Affordable data insights? Get your head in the cloud.

Nov 8, 2016

Fun fact: in 2014, cloud services were already a $45 billion business worldwide, and are expected to grow to $95 billion by 2017. Will you be part of that equation?

No? Well you should give a lot of thought to why not. Everywhere you turn, industry leaders are talking about the cloud, while industry followers are staying on premises. And I’m here to tell you, there’s no good reason you should be waiting to move to web-based content storage and application hosting. Not security. Not simplicity. Not compliance. And definitely not cost.

Since 2006, one of the largest cloud providers in the world has lowered its price 51 times.

You read that right. The bugs have been worked out, the specifications have been met, and it’s cheaper (and faster) than ever. The cloud is also flexible and convenient – just what your customers, partners, and employees are asking for.

Consumers do most of their consuming on the cloud. Your kids and your parents are using the cloud. Simply put, it’s here to stay. And at this point, it may actually be costing you more money to stay on-prem, not to mention your company’s reputation if your content is slow or bottlenecked.

Whether you're a bank, gaming company, or broadcast and telecom enabler, today’s cloud represents huge gains in speed, efficiency and cost effectiveness – and the sooner you get in, the sooner you’ll see results. In fact, you’ll likely see overall costs drop dramatically within the first 12-24 months. Will you still have to manage risk? Absolutely. Will bandwidth, maintenance and security move up in list of your priorities? Without a doubt. But any way you slice it, it’s worth it.

Some of the key trends we are seeing for industries like the financial services and telecom spaces are hybrid approaches.

While satellite-based networks still provide much of the content for major TV broadcast providers, we are seeing many of them supplement these traditional networks with cloud-based infrastructures for archived and VOD (video on demand) scenarios. While organizations have invested in on-premise data centers we are starting to see an interest from key places around the public cloud. Significant progress has been made around certifications (Fed ramp, HIPAA, ITAR, etc.) that have made these solutions even more attractive than before.

Additionally, the competition between the major public cloud providers (Azure, AWS, CenturyLink, etc.) has greatly accelerated the pace of innovation and features available in the public cloud.

The pace of this innovation – and more importantly, the cost to replicate this in an on-premise scenario – is increasingly difficult in many cases.

Also of interest is the cost to jump into the cloud – remember, the projections you make today on cloud costs will be different within the next year – almost always lower. What other industry do you see services getting cheaper with time?

If we take a hard look at the financial services industry they are just starting to consider using a public cloud. As recently as 1 to 2 years ago this would never even be considered a possible avenue to explore.

Why would an industry who would almost never consider using anything but on-premise for data analysis consider a public cloud? Because as an early adopter of collecting user data and high levels of merger activities, they simply have too much data in too many places. So what is the answer to this data conundrum?

Take small portions of that disparate data and utilize the elasticity and efficiency of the public cloud to begin small and focused proof of concepts. Many cloud providers have wonderful new cloud services specifically designed for data analysis – from non-interactive to fully interactive Hadoop based technology stacks – there are models for nearly all types of analysis now that are much more affordable than ever before.

You may also need to combine the thinking of your CMO/CFO with your analytics teams – pick 2 or maybe 3 KPI’s which you are trying to garner insight. By slowing adopting small but focused trials you will uncover patterns which will allow you to “get a handle” on the mass amounts of disparate data without incurring un-needed capacity and frankly on-premise processing power simply that is not needed.

And here’s the other benefit to this approach: if you get the first proof of concept wrong you have not spent egregious amounts of cash on something that you can’t use. Use this approach until you find the insights you desire – it is there if you are willing to try a little bit different approach.

I know, change is hard, and you’ve probably spent a lot of time caring for your walled garden. But that architecture is getting closer to obsolescence every day. It’s time to open things up and let some of those flowers grow in a bigger greenhouse. Whether it’s public, private, or a hybrid model (depending on your business), it’s time.

So, don't look down, look up. Then make the jump.