The BBC have released an in-depth article on the front page of their massively popular news website today, charting the phenomenal growth in Cloud Computing uptake in the first half of 2010. What makes the article more interesting than the average Cloud review is that it is written by Tim Weber, the BBC Business correspondent. Because of this, the article focuses on the tangible benefits of the Cloud to competitiveness rather than extolling its theoretical virtues. The article is well punctuated with illustrations, including migration stories from Rentokil, Pall-Ex and Universal Music. After describing IT savings of 70% since migrating Rentokil's email servers online, CIO Bryan Kinsella says "We never went into this to get cost reduction. It was about unifying the business... to operate and collaborate on a global basis."
This quotation highlights one of the article's shortcomings. Mr Weber tends to focus on cost savings and compares Cloud Computing closely to traditional outsourcing, where IT is a non-differentiator to be sidelined.
In fact I think many Cloud users take a contrarian view. Cloud providers are giving them a lot more than cost reduction. Scalability, live updates, global accessibility and financial predictability to name but a few. Switching to a Cloud Computing framework makes sense even if it offers no cost savings whatsoever.
To be fair to Mr Weber, he does include some of these in his 5 main advantages of Cloud Computing, although I believe he somewhat undervalues their importance.