The Covid-19 pandemic has driven the rhetoric around cloud computing into overdrive. However, there is a right size for everything, including the corporate commitment to cloud.
When public cloud computing first hit, early adopters and pundits were quick to say it was the future, full stop. Later on, as the market has continued to mature, there is now a second generation adding to the chorus of all-cloud computing.
General cloud and SaaS technologies have a lot going for them. Between simplification, ease of access for employees not on site, and the reduction of equipment and software that IT staff have to maintain, cloud technologies can do wonderful things for a business.
But the absolutist position that everything has to go into the cloud is one that most companies should avoid. Because no matter how accommodating and easy to use cloud is, it represents a loss of control. Decisions made by a third party, or even mistakes made by a third party can have detrimental effects. For a lot of functions, considering the good track record of the major cloud suppliers to date, this is a pretty easy risk/benefit calculation to make.
Connectivity issues show that cloud computing is not always the answer
However, things that are core to the company, things that have a direct effect on serving the customer, such as manufacturing control for instance, require a different risk/benefit calculation. Systems that are absolutely critical to the core function of a company require a more hands-on approach, where keeping these functions in house, or at least redundant in house should be considered.
The rise of Edge Computing, systems designed to be near the end point to handle fast response and local data processing is the perfect example of the cloud model not really being one-size-fits-all. Edge Computing wouldn’t exist otherwise. Locations with limited or poor connectivity are another good example of how cloud cannot do it all.
Companies can and should embrace cloud computing and in some cases even move the majority of their IT functions to the cloud. However, the core tenant of digital business is improved customer experience and engagement. Viewed in that light, cloud might be the solution for many problems, but not all problems.
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