TMNG Global recently expanded its cloud consulting and professional services practice with the addition of new firepower, naming Andy Bart and Vern Sheppard to its consulting team. Bart has 30 years of IT sector experience, having held positions at EOM, SHL Systemhouse and Maxima. Sheppard is a 25-year IT veteran, also hailing from EOM and having held positions at Millennium Care, Healthaxis, Ernst & Young, SHL Systemhouse and Ameritech.

We chatted by email with Kirk Odegaard, TMNG’s VP of delivery for cloud services about the firm’s cloud focus.

How long has TMNG been consulting on cloud-related topics?

For the past two years. We have also been working with our clients over the past 20 years to develop their products, services, technology and operational processes that have now evolving to the emerging cloud business and technology models.

What’s the expertise of the firm when it comes to the cloud?

TMNG provides our clients with services supporting the entire breadth of their strategy, products, technology and operations requirements. Specific to the cloud, we are supporting our clients in several business-critical areas: Strategy, assessment of cloud data center operations, program management, technology roadmap definition, business process design and implementation, business case development, cloud subject-matter expertise and overall execution. 

Our major emphasis to identify and assess the business implications—specifically the client benefits, the impact on current and future business models and the transformation required by the client to take advantage of the evolution to the cloud from cloud 1.0 to cloud 2.0 and eventually to cloud 3.0. 

What size and type of company does TMNG typically see considering a migration to the cloud?

We see all types of companies migrating to the cloud. There are cost, operational and financial benefits to be obtained whether the company is a Tier 1 or Tier 2 service operators, an equipment manufacturer, a software provider, a next-generation data center provider or virtually any enterprise. Additionally, many investors are looking to the cloud to generate opportunities for growth.

What are some of the concerns among IT professionals about cloud computing? Security? Reliability? Cost? All of the above?

There are many well- documented and published concerns that companies have with the cloud: How to migrate existing technology and operations to the cloud; how secure the cloud is and whether sensitive customer data can be protected; if there are performance issues in accessing systems; if systems and data will be available; if cloud applications can be integrated with core business applications and processes; if cloud-based applications can be customized to meet specific business needs; if changes in the regulatory environment impact the ability to fully leverage the capabilities of the cloud; and if on-demand usage will cost more than current models.

We have seen several studies which cite a number of factors driving the priorities of the IT professionals, including IT level of services within each firm, flexibility in meeting client needs, increasing costs for installed software on premise, and the obvious concerns on security requirements as a most important factor. The recent cloud related outages have served to highlight these concerns and have heightened the awareness of the impact the cloud can and will have on the overall business model of companies fully utilizing its capabilities.

In TMNG’s view, what is the primary reason for making a migration to the cloud?

The cost savings it provides. It provides the ability to shift large initial capital investments (capex) to ongoing operational costs (opex) to both lower the total cost of the service and simplify their business operations. TMNG does a lot of work with our clients in assessing the impact to their business model of this fundamental transition and develops detailed business cases and financial statements to clearly identify the costs and benefits.

This reduction in the investment required to either expand a current operation or start a new business also significantly reduces the barriers for market entry and should provide for the development and introduction of a wide variety of new products and services. As competition becomes more intense, many companies will focus on their core business rather than participating in the IT business. Companies will want to bring new products to market faster and have a head start on their competitors. Thus cost reduction, faster innovation, and less IT involvement are compelling features of cloud computing.

How do you expect this sector to change over the next five to 10 years, in terms of technology advancement and what cloud computing will enable?

The cloud sector should experience extremely high growth during this period. Almost all analysts expect high double- or even triple- digit growth in spending on the cloud. The cost models and technical capabilities will dramatically lower the total cost of ownership (TCO) for the companies migrating to the cloud which will enable them to invest in new capabilities and to extend more services to their users. The security concerns associated with the public cloud will diminish with the passage of time and the implementation of new technology to address this issue. Pricing models and SLAs from cloud providers will stabilize and service offerings will be more easily evaluated. We also envision a richer application product set as new vendors and ISV’s are accepting and migrating to the cloud platform.

Cloud computing is a significant disruptive innovation because it both lowers cost and provides access to a different set of consumers somewhat similar to the impact personal computers had on information technology. Cloud computing places the breadth of technology in the hands of many rather than in the hands of the enterprise. One way to think about what innovations might be triggered by the cloud computing model is to imagine a world in which technology is free.