Cloud Computing and Outsourcing

Cloud Computing’s cumulative effect on outsourcing

 

Depending on who you talk to, Cloud Computing is either enabling current outsourcing operations or ensuring that they will soon become a thing of the past. The truth is, the cloud is having an effect on outsourcing, but only in a limited capacity (with big upward trends being reported by Gartner for the coming years). Right now, providers simply don’t have the stats to indicate that cloud computing is impacting the outsourcing market in any way that might indicate a potential threat to the status quo. In other words, businesses are going to continue turning to non-cloud sources for both IT management and applications.

However, one of the things that make cloud computing so powerful is its ability to assimilate new ideas and approaches. For example, if vendor-provided IT management (through the cloud) doesn’t catch on as expected, what’s to stop providers from deploying outsourced workers in a service or app-like manner? Just imagine signing up for a new cloud account with a vendor and actually getting to choose your outsourced IT team from list and integrating them into the infrastructure as if they were another component. Sure, this might sound a bit far-fetched, but it is another example of the inherent flexibility that a ‘cloud-based’ approach brings with it.

Currently, application and data center outsourcing are kings where business and IT are concerned. Simply put, there is great value in the services of application specialists who are really able to bring useful abilities to the table. As IT continues to play a more direct and informed role in the daily duties of all types of institutions and businesses, more specific applications are often needed. Sometimes these apps aren’t ready available, other times; they might not even exist in a format that can provide direct benefit. This is of course part of the value of application outsourcing – the ability of an organization to get exactly what they’re looking for, or have someone actually create it.

Data center outsourcing often comes in the form of co-location, which is where you pay another organization to house your physical servers, storage and handle on-site security. Carrier-neutral data centers are probably the most common and offer clients the ability to choose who they want to actually do business with as far as telecom companies are concerned. Businesses love data center outsourcing because it offers the ability to access more expensive setups without incurring the large investments. Likewise, it may even be possible to use your current IT staff in one these types of arrangements.

While this (data center outsourcing) might seem share a lot of traits with cloud computing, the similarities are only skin deep. What makes the cloud different is that it is a complete approach to computing, networking and IT in general, and is not merely one component of the infrastructure. A dedicated cloud computing-based IT service would include the actual benefits of establishing one’s own customized system along with the perks of full management via supplied personnel.

Obviously, this type of setup may not work in certain types of situations where IT is directly connected to the business end of an organization and plays an active role in things on multiple levels. For these type so of circumstances, IaaS is probably the best way to go; if you measure it by its popularity, it’s clear that businesses are engaging this type of cloud computing solution. The reason behind this is simple, through IaaS; you are able to outsource virtually everything related to hardware and onsite security while gaining access to the apps and elasticity of the cloud. Additionally, IaaS actually allows an organization to remotely control and manage their IT operation (via cloud-based connectivity) as if they were physically in touch with the hardware. Furthermore, IaaS is open-ended on the infrastructure side as well, meaning, you are not usually tied to “packages” and are free to create, design or deploy what you want in any way you choose.

Taking advantage of advancing forms of cloud computing in a business capacity does require IT personnel with the proper training and certification, however. Attaining some specialist training in IaaS probably wouldn’t hurt either.

Inside, or internal employment/hiring of IT staff is being affected by all forms of outsourcing (cloud or non-cloud) of course, just as you would expect. But where most seem to be thinking that cloud computing will only further hasten the demise of the IT professional, it might actually be helping to save them. Whereas traditional outsourcing often seeks to take what companies have already built up over the years (in terms of infrastructure) and further customize it, cloud computing offers more standardized approaches.

The great thing about open-ended “packages” and “service options” is that they represent a more highly developed and organized layer of choices that helps to bring additional structure to all other levels. Companies can still have their IT department managing their infrastructure directly via the cloud (if we’re talking about IaaS), but unlike simple application or data center outsourcing, there is more flexibility and control. Basically, cloud computing offers an opportunity for businesses to utilize their trusted IT workers and IT professionals aren’t losing anything aside from physical (on-site) access to hardware.  As the importance and awareness of IT security continues to grow in value, businesses are likely to turn to on-site personnel for direct management of cloud-computing-based IT infrastructure. The reason for this is simple – they can be micro-managed and kept in check via compliance protocols featuring direct oversight.

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