Energy Plus chose a hybrid cloud model enables it to move apps to the cloud at its own pace, and scale its infrastructure with the cloud as required.
To date, Energy Plus has migrated most of its key applications to the cloud. "Our most critical application is our website, where we enroll most of our customers," he states. "We migrated that to the cloud during the summer. We have also migrated e-mail and some of our corporate systems, including the general ledger."
The shift to the cloud has also changed the way that Scott himself works, compared to the responsibilities he had with previous employers. "Rather than focusing on building 'iron horses' such as data centers and air conditioning units, I have been able to focus on building strategic relationships with companies such as SunGard," he explains. In fact, these days, he believes that a large part of every CIO's job should really be about relationship management. "For example, if we had everything here and something went wrong, such as an outage, I would have to say that I dropped the ball," he states. "With the cloud, I still have the responsibility for making sure that outages don't occur. However, to do that in a cloud environment, I need to be as familiar with the inner workings of SunGard as I do my own organization."
Results and Benefits
"By using the cloud, we have all of the advantages of scale that multi-billion dollar companies have," states Scott.
The decision saved a lot of time, too. "If we had moved to a traditional virtual environment, we would have had to spec hardware, order it, receive it, and set it up," he explains. That could have taken months. "By migrating to the cloud, we were able to set up the new environment of high-availability architecture within 10 days," he states.
There was also one unexpected benefit: Energy Plus employees love that they are involved in a cloud environment. "We did an early pilot in January 2011 on using cloud technology," says Scott. "I was amazed at just how keen the employees were to try out some of the cloud technologies. They were even volunteering personal time just so they could get the experience of 'playing in the cloud.'" As a result, Scott found that, besides having practical applications, the cloud has also really helped to build employee morale.
Similarly, it has also helped Energy Plus attract new talent. "We are a medium-sized, fast-growing company and are adding staff all the time," Scott states. "Being able to tell prospective candidates that we are using a cloud platform is definitely a big selling point."