Living in the cloud - A case for the cloud

It's at this point I think 'what have I let myself in for!'. In my last blog post, Wouldn't it be good to live in the cloud?, I had an idea while sitting in a coffee shop of what it would be like too live off cloud services only and how it would effect my productivity in a positive or negative way. After a brief conversation with management I was asked to create a brief business case to clarify the scope, cost and success criteria.

Here goes ......

Living in the cloud - business case

Cloud computing has been a buzzword for sometime now, however, elements of cloud have been successfully implemented in the fixed environment through Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and datacentre SANs for many years. Historically the limitation of this is the word FIXED making them only available to office based users.

With the maturity of communications such as broadband, WiFi and mobile data networks, along with the availability of data enabled consumer devices,it is now feasible for a user to be connected to the corporate network more of the time with a reliable connection. With this maturity, being mobile and connected allows more office systems to be accessed while out of the office.

In addition to remote working the VDI environment also allows users to utilise their own terminal equipment, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), for business use. In 2010 it was estimated that 30% of devices used to access business application were provided by end-users (smartphones, iPads, BYOD, etc) which has increased to around 41% in 2011 based on research conducted by EMC.

The end-user benefits of cloud are:

  •   Higher productivity
  •   More reactive
  •   End user device flexibility
  •   Empowerment of employees

It has been proven that provisioning and maintaining a centralized VDI is substantially cheaper than dedicated end user devices. Support for these types of systems are also simplified with regards to upgrades, maintenance and future-proofing.

The benefits to an organisation of utilising cloud technology are:

  •   Lower support costs
  •   Higher availability of user desktops through VDI
  •   More reactive to business needs
  •   Software license optimisation, especially in a global organisation

Based on the benefits of cloud services and VDI solutions it is proposed we conduct a limited user trial of cloud based services available to small companies to identify productivity gains to employees.

To conduct the trial the following is proposed:

  •   Identify the scope of the services to be tested
  •   Identify the critical success factors for the trial along with any limitations
  •   Select an end user device/s to use for the trial
  •   Select software and services required to conduct the trial
  •   Identify platform and infrastructure requirements

The costs associated with this trial are:

  •   Hardware £500-£900 (est)
  •   Software £200 (est)
  •   Mobile connectivity £0 (existing mobile data access to be reused)
  •   Consulting Level of Effort
  •   1 day to scope and document the trial
  •   2 days resource of hardware and software
  •   2 days setup and testing
  •   1 day post trial analysis.

The trial is to be conducted over a 3 month period where limited or no access to the corporate laptop will be allowed unless a limitation is identified in a particular application, software compatibility, connectivity in certain environments or business deadline needs to be met. 


Have you conducted a similar Proof of Concept, what was your success criteria and what was the outcome?

Nicolas Jacquey
Andy Shuttlewood

I'm a highly respected telecoms professional with 23 years' experience and I currently manage the UK Consulting team within Orange Business.