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The Changing Face Of Cloud-iON Cloud ERP


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Cloud has come a long way since it first emerged on the computing scene. The concept is metamorphosing to make sound business sense for users while giving cloud computing solution providers a unique platform to differentiate their offerings and services amongst a growing crowd of vendors. The Fourth Game represents a winning adaptation of the cloud philosophy for SMBs in major verticals.

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The Changing Face Of Cloud-iON Cloud ERP

  1. 1. White Paper The Changing Face of Cloud Computing - The Fourth Game Cloud has come a long way since it first emerged on the computing scene. The concept is metamorphosing to make sound business sense for users while giving cloud computing solution providers a unique platform to differentiate their offerings and services amongst a growing crowd of vendors. The Fourth Game represents a winning adaptation of the cloud philosophy for SMBs in major verticals.
  2. 2. About the AuthorVenguswamy RamaswamyVenguswamy Ramaswamy (Swamy) is the Global Head of iON,TCS’ strategic unit for Small and Medium Business. iON providesend-to-end business solutions to the SMB segment. In hisprevious role, Swamy was the Director of TCS Global ConsultingPractice (GCP) and was instrumental in the structural formation,development, and positioning of TCS’ consulting offerings.He was listed amongst the top 25 consultants in ConsultingMagazine in 2007.During his over 18 year tenure at TCS, Swamy has held severalstrategic positions that have included managing key customerrelationships, building and heading the Process ConsultingGroup, managing the Corporate Resource Management function,leading numerous Centers of Excellence, as well as launching TCSfirst steps in geographies such as Hungary and China.Swamy is a firm believer in the power of IT to create businessvalue and is known for his interest in Innovation & Quality andexpertise in Six Sigma. He is also recognized as a champion ofmany digitization drives within TCS, including deploying digitalplatforms for Six Sigma, creativity, and talent acquisition. 2
  3. 3. Table of Contents1. The Early Portrayal of Cloud Computing 42. Attracting Wide Scale Usability 53. Successful Cloud Computing Optimizes the Local Device 54. Cloud aggregators with device leverage 65. Cloud apps with browser leverage 66. Cloud platforms with on-premise apps leverage 77. Futuristic Strategy 78. The Fourth Hybrid Strategy in the Cloud 8 3
  4. 4. The Changing Face of Cloud ComputingVendors are adapting the cloud philosophy to a medley of hybrid formats to deliver maximum benefit tocustomers while furthering their competitive strategies. After a trilogy of strategies aiming at maximizing thefunction of the local device, the latest in this series of adaptations is The Fourth Game, an iON offeringtailored for SMBs across diverse verticals by TCS.The Early Portrayal of Cloud ComputingCloud computing has evolved considerably since the concept was first introduced some years ago. It wasinitially presented as a style of computing in which scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are deliveredas a service to customers using Internet technologies. In the early days, these IT-enabled capabilities wereunderstood to include managing the operating system software and various software applications, whichusers could tap as per their need using an Internet connected lightweight computing system. Minimalist(hence, low cost) on-premise hardware was presented as one of the biggest advantages of cloud computingfor users. Users would make gains from the perspective of application acquisition as well. Applications in thecloud would be merely used, as opposed to procured, and hence would cost less than traditionally boughtapplications.Data storage services also came into the picture and were presented as one of the most useful outcomes ofthe cloud philosophy. Data pertaining to applications in the cloud would likewise be stored in the cloud. Thiswas cited as a major cost, time and effort saver.Not only was cloud computing portrayed so appealingly but it was also pitched as the computing techniqueof the future. Most computing was predicted to move to cloud over the course of a decade. Users wereexpected to benefit from tapping computing as they do a public utility like electricity or water.As the cloud philosophy evolved, loopholes in this over-simplistic presentation began to surface. Onerealization especially applicable to verticals associated with a high number of low-value transactions – suchas the retail, quick service restaurant and wellness industries – was that far from becoming lighter, devices onsite would become computing heavy even if applications and data relocated to the cloud. The reasoningbehind this was that, enterprises with high turnover would considerably slow down their operations if theywere mandated to log into a central data center (Central Instance) to record and process each transaction.This grew the relevance of the local instance (the data being captured in the local device).Numerous challenges arose as users grew wise to this irony in the initial premise of cloud computing. Userqueries arose over why they should not merely rely on the local device. It became increasingly unclear as tohow the cloud would enhance the services offered by the local device. Users essentially needed additionaljustification to switch to the cloud. 4
  5. 5. Attracting Wide Scale Usability True potential of cloud computing Pervasive Cloud is emerging Today all Cross Premise enterprise solutions are a mix of these Cloud today is here Tied to premise Cloud computing is practically hybrid computingVendors in turn began to realize that the cloud would have to be customized in keeping with evolvingwork and leisure patterns, in which computing technologies are playing a greater role. Suchcustomization would particularly have to enhance the services provided by the local device to create acompelling business case for the cloud.A hybrid philosophy emerged as the answer to this challenge. Cloud and local device would workseamlessly together to offer consumers the best possible computing proposition. Vendors drew parallelswith public utilities to drive home this concept. Electricity, for instance, is increasingly becoming hybrid tocater to user needs. Today, users cannot rely on the electricity supply of utility companies alone. Whereaselectricity utilities provide the equivalent of the central instance i.e. the cloud service, this must be backedup by localized electricity stores such as capacitors and batteries. Local electricity stores like inverters,UPSs, laptop and mobile batteries help consumers to optimize the cloud service. When the cloud serviceis down or it is more productive to use the local device, the locally anchored service takes over. In time,each is maturing and finding its own place.Water as a public utility is no different. Users see greater value in a blend of piped supply and distributedtanks than in relying solely on piped water supply. Cloud computing would have to do likewise, and find alocal form to anchor itself to appeal to a larger subset of users. That way, cloud computing would also beable to exploit the capacity of the local device and strengthen its business case for potential converts.Successful Cloud Computing Optimizes the Local DeviceOptimizing the capacity of the local device delivers other benefits as well. This capacity helps cater to thetrend of data of increasing data density (video, voice, Interactive Voice Response or IVR and conferences) 5
  6. 6. and thus, counter one of the challenges in pure cloud – the capacity of centralized computing. Pure cloudcomputing would mandate no local servers, aka data centers. Data storage would be in the cloud. Thisraises practical questions, such as, how large could the cloud grow? Also, could the cloud become tooheavy to sustain itself? Optimizing the capacity of the local device would ensure cloud sustainability aswell as quick access.A hybrid form of cloud computing modeled on the lines of utility services would also meet growing userexpectations from the device, be it a multi-touch animated interaction or the ability of the device to storeuser preferences. Multi-touch, IVR and data-laden user interfaces are expected to become the norm soonand these will demand a different form of local computing.Technology advancements outside cloud pertaining to the capabilities of the local device or thetechnology used to leverage the local device could help cloud computing achieve the aim of optimizingthe capacity of the local device and evolve to the next level wherein the hybrid mix – of local and cloudcomputing – defines each vendors strategy. Based on such advancements, four distinct categories ofplayers are evolving, each with its own strategy to exploit the device.The first perspective is to leverage the local device, which is best exemplified by Apple with its range of i-devices. Google exemplifies the second perspective, which involves leveraging the browser to exploit thecapabilities of the local device. The next group is comprised of companies like Microsoft that areleveraging middleware that links existing applications with applications on the cloud. TCS iON’s uniqueproposition IT-as-a-Service marks the pinnacle of evolution of the hybrid cloud philosophy where it isleveraging a strong set of business processes and services.Cloud aggregators with device leverageApple best exemplifies these cloud players. Apple makes its own devices. Consumers work these devicesusing the pre-installed operating system, which in Apple’s case has become renowned for giving users arich experience. Consumers can buy services – apps, tunes, games etc – to be played on these devicesfrom the Apple store. These aggregated services offered on cloud drive Apple’s revenue model. Thus,Apple and other cloud players of this kind are exploiting the computing power of the device with theobjective of providing users a rich cloud computing experience.Compliance to open standards is not sacrosanct for this class. Apple devices are, for instance, based onproprietary technology that is a closely guarded secret. Companies that can couple sought after contentwith a great user experience mostly opt to go down this route because of the higher returns.Cloud apps with browser leveragePlayers in this category are offering apps on cloud leveraging the browser. Case in point – Chrome fromGoogle. The idea of leveraging the browser emanates from its increasing role in connected computing,being the intermediary between the user and the web, which represents an entire world online. Since thebrowser is installed on the local device, it is local from the users’ perspective. This makes it a well placedmedium to maximize the value of the local computing capabilities.As a result, the browser application becomes heavy and occupies a lot of the CPU memory duringoperations. On the other hand, the browser starts to deliver most of the functionalities of the operatingsystem and makes other software facilitating user interface and navigation redundant.In future, as vendors of these browsers acquire capabilities to manufacture or outsource the production of 6
  7. 7. compatible devices, or tie-up with compatible device vendors, such services are expected to convert intoa device platform. The browser would transform into the operating system residing in the device. Unlikethe previous category, however, the apps driving these devices would comply with HTML standards andbe dynamically updated. Ironically, browsers are the biggest reason for de-standardization today and yetbecause they are being developed exploiting a technology that is expected to become standardtomorrow, browsers too, will become torch-bearers of standards.Cloud platforms with on-premise apps leverageVendors that are relying minimally on the browser and on the operating system are presently holding outthe most complex hybrid cloud offering. Cloud services from such vendors include platforms andmiddleware designed to help users to maximize the potential of on-premise enterprise servers, such asapplications for on-premise email servers. Here, the cloud hosts the enterprise scale applications whichcomplement applications residing locally, in the private servers. Some Microsoft offerings are modeled onthese lines, like Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. These cloud offerings are best suited for large firmshaving rich legacy applications that they are not prepared to immediately give up but are keen to begintransitioning to a hybrid cloud.Existing Hybrid Cloud Computing Strategies Strategy Local part Cloud part Tech shift Leverage On-device hybrid Mobile Apps device aggregation On-browser hybrid Device and Device OS On-premise iPad inseparable hybrid Browser Apps extentions stores Apps Enterprise Browser Browser Servers becomes E.g.: Google apps the OS extentions on Chrome Middleware Middleware Middleware becomes E.g.: Exchange and SharePoint with Azure the OSFuturistic StrategyAll the strategies described above are similar by virtue of being based on the need to exploit thepotential of the device. It may be the operating system, the utility-rich browser, or the apps that are keptwithin the device. This choice is determined by the nature of the application. This raises the question:what hybrid model would emerge when the nature of applications becomes more complex? Consider 7
  8. 8. an ERP application in the cloud. The provider would necessarily hook up to on-premise enterprise systemsto offer the business applications.In this context, a novel strategy from TCS iON is evolving cloud computing to a whole new level. Itrecognizes that available cloud computing services cater only to the partial needs of consumers and inturn, expands the layers to which the cloud could specialize to deliver maximum user benefit. Inparticular, IT implementation, support and training have so far been left out of the cloud menu card. Thisrepresents a huge cost for businesses, especially the financially hard-pressed small and medium businesssector, because these services take up 60% of IT spend.The Fourth Hybrid Strategy in the Cloud Services included commoditization happens Cha Co n nge sul App tin Dat ma lize g lica nag aM Niche ecia Sys tion Per igra em Verticle te d sp fo Con mi ent tion rma oul nte Verticle Core f igu nce dc Applications gra rati lou Ma tion on hc Common Business Utility nag hic Applications... essentials em to w ent Common Office Applications ers Lay Networks Hardware Unless IT services are commoditized, IT utility will remain a pipe dream TCS iON is offering IT-enabled capabilities in the cloud, in the widest sense to plug the holes in the system. IT-as-a-Service from TCS iON covers all the possible IT needs of its target clientele – small and medium businesses – from the essential computing and networking hardware to applications needed for day-to-day office management, business management and vertical specific utilities. Consulting services covering the implementation and support of the hardware and applications onsite is part of the bundle of services as well. This is where TCS Cloud IT-as-a-Service for SME stands out. In adding the human interface to application services, it conclusively becomes the fourth strategy in the cloud. Implementation and support services step in to ensure maximum output is derived from the device. Local device capabilities are optimized from another point of view as well – since, these devices are rented instead of being procured, users are spared from the costs of upgradation. Users also gain traditional cloud service benefits such as low cost from pay-as-you-use and the freedom from getting involved with IT provisioning, including hardware. Additional standardization, cost and quality benefits kick in from dealing with one provider of repute, possessing the proven capability of delivering essential consultancy services and support, the backbone of this fourth hybrid strategy in the cloud. 8
  9. 9. About iONiON is Tata Consultancy Services’ strategic unit for Small and Medium Business. iON providesend - to - end business solutions to the SMB segment, the growth engine of the economy. iON caters to the needs of multiple industry segments with best practices gained throughTCS’ global experience, domestic market reach, skills, know-how and delivery capabilities.For more information, visit us at www.tcsion.comContactTo know more about iONToll Free Number 1800 209 6030Email ion.salessupport@tcs.comSubscribe to TCS White RSS: Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)Tata Consultancy Services is an IT services, consulting and business solutions organization thatdelivers real results to global business, ensuring a level of certainty no other firm can match.TCS offers a consulting-led, integrated portfolio of IT and IT-enabled infrastructure, engineeringand assurance services. This is delivered through its unique Global Network Delivery ModelTM,recognized as the benchmark of excellence in software development. A part of the Tata Group,India’s largest industrial conglomerate, TCS has a global footprint and is listed on the NationalStock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange in India.For more information, visit us at www.tcs.comIT Services TCS Design Services I M I 08 I 12Business SolutionsOutsourcingAll content / information present here is the exclusive property of Tata Consultancy Services Limited (TCS). The content / information contained here iscorrect at the time of publishing. No material from here may be copied, modified, reproduced, republished, uploaded, transmitted, posted or distributed inany form without prior written permission from TCS. Unauthorized use of the content / information appearing here may violate copyright, trademark andother applicable laws, and could result in criminal or civil penalties. Copyright © 2012 Tata Consultancy Services Limited