Editor’s note: We asked Flexera to share some of their insights and advice for companies buying cloud solutions in 2012.
SandHill.com: What do you believe will be the biggest change in relationships between software vendors and their customers during 2012? How can software buyers prepare for and leverage this change?
Jeanne Morain: Software vendors, cloud providers and customers will have to come together to determine the necessary licensing standards for the cloud. The cloud provides great flexibility and options for licensing but also creates numerous challenges. Up until the cloud paradigm shift, both producers and consumers have worked together to determine the best approach to license, distribute and report on application usage. With the cloud, both are challenged to determine the best pathway to distribute and audit applications across multiple clouds/networks via cloud hosters/providers.
Flexera Software has been working with organizations like the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) to apply its expertise and experience to assist in designing solutions across the three paradigms (producers, consumers, hosters or cloud providers). The objective will be to clarify the cloud licensing confusion and eliminate a major hurdle of cloud adoption by automating new processes through standards across consumers, producers, and providers. IT buyers need to insure that whatever they procure can integrate into their back-end processes and systems and, if not, understand impact and how to adjust to accommodate for this expanded market.
SandHill: How should software buyers approach transitioning to the cloud?
Jeanne Morain: They need to build a solid foundation that will enable the future desired state scenarios. The top five considerations for tackling transformation from client to cloud are:
- IT must clean up their current gaps in processes, skill sets, and systems. Otherwise, any deficiencies will only be exponentially exasperated by the user-centric paradigm shift to universal clients and the cloud.
- Before the company jumps into any project, it should first assess the gaps between where it currently is and where the desired state is across both cloud and client. Start the planning by first trying to understand the art of the possible by assessing current assets, user, and application compatibility requirements before considering solutions.
- If the company has initiatives around client virtualization, private/on premise, hybrid and/or public initiatives, start small but architect for expansion taking into consideration changes in the technology landscape.
- Step away from the machine-centric viewpoint to more of a user and business mindset to think outside of the box in terms of requirements.
- Start with a small pilot project that entails all key stakeholders to identify the gaps before you scale out. There is no such thing as too big to fail when it comes to IT projects.
SandHill.com: In what areas is your company investing now in order to meet customer needs and expectations over the next two to three years?
Jeanne Morain: We are investing heavily in Application Usage Management from current to the cloud. The story behind the flourishing software industry is one of constant change, as new business opportunities, technology developments and rapidly changing markets rewrite the rules. Flexera Software is continuing to innovate in areas from client to cloud around Application Usage Management. The new paradigm shift from a machine centric to an application and user-centric world is essential for both enterprises and ISVs to keep up with the fast evolving landscape of user, regulatory and business directives.
Like many companies, we are investing heavily in future areas such as cloud, desktop transformation and DevOps. However, we are continuing to provide connecting technologies to bridge the gap from current to cloud, knowing that like all major paradigm shifts we have enabled (such as adoption of MSI) it will be an evolutionary cycle for both ISVs and enterprises to adopt new technologies while adapting current people and processes.
We are continuing to evolve and adapt our solutions around Application Usage Management to make it easy for application producers to bring their products to market profitably and for enterprises to profit from the use of those products. The adoption of the virtualization has only exasperated issues with current infrastructure around planning, compatibility, and manual processes. By continuing to invest in this area and bridging the gaps from client to cloud we help software vendors “future-proof” their applications and help enterprises “future-proof” their investments to cross the cloud chasm.
Jeanne Morain is Director Strategic Alliances, Flexera Software.