If you read my blog last week, Cracking the Cloud Conceptions, wait no longer. As promised, I interviewed each SAP customer I met at SAPPHIRE NOW Orlando and asked the following: What do you think about the cloud?
I asked if their company ran business in the cloud, the benefits of the cloud, and their general opinion of cloud computing overall. Cloud computing is a concept that everyone is speaking, breathing, and hearing over and over again, but do we really understand what it means? As SAP moves towards its mission of simplifying everything to do anything, the cloud is going to play a major role in the success of SAP customers.
“Can I have a minute of your time?”
Day 1 of SAPPHIRE NOW started with a bang as Bill McDermott announced:
- The new SAP Simple Finance solution with the integrated SuccessFactors/Fieldglass/Ariba cloud
- That SAP will now provide SAP Fiori for free with all software purchases and
- The need to break business complexity
Interested in the thoughts of attendees, I camped out at a cafeteria table during lunch and interviewed each person that sat down at my table, “What is your opinion of the cloud and how can we use it to simplify business?” Interviewees represented small/mid-sized businesses to large multibillion dollar enterprises. The customers with whom I spoke came from all different industry backgrounds including entertainment, aeronautics and space logistics, manufacturing, high tech, utilities, retail, healthcare, and consumer products.
The answers I received included three reoccurring themes:
Security: Many customers are skeptical about data security in the cloud. They fear hackers and the thought of losing control of their data. However, many customers were also pleased that if there is a hack, the fault would be the responsibility the 3rd party to fix, not on the customer.
I need to know everything about the cloud solution, including parameters, rules, and regulations.
Hybrid: I was told that on premise will never disappear completely, and that a hybrid approach that combines both cloud and an on-premise solution is the best option.
Cloud has existed for a long time, but now the focus is on how it gets deployed.
Small Business: Small to midsized companies agreed unanimously that in memory cloud computing is the way to go. For small business, there is not enough IT support to manage business process solutions. However, with cloud computing, someone else does it for them, making their lives simpler and easier.
The ability and agility of the cloud is key, as well as the limited need for trained staff.
Protecting Your Data
For a more in depth look at SAP’s Cloud Security Strategy, check out this blog by Bert Schulze and Sven Denecken titled, The 1-2-3 of Cloud Security at SAP. The blog explains that according to a Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 86% of all security breaches [in the cloud] were accomplished by the use of stolen log in credentials. That’s why SAP is dedicated to enforcing the security of employee passwords and single sign-on policies. In the blog you’ll also read about the importance of trust between the customer and supplier and about the militarized and de-militarized Zone on the web.
Everybody’s Doing It
Overall, the shift to the cloud can’t be ignored. As one customer put it, “Everyone is using the cloud in some way.” And it’s true. We are all touched by cloud computing, and whether noticeable or not, the cloud is making life a lot simpler and easier.
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