Head in the Cloud: The Truth About Applications Management in the Cloud

application management in the cloudThese days, the cloud is quite a hot topic. And why not? It offers an innovative delivery model that enables businesses to scale up or down as needed, leveling the playing field so that SMEs can compete with large enterprises.

There’s no doubt that companies of all sizes are taking advantage of what the cloud offers. But that doesn’t mean they fully understand how it works – particularly when it comes to custom applications management and support.

I recently read an article called Five Big Myths About Managing Applications in the Cloud. It outlines key misconceptions that businesses hold about moving to the cloud, so I wanted to highlight the important points and share my thoughts on the matter.

Myth #1: Standing Up Existing Custom Applications is as Fast as Provisioning Infrastructure

Truth: “If you’re talking about an application that requires interconnectivity with other applications or databases outside the server domain to get its job done, then some additional, back-end work is in order. Connectivity is certainly possible and viable in the cloud, but it’s just not automatic. You have to build in time for modifications, much like you would in a traditional environment.”

Consider this: If you move your web application to the cloud but keep your database in your private data center, how do the two communicate? It’s a moot point when your web app and database remain in-house. But once one is settled on the cloud, connectivity becomes very complex, and will be significantly slower without proper planning and modifications. To ensure a smooth transition, it pays to engage an experienced provider.

Myth #2: Applications That Run in the Cloud Have Instant Mobile Access and Scalability

Truth: “Just moving an application to cloud doesn’t give it instant mobility. You have to modify it first – a process that requires the same amount of time as a standard app modification in a traditional environment – with time built in for testing. The same is true with scalability. Although the infrastructure itself is scalable, your custom applications won’t automatically scale on demand or increase performance.”

Hosting a web application on an internal web server is very different from launching it on the many mobile formats on the market, which include a variety of smartphones and tablets. When moving to the cloud, it’s essential that you modify apps to suit a wide range of devices. This process is known as Responsive Web Design; it takes time to get it right, but it’s crucial to making a successful transition to the cloud.

As for scalability, most web applications are run within a single web server, and that won’t change simply by moving to the cloud. If you want to automatically scale an application, you need to work with a provider that offers Platform as a Service (PaaS).

Myth #3: Change Management is Faster in the Cloud

Truth: “The actual steps and processes required for applications change management in a cloud environment are the same as those used in a traditional environment, so changes to existing apps won’t happen any faster.”

In this case, I think the truth may actually be a little more severe. I would argue that an application in the cloud requires a more stringent change management process than does an internal application, simply because applications in the cloud are more widely available and therefore necessitate greater security. You need an expert overseeing your cloud applications to make sure that they’re properly protected.

Myth #4: Running Applications in the Cloud is Always Less Expensive

Truth: “Cloud offers outstanding flexibility, scalability and rapid provisioning. But, if you don’t really need all of those benefits, then you might end up paying more just to have functionality that you might never utilize.”

The fact is, most SMEs don’t generate enough traffic to their financial applications to necessitate the cloud’s full scalability offering. Companies that get thousands of requests per second – like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram – have a need for cloud scalability. But, chances are, your ERP system does not. Why pay for something you don’t need, when you can outsource to pay only for what you use?

Myth #5: It’s Best to Talk About Applications Management After the Cloud Infrastructure is in Place

Truth: “Although provisioning is automatic, for many applications, the process for tailoring those environments is still highly manual – no matter what provider partner you engage.”

This is bang on. No matter where you deploy your application, you’ll still have to configure it manually. And moving your app to the cloud often makes the configuration process even more difficult. Fortunately, this is the kind of issue that PaaS was designed to solve – all you need is a provider that can offer the services you need.

A Grounded Approach to the Cloud

The cloud is the way of the future. When used properly, it can offer an unparalleled competitive advantage, saving you time and money, and greatly increasing organizational efficiency.

The trick to leveraging the cloud lies in knowing which functionalities you need and how to adapt existing processes. To do that, your best bet is to partner with a provider, like Sutherland, that has vast experience in modernizing applications for the cloud and supporting them across a range of technologies and industries.

Outsourcing leaves applications management to the experts, so you can focus on business growth and development. Best of all, by engaging a BPO provider, you can be sure to get everything you need from the cloud, and nothing more.

If you’re looking to move to the cloud or get better use out of your cloud-based applications, schedule an appointment today for a free assessment of your current practices with one of our finance experts. Comments? Questions? I’d be happy to answer.

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Shane Semanek (11 Posts)

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