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Calculating cloud value not for amateurs

When it comes to figuring out the value of using the cloud, Forrester Research analyst James Staten advises doing the analyses around the business problem you are trying to address — not around the cloud service you are thinking of using. Makes sense. At SearchCIO we often hear from IT and business readers that the value of technology can’t be toted up in a vacuum but in the context of the business — its market, its customers, its competitors. But how easy is it for CIOs to do that? Not easy at all, according to Staten. That’s true even for what might seem like simple scenarios.

Consider the cost analysis for going with a SaaS application for mobile devices versus developing the app in-house, Staten said. “SaaS applications typically support the latest mobile devices within three weeks of the mobile device coming out.”

The CIO could start by determining how fast the IT organization could deliver the same applications. Let’s say it would take the IT department nine months to develop the apps.

If the business has a good understanding of its financial model, then it would be relatively straightforward to figure out how much money the business would make by being ready for a mobile device in three weeks versus being ready in nine months. But what if the internal IT department wants to be a contender for that app business by changing its delivery mode?

“If you have to do the analysis of ‘Ok well let’s say that we can speed up our internal process by moving to agile [software] development’, now we’re probably talking about an incredibly tough financial analysis,” Staten said, referring to the methodology of developing software in iterative, good-enough chunks.

Staten explains that this analysis requires an IT organization to know what the move to agile development would entail in process and people costs. I imagine the CIO would also want to calculate the long-term benefit of moving to this methodology, in addition to the immediate costs.

But there’s another problem. Turns out, it is not so straightforward to calculate the value of being early to market. “A lot of the costs here are soft, meaning they don’t have bottom line financials behind them. Few companies know how much it costs them to be slow to market,” Staten said.

Indeed, Staten said that cloud analyses of this ilk are often one-offs. In other words, the analyses are customized to the particular application or use-case for an enterprise.

“If you have an application that is highly elastic like a webpage that’s going to change all the time, that’s a very different analysis from ‘We moved our ERP system to the cloud.’ You would get a very different outcome,” Staten said.

And guess what? “[The] people that tend to be the best at this work are the global system integrators and global consultancies,” such as McKessan, McKinsey and IBM Global Services, Staten said. So much for saving money.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Kristen Lee, features writer, or find her on Twitter @Kristen_Lee_34.

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apple is looking better at this time
had enough of windows nothing more than a cash grab.
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Windows 8 fails miserably in the workplace, Our IT is looking at Apples OSX or Linux on the desktop.
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We are moving to Apple as a test a test in our office found users transition from XP to OSX easier to grasp, staff hated Windows 8.
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A few years ago we were going to transition to Linux but retraining cost put it on hold. Now that the same or more disruption will be involved going to Windows 8 put Linux back on track.

Windows 8 is not a business interface it for kids and tablets.
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Will stick with windows xp until it dies the on to something other than windows 8 as it sucks.
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Too expensive
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Because it implies also an upgrade to the HW that performs well with Windows XP
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Is the best OS they make why did MS don't work on it to make it better I cann't chance the machine software everytime they come with another OS
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I liked Windows XP Pro but since I upgraded my office to Windows 7 Ultimate, I've not had the slighted problem with drivers or software.

To sum it up, it's the best Windows OS I've used and I've been in the business since the days of DOS 3.2 and an 8088 processor!
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No benefit
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Upgrading for the sake of upgrading holds no water, especially in a country like South Africa where costs are not in line with America but we are charged dollar rates.
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1- Why is Win8 on this list?
2- Yes Win7 64 bit work for us and we will complete our migration to win7 64 bit by the end of Jan 2014.
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Virtually our entire estate of hardware would need to be upgraded as well as significant amount of legacy applications that make our business function. These apps have been tested to not work at all under Windows 7 so the project for us will be a very very gradual shift as and when current PC hardware expires ! We cannot afford to mass migrate.
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We have industrial customers with applications that don't run on Win 7
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problems of software compatibilty
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We are in the process of upgrading machines to Windows 7 from XP, but I would love to have a Windows 8 license to move to instead of settling with Windows 7.
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mandated to upgrade by internal policies
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Linux here we come :)
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We are already upgrading!
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Why fix what is not broken
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windows 7 is far better then dirty metro interface of windows 8
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I am using Windows 7, do not like the new Windows 8 outlook and setups. I like Window 7 more. Sorry to deviate from the topic I have alredy upgraded.
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Part of the question that has not been asked here is how much will NOT upgrading cost you in terms of vulnerability. No one can afford to be hacked.
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Too many incompatibilities
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Under duress. Win8 is not a desirable option.
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windows 8 is not mature enough
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our core apps won't run on windows 8 so 7 would be our only option
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