Tactical Advice

ITPI Study: The Best ROI from the Cloud Isn't Cost Savings

The increased scale, function and availability of the cloud trumps the dollars and cents when it comes to reaping benefits.
ITPI Study: The Best ROI from the Cloud Isn't Cost Savings

When many people think about the value of cloud computing, their minds often jump straight to the potential savings of “outsourcing” IT. After all, if you no longer have to buy servers and hire staff to run some of your IT infrastructure in-house, that has to add up to some serious savings, right?

In some cases, yes. But not always. By focusing only on the potential savings of adopting cloud computing, organizations could be missing out on the real value of a hosted infrastructure, according to results from a recent IT Process Institute (ITPI) study.

“The study reports on success factors that are unique to top performers. We were surprised to find that top performers don’t focus on cost reduction or operational efficiency, but on higher level concerns like agility and scalability,” says Kurt Milne, managing director of the ITPI.

Which aspects of scale and agility saw the most return on investment from the 143-company survey? Development, testing, backup and big data.

According to the survey data, 48 percent of the top-performing companies that deployed cloud projects are using the cloud for software and application development and testing; 49 percent said they used the cloud as a backup tool; and 40 percent said they were tapping into the cloud for big data initiatives.

The Cloud Makes for a Great Testbed

The most significant benefit of the cloud as a development and testing environment is that it allows organizations to experiment and create prototypes without compromising the integrity and security of the internal enterprise network.

Once the idea has been shaped and formed in the cloud, many companies are then bringing those applications into their internal networks. This is what Milne calls an external-first trend among the top performers in the survey.

Besides focusing on the “more” side of cloud computing rather than the “less” side, what else separates cloud winners from cloud losers?

Winners have an unshakeable focus on users and their needs, which requires including them in every phase of a cloud computing project in order to gather their requirements and feedback, Milne says.

“A lot of [IT workers] are engineers, and they ‘know’ what you need without asking you. Their primary MO is tech and building things, not customer service. I've been to a lot of conferences where an IT manager discusses how to set up a virtual provisioning environment, and I think the questions miss the mark,” he says.

Another component of a winning formula for any cloud project is earning the support of a C-level executive or a direct-line business executive. According to the ITPI survey data, cloud projects that were highly visible and supported by the business side achieved better performance than those that were siloed in IT operations.

As part of the push to include business outcomes, there’s also a requirement on the business side to invest resources in the project. That includes advanced training for IT staff. More than 70 percent of the top performers in the ITPI survey had prior experience with application lifecycle management (ALM) tools, so IT workers can’t expect to succeed with amateur-hour skills in the cloud.

Assigning a product manager to the task also helps ensure the overall success of any cloud project. With a product manager on board to monitor user requirements, companies can be more confident that their cloud projects will be successful internally, Milne says.

For more information on the ITPI study, read the Private and Hybrid Cloud IaaS: Project Success Factors report.

Sign up for our e-newsletter

About the Author

Ricky Ribeiro

Online Content Manager

Ricky publishes and manages the content on BizTech magazine's web site. He's a writer, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all-around digital guy. You can learn more by following him on Google+ or Twitter:

Security

Three Ways to Integrate Fire... |
Follow these tips to align the devices with log management and incident tracking systems.
Why Cloud Security Is More E... |
Cloud protection services enable companies to keep up with security threats while...
Securing the Internet of Thi... |
As excitement around the connected-device future grows, technology vendors seek ways to...

Storage

The New Backup Utility Proce... |
Just getting used to the Windows 8 workflow? Prepare for a change.
How to Perform Traditional W... |
With previous versions going unused, Microsoft radically reimagined the backup utility in...
5 Easy Ways to Build a Bette... |
While large enterprises have the resources of an entire IT department behind them, these...

Infrastructure Optimization

Why Cloud Security Is More E... |
Cloud protection services enable companies to keep up with security threats while...
Ensure Uptime Is in Your Dat... |
Power and cooling solutions support disaster recovery and create cost savings and...
The Value of Converged Infra... |
Improvements in security, management and efficiency are just a few of the benefits CI can...

Networking

Securing the Internet of Thi... |
As excitement around the connected-device future grows, technology vendors seek ways to...
How to Maximize WAN Bandwidt... |
Understand six common problems that plague wide area networks — and how to address them.
Linksys Makes a Comeback in... |
The networking vendor introduced several new Smart Switch products at Interop this week.

Mobile & Wireless

Now that Office for iPad Is... |
After waiting awhile for Microsoft’s productivity suite to arrive, professionals who use...
Visualization Can Help Busin... |
Companies need to put their data in formats that make it consumable anytime, anywhere.
Linksys Makes a Comeback in... |
The networking vendor introduced several new Smart Switch products at Interop this week.

Hardware & Software

New Challenges in Software M... |
IT trends such as cloud, virtualization and BYOD pose serious hurdles for software...
Visualization Can Help Busin... |
Companies need to put their data in formats that make it consumable anytime, anywhere.
The Tools That Power Busines... |
Ever-evolving analytic software can greatly improve financial institutions’ decision-...