated that future cloud solutions will have to be flexible enough and have the intelligence to understand what you require and act on that, without your input, and do it so that it’s available in advance of your needs.
And those needs vary; customers don't want vanilla, they need to be able to differentiate to be competitive so best practice on the supplier side is business-critical; integrated cloud solutions providers need to be equally agile enough to meet ever-changing customer requirements.
Artificial intelligence will play a large part in the future of the cloud. Currently, if your needs change and you need to scale up or down, then you need to specify those changes in advance. The cloud of the future will be able to look at your current use and past use and automatically change the systems to accommodate your needs in advance. If you need fewer phone lines, the solution will cut back, and if you want more then it will add lines automatically.
More importantly, in these very financially tight times, the future cloud will also find the most appropriate and cost-effective cloud solution for your needs. The current cloud solutions have effectively replaced your on-premise lock-in, with a cloud lock-in. You commit to the cloud in the same way that you commit to an on premise vendor.
It some ways it is all or nothing and that just doesn’t work. The industry needs adaptive, hybrid solutions if the cloud is to deliver a broker-based solution. A solution where your application is hosted by the cloud provider that could offer the best price and the best combination of network, compute and storage to meet your applications needs.
The next few years will see this multi-cloud solution in place, with all clouds able to run the same applications – with no time-consuming and expensive translation or middleware to install and run it – in the way that’s best for you and your business.
Olive and Mitel will look at how the cloud will continue to deliver business value to organisations operating on a global scale, at our next World Cloud event in February 2017.