Cloud World Forum 2015: Companies must embrace failure

At this year’s Cloud World Forum, businesses were urged to use cloud more intelligently and not to view the technology as a one-size-fits-all solution.

Speaking at Kensington Olympia, London, MongoDB’s vice president of strategy Kelly Stirman urged companies to “embrace failure” in order to achieve success.

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Cloud computing has enabled rapid development and deployment of applications, but rarely is this development straightforward. Using the cloud to push new software iterations means that companies must be willing to make mistakes in order to compete.

“The model for innovation today is dramatically different to what we have experienced in technology in previous years,” Stirman explained. “People’s expectations are that applications are changing, evolving and getting better all the time. To capitalise on that you need to embrace failure.”

Mr Stirman also issued a warning for businesses looking to move their resources to the cloud, advising them to choose their vendor carefully.

Although one of the main tenets of cloud computing is its flexibility, companies must be wary of getting locked-in to one particular vendor. Organisations should know about all the charges related to their cloud subscription so they aren’t faced with unexpected costs to leave the service or retrieve their data.

Gartner analyst Lydia Leong echoes Stirman’s caution, particularly given that the cloud industry has not been in existence for very long. Aside from the likes of Amazon, Google and Microsoft, it is unlikely that many cloud providers will be able to compete at the top level in the long term.

“The market for cloud IaaS is in a state of upheaval, as many service providers are shifting their strategies after failing to gain enough market traction,” she said. “Customers must exercise caution when choosing providers.”

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Although cloud computing has been a huge enabler for many businesses, ranging from startups to multinationals, firms would do well to heed Mr Stirman’s advice. Instead of joining the cloud bandwagon, carefully assess what the technology is going to add to your business and then use it to achieve the innovation you need.