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What is the role of business transformation in the cloud?

James Staten, Forrester vice president and principal analyst, discusses the role of business transformation in the cloud and other related issues.

Is there a role for business transformation and application modernization in the cloud?

James StatenJames Staten

Modernizing architecture -- moving it to an open Web model, for example -- is very suitable for the cloud. If you're going to be moving an application because you want to add interactivity to it (like social media), or you want to add a mobile application to it, or any other kind of action that's going to require you to do a redesign or to add new functionality -- those are ideal times to learn about the cloud and then design appropriately.

Transformational services [for the cloud] are really key, because they help you understand the cloud, and you learn from someone who has experience with it. There are not enough of these out there, so it's good to see more companies adding these capabilities into their training portfolios. The other key aspect here that's driving a lot of interest in the cloud is the belief that cloud is cheaper. Most enterprises are centered on lowering their costs; that's a huge part of why IT expresses any interest in the cloud. You can indeed save significant amounts of money with an application running on the cloud, but you have to know what it actually takes to do that.

Most of the time, when we talk to enterprises who say, "I'm going to the cloud because it's cheaper," they will benefit more from traditional outsourcing. And, in fact, a good strategy that we see a lot of companies doing is when cloud is just part of their outsourcing strategy. We recommend this strategy, which we call "strategic rightsourcing." You segment your portfolio of applications you want to move into those that are suited to the cloud, those that are suited to replacement by SaaS and those that are suited for traditional outsourcing, so that you can do the right thing with the right applications.

Editor's Note: This answer about business transformation is excerpted from an interview with James Staten, Forrester vice president and principal analyst, conducted by SearchSOA.com assistant site editor Stephanie Mann.

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