The cloud, agility and the evolving enterprise architecture

Greg MeanyNewsLeave a Comment

The cloud software marketplace continues to evolve at a stunning pace. CIOs are accelerating adoption and continuing to rethink the role of cloud software in their architectures. Previous assumptions about cloud software only being a method to experiment or economize are being replaced by the realization that cloud options really do give enterprises the flexibility to adjust to rapidly changing business dynamics. Take a look at the comments of Peter Sondergaard of Gartner in the Wall Street Journal’s CIO Network Conference report released earlier this year.

“We are under pressure, all of us, to act faster. The word agility appears in every CIO conversation. When you ask people why they are buying cloud-based applications, 51% will say it’s because of agility. Only 17% will say it’s because of cost.”

Additionally the marketplace now affords a greater degree of granularity in the available cloud software. Broad, horizontally positioned software like Salesforce and Workday have historically dominated the cloud software landscape, but the marketplace is now mature enough to support more specialized and verticalized solutions. Wells Fargo Securities analyst Jason Maynard was quoted in a recent Spencer E. Ante piece in the Wall Street Journal titled New Cloud-Software Firms Take Off:

“We believe there is a great white-space opportunity in delivering apps and infrastructure to specific industries and verticals,”

The result is that Enterprise software has entered a metritocracy stage where decisions will be based on many factors including the urgency of the business need, the available options, the speed-to-market impact, ROI timeline, support costs, impact on customer satisfaction, and even employee feedback. Each software option will need to justify its value. This is a real departure from the domination of large software vendors and the “we can build that” thinking that dominated enterprise software decisions for many years. Unfortunately the timeline and cost structures of these traditional approaches are often not tenable in this post-recession acceleration where speed and cost rule. What will emerge are architectures that are pragmatic combinations of on-prem software, managed-service cloud offerings and multi-tenant apps.  This is true business/technology alignment. Decisions will be based on the business scenario and what software and deployment model best serves that scenario. (Full disclosure, the muti-tenant option includes our own enterprise Q&A product Haydle)

The doubters are still out there. Security, up-time, and control are only some of the legitimate issues. But, the time has arrived where we can make informed decisions, fully measuring the pros and cons of each option and arrive at solutions that meet both the technology and business criterion. Cloud software gives us this opportunity. This is a good thing.

Always interested in your thoughts.