How to Profit from Cloud Computing

By Sandy Carter  |  Posted 2010-11-22

How to Profit from Cloud Computing

Despite the rapid adoption of cloud computing among organizations around the world, there is still one critical benefit eluding most organizations, particularly when it comes to the cloud: How do we derive real monetary value from these new technologies? Simply put, cloud computing has the potential to turn the economics of enterprise IT upside down, offering key business advantages from a capital and operations-related expense perspective.

Last year, we conducted a survey of software partners to find out where they see the IT industry going in the next two years. An impressive 50 percent of respondents indicated that cloud computing will be a leading driver of profitability, and the same percentage ranked consulting services as their top cloud opportunity. The problem, we realized, was not their recognition of the technology's ability to change their business, but their lack of understanding about how to actually make it profitable for their business.

There are vendors who host and offer subscription-based cloud offerings, as well as offer the infrastructure and operational management software to make IT "invisible" so that the focus is on the business, the clients' services and the processes they demand to be successful using public and private cloud capabilities. But the financial benefits of the cloud can and should transcend an organization's affiliation with a vendor.

Some of you out there have heard of the "Four Ps" of marketing. Well, in order to capitalize on this growing industry trend, I think businesses must be well-versed in the "Three Cs" of cloud computing. The opportunity for all organizations in the cloud lies in consulting, customizing and continuing cloud services. By adding industry knowledge and expertise, organizations can create and offer a repeatable set of cloud enablement, delivery and operational skills unique to specific industries as the cloud model becomes more and more prevalent.

Three Cs of Cloud Computing: Consulting, Customizing and Continuing

Three Cs of cloud computing: consulting, customizing and continuing

To be effective in the Three Cs of cloud computing, organizations must be able to do four things:

1. Provide IT as standardized "service offerings" via the cloud in a way that accelerates delivery, improves efficiency, reduces risk and lowers capital and operational costs. These service offerings can include hardware as a service, platform as a service, software as a service or a variation of the three;

2. Quickly build, sell and service cloud offerings, as well as the infrastructure and operational management software, to make IT "invisible" so the focus is on the business;

3. Become proficient in public and private cloud capabilities;

4. Build private clouds on their own, and create and offer a replicable set of cloud enablement, delivery and operational skills that will accelerate the adoption of this model.

When it comes to cloud computing, we know there are opportunities in hardware and software, but the real money stands to be made in services. At its core, this is a skills business. The ability to quickly assess the need, customize a solution and continue to revise it as needed is the only way to be truly successful.

If businesses keep in mind that their customers want to employ the cloud to solve real business problems, and they can effectively consult, customize and continue cloud services that address a specific problem, they will be successful in rolling out effective cloud computing programs. 

Along with our many business partners, we are working to help our clients determine where to use cloud computing to realize the greatest value, today and tomorrow. The rewards for skilled cloud business partners will be profits, retained customers and new customers.

Sandy Carter is Vice President, Software Group Business Partners and Midmarket at IBM. She is responsible for worldwide, cross-company sales and marketing for the business partner channel for the IBM Software Group. She is on the board of the Women in Technology International (WITI) Executive Advisory Council, WITI GEN (Global Executive Network), the Forrester CMO Council, and International Child Art Foundation (ICAF).  She also serves as a board member of the Grace Hopper Industry Advisory Committee and is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Sandy is the author of two books, "The New Language of Business: SOA & Web 2.0" and "The New Language of Marketing 2.0: Social Media". She is an avid social media evangelist and received a MarCom award for her blogger and Twitter communities.

Sandy holds a Bachelor's degree in Math and Computer Science from Duke University and an MBA from Harvard, and is fluent in eight programming languages. She received a patent for developing a methodology and tool to help customers create a technology deployment path in automation of their IT processes. Visit her blog at and follow her on Twitter @ sandy_carter.

Rocket Fuel