Evaluating Business Value in Cloud Computing

Jason Hannula| Midsizeinsider

Midsize business IT has matured from helping people use their desktop computers to being the source of technology solutions. This maturation has required IT leaders to move from being technical experts to partners in business, advancing their company through the use of appropriate technology.

The recent emergence of cloud computing in the IT solution toolbox emphasizes the role that IT professionals undertake in the determination of the business value of particular technical solutions.

Finding the Value in Big Data and Research

Writer Nick Hardiman for TechRepublic.com encourages technology and data managers to find the business value in big data. Capturing huge amounts of data alone is not always useful, but having the ability to analyze and present useful information back to the business is a true addition of value. Through the analysis of data, IT leaders can work to find balance within important decision-making processes, such as those between outsourcing and hiring or public and private clouds.

A consistent framework for technology evaluation is important for identifying business value. Presentations to executive management teams that use the same frame of reference among projects identify the important elements that need to be weighed in order to make a decision. However, the metrics and methods of data analysis for an emergent technology like cloud computing are as new as the technology itself. The business value of cloud computing is only starting to be understood by academic researchers. The authors of a study published in the Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management present one possible methodology for determining and presenting the business value of cloud services. Their conclusion attempts to provide criteria to ascertain which business applications should be moved to the cloud because not all applications are equally effective when deployed in the cloud.

Benefits of Academic Research to IT

Alternatively, Deborah J. Salons’ review of Cloudonomics highlights the need to understand whether the cloud is the correct business solution. At the intersection between economics, business and IT, the answer is not straightforward. At this complex juncture, cloud computing is a tool, not a solution to fix everything. If IT professionals have the skills to evaluate both the technical and business value of a solution, they have the potential to put the entire business ahead of the competition.

Adapting academic research is just one of the new skills that are important for IT leaders. The technical knowledge learned in school and on the job put IT professionals in the appropriate place to transfer research to business. Promoting these skills to the rest of the organization enhances an IT portfolio within the business when other areas may feel that IT is a commodity service. IT professionals working as the conduit for new business ideas as well as technologies adds significant value to their position.

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