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Determine if a Cloud Is Usable

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on January 31, 2011

Throughout 2010 cloud computing garnered a lot of attention from smart business owners for its scalability, availability, rapid deployment, and low cost. However, most cloud solutions require coding and an IT staff to realize these benefits. Unlike large enterprises, small businesses do not always have these resources at their fingertips. How can small businesses ensure that a cloud will meet their needs and deliver the benefits it promises? Here are five tips for you to determine if a cloud is usable:

1. Solution fit. Small businesses should be able to use the solution and realize the productivity and cost benefits of the cloud immediately. At the same time, they should not have to rewrite their applications so they can run in the cloud. The cloud should save time, not make more work.

2. Self-service access. A usable cloud will not require users to take any new training. Can your functional users get up and running within a day?

3. Visibility and control. A usable cloud will provide detailed usage reports and control mechanisms. Much like text messages that add up across a family’s cell phone plan, you don’t want to end up with sticker shock.

4. Collaboration. A cloud should empower your employees to collaborate with prospects, customers, and partners and it should work on parallel streams without being constrained. Cloud-based collaboration can bring increased agility to a business and provide a growth multiplier in a way that most physical resources cannot.

5. Configurability. Small businesses need a cloud that can be easily configured for different uses and deliver team management capabilities to enforce policies and role-based access.

Sundar Raghavan
Chief Product and Marketing Officer
Skytap
Seattle

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