The Cloud Stack Today

By Aarthi Rayapura August 7, 2014

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Flickr Creative Commons – hnphotog 

By Gabe Weisert, Content Marketing Manager

Eighteen months ago Box CEO Aaron Levie wrote an influential blog post called “The Rise of the Cloud Stack” noting a kinder, gentler attitude from the established enterprise IT players towards the new breed of cloud-based solutions:

 

“For the last decade, the enterprise IT landscape has been a battleground of competing paradigms. Oracle has pushed a vast empire of all-or-nothing, fully integrated solutions, while comparatively fledgling cloud vendors have offered choice and integrations with other best-of-breed services. And customers, to a large degree, have been forced to choose between these divergent philosophies and realities.”

 

Then the big monoliths suddenly decided to lower the gates, and welcome in the cloud-based barbarians.

 

Why? Probably because they knew where their vulnerabilities lay:

 

“In the on-premise era, integrating enterprise solutions entailed vast amounts of complexity for every new solution implemented. Getting your CRM to work with your ERP or HRM from varied vendors was a near-impossible task and led to overdrawn budgets, delayed projects, and incomplete systems.”

 

Aviso CEO K.V. Rao perfectly captured the problem in a recent Tech Crunch piece on “The Dark Age of Enterprise Software”:

 

“Enterprise software has been a critical tool to help companies organize data and automate painfully manual processes. And unfortunately little else.”

 

The cloud stack kept the big enterprise IT customers happy.  They benefited from rapid, low-cost integration, out-of-the-box functionality, and recent advances in predictive analytics. And thanks to APIs, all of these systems could actually talk to each other.

 

So where is the cloud stack today?

 

Picture your business as a smart phone. If enterprise IT is your IOS or Android, then cloud stack solutions are your favorite home screen apps.

 

Most startups take them as a given, but they’re also starting to transform a wide swathe of established “legacy” organizations and companies, from government agencies to cruise lines:

  • Box handles content management for Six Flags, Procter & Gamble, Grey Group Advertising, and General Electric.

 

  • Marketo supports marketing automation efforts for Phillips 66, Hornblower Cruises, The Economist and Harvard Business School.

 

  • Okta secures IT environments for Chiquita, Clorox, Oakley and the Girl Scouts.

 

  • Salesforce brings CRM technology to Black & Decker, Coca Cola, Burberry and the City of Boston.

 

  • Workday provides human resource management for Sallie Mae, MGM Resorts, Visa and Yale University.

 

  • Zendesk powers the customer service of 20th Century Fox, Xerox, MTV, and the New Zealand Postal Service.

 

  • Zuora enables recurring revenue-based billing for American Express, Intuit, Hewlett-Packard and TCS.

 

Computing, one of the UK’s leading enterprise technology publications, recently ran a compelling enterprise IT transformation story in which Jason Richards, CIO of data security firm Sophos, discusses how he completely removed, replaced and re-architected the firm’s systems following a cloud stack initiative.

 

The old billing system was the first to go:

 

“Despite Richards stating that the initial solution from billing provider Big Machines was well-suited to Sophos’ business two years ago, the supplier had not yet released a cloud version of the offering.

‘It was well suited for our configuration, pricing and quoting process, but the acceleration of cloud really drove us to look at new capabilities in Big Machines that did not exist at the time, or a specialist billing engine that was suited to the cloud,’ Richards explained.

‘We’re not used to hugely customised cloud solutions being delivered to us so we went through a good evaluation process to look at the specialist cloud billing engines that are out there, and ended up selecting Zuora in that space,’ he continued.

And that was just the beginning of many changes at the firm.”

 

Read on to find out how Sophos completed their conversion to the cloud stack.