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Be sure to include winning executive sponsorship as a core plank of your Office 365 adoption plan

Often stakeholders counting on a successful roll out of a new computing platform (like Office 365) for enterprise computing put together adoption strategies to hasten user adoption. But a core component of success, and, therefore, any adoption plan intended to support this goal, must be winning executive sponsorship.

Microsoft offers a voluminous set of information on all topics relevant to Office 365. This reader identified an hour long webcast likely to provoke some positive thinking on this topic titled Rethinking the Business Benefits of the Cloud. The webcast is led by Joe Weinman, author of “Cloudonomics”.

Readers should note the theme of MSDN’s Channel 9. The content is technical in nature. This webcast is no exception. So readers should plan on a project management technical presentation before blocking out time to attend this webcast.

Any effort to enlist executive sponsorship of cloud computing must include a demonstration of the business benefit cloud computing will likely delivery to a specific organization. Weinman organizes the notion of cloud computing, as he presents it, into 5 criteria:

The first of these is a cloud as a “common pool of shared dynamically allocated resources”. Weinman argues “as long as workloads are independent” this feature leads to a “smoothing” effect on the pace at which internal consumers consume computing resources, and, “higher utilization”. These two features, he argues, “create benefits for the organization.

The second big feature of cloud, for Weinman, is “location independence”. This one will likely be familiar to most readers as mention of this characteristic pervades most pro cloud presentations. Weinman adds an important caveat to this theme: any latency concerns need to be met. He provides a formula for calculating the likely effect on latency produced as the number of cloud computing nodes increases. He does express caution about the tendency to over build. The ratio of improvements to latency to number of nodes does reach a point of diminishing return. Bottom line: Weinman contends “only a small number of nodes” is required to reduce latency in a meaningful manner (delivering cost reduction).

The “online nature of the cloud”, easy access to the wide area network across an organization, constitutes the third important feature promising business benefits. In this case, the wide area network provider is actually making the investment required to manage latency. So service level quality assurance is a shared benefit delivered when a decision is made to implement Office 365, or a comparable cloud computing solution.

Cloud amounts to a “pay per use service”, as Weinman portrays it. This structure, he argues, works to the benefit of organizations by controlling, if not completely obviating the upfront costs of building the hardware and software computing infrastructure required, on premises, to support what amounts to the same type of consumption patterns by internal personnel.

The final benefit (which is a familiar one to us here at SharePoint-Videos) is the On-Demand opportunity to scale up, or to scale down infrastructure based on demand.

This webcast is certainly worth a watch for readers with an hour to spare.

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