To cloud or not to cloud.. (part 1, I suspect!)

In between driving 450 miles yesterday, I managed to spend some time with two customers, and, as you might expect in this day and age, the conversation turned to ‘cloud’.
One organisation, a retailer, is going gung-ho for cloud. The centralised/distributed model, with a migration to operational expenditure, really suits them. They are also giving consideration to what their next generation of access devices might look like, including the potential of tablets in-store – even more reason to access services from the cloud (or perhaps cloud-delivered services is more of a reason for the tablets- but I suspect that is more about serving customers).
The other company is a financial organisation, holding many and various sensitive data within their systems. For them, any form of public cloud is an absolute no, as regulations dictate that they know exactly where their data are. Having said that, they are well down the road towards a private cloud strategy – heavily virtualised for starters, and beginning to wrap the ITIL based processes around the infrastructure that will mean that they can deliver IT as a service.
I guess my point is that this cloud thing is by no means cut-and-dried, and there are many ways to approach it depending on the needs of your business. As always with this sort of thing, that’s the place to start! Let’s not do cloud because it is cool or sexy- or because the CEO thinks it is the latest buzz. Let’s do it where there is a benefit to the business.
Same as any technology acquisition decision then, I hope!

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