The state of solid matter can be converted to gas or liquid if a catalyst (chemical, heat, etc.) is applied. The molecules start to speed up, eventually breaking the bonds that hold them together. This liquefaction (conversion to liquid state) or gasification (conversation to gaseous state) enables solid matter to flow more freely, to take on more dynamic variability.
Cloud computing can be the catalyst that transforms IT to a more dynamic and flexible state, enabling responsiveness and value creation not possible in its current solid form. The cloud can free IT from the shackles of capital budgeting, the tax of application maintenance, the root canal of software upgrades and the drain of constant infrastructure refresh cycles.
A cloud or consumerization approach to end user devices can extend this transformation. Subsidizing employee purchases of PCs, laptops and smartphones can eliminate much of the cost of helpdesks and maintenance depots. Provisioning virtual desktops to these devices further reduces the cost. Employees get the most up-to-date equipment, and can get their support from the place they bought it.
In some ways, small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) are far more likely to achieve cloudification in the near term. They have less in-house infrastructure to begin with and get far more value from “using” IT than acquiring it. The lack of capital also has a part to play. When you’re small, you’re less likely to have the flexibility to invest in systems with a long payback period.
By letting others (e.g. service providers) wrestle with these issues, enterprise IT can focus far more on value creation through new systems and capabilities. It can also focus more on governance and security. A truly “cloudified” IT function is more nimble, productive, and efficient than a traditional environment.