What Makes A Cloud Project A Tech Success?

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

The best cloud projects probably major on business, not technology, says Peter Judge

What does a successful cloud project look like? We are not sure, but one thing we know is that the company won’t think of it as “the cloud project”

That’s because the fundamental premise of cloud computing is delivering IT services where the technology is under the covers, and users are enabled without having to get hung up on how the system works. In the best projects, your users won’t think of this as a “cloud computing” system – they will just see changes to the way they get their jobs done.

If it is done right, a cloud project is not a “cloud project” at all.

Cloud coverage

“Cloud is s a business model,” says Ian Osborne of Intellect UK, the UK high tech trade association. “It’s a way of delivering IT services.  The truth is that the industry is re-structuring itself around a different model of delivery.”

How will that show in practice? We think we are going to find out as we look for successful IT projects that use cloud technologies, for TechWeekEurope’s Tech Success Awards,which are to be awarded in partnership with Intellect. All the best awards schemes don’t start with any fixed idea what the winner will look like, but in our search for the most innovative cloud-based tech project in the UK, we are stepping into the unknown.

Cloud services are IT functions delivered over the Internet. Typically they come from outside your organisation – and the best known are things like Google Apps, and Dropbox.

Some clouds are internal, however. If your organisation is big enough to have many data centres, you might have replaced them all, with one set of virtual resources under your control, making savings, boosting efficiency, and giving you a tool that lets you set up new services with a couple of clicks.

Alternatively, if you are a tiny company with not much internal IT resource, you might have used the cloud to get your hands on a slice of big IT power. Maybe you are using the cloud to give your staff access to Big Data apps that only the big boys could play with before!

Quite frankly, we don’t know what to expect from entrants to this category, because the field is still new.

But one thing we will be looking our for, are the projects where the cloud rewrites the relationship between the IT department and the end users.

A new deal from the cloud?

Cloud services treat users as customers. There’s plenty of evidence that a lot of staff are using public cloud services in preference to what the IT department gives them, often without the knowledge of the IT department. The reason is simple – cloud services treat them as customers to satisfy, not end users that get in the way.

We think the IT organisations that deliver good cloud projects will be the ones that have picked up on this thinking. They are offering services to your company in a much more flexible and creative way than they could have before.

The cloud is in there, but the interest is in the new services that get offered.

All our IT Life contributors agree that the cloud is the future. For some it’s the way they want to deliver services now, while for others it’s something to do when the time is right.

We want to know about IT projects that show cloud as both practical and visionary. If you have such a project, delivered since May 2011 in the UK, then let us know. Your project might also fit our other categories – Big Data, Mobile, Open Source, Public Sector and Green, so read the details here and contact us to find out about entering.

UPDATE: We’ve made it easier to enter.  Fill in a form here!

And, if you have leadership potential, don’t forget our CEO quiz!