Cloud transformation has been highlighted as maybe not only one of the most important means to get through the pandemic, but also to come out on top when the dust settles.Check out the ISG Provider Lens™ Public Cloud -report results!
Our goal? To face this challenge head-on, by doing what we do best; providing IT knowledge and advisory, solutions, and services to enable digitalization.
For instance, we are working with one of our customers in the Swedish retail market, who have already started leveraging cloud technology as part of their IT solutions and are now working on going cloud-native. Countless of companies are enabling safe and controlled video conferencing with Microsoft Teams. In short, many are making better use of cloud technology.
This question has been the talk of the town for the past decade. I find it amusing that only 10 years ago, it practically didn’t exist, and now it is all we ever talk about. Unsurprisingly, different organizations and people approach cloud from several different angles. Many define it as Services that are delivered through the internet.
As a techy, however, I feel this slightly misses the point. For one, it completely ignores private clouds such as some big platforms on large ships. These can be equipped with for instance Microsoft Azure Stack Cloud platform that is able to function largely offline but still delivers cloud services.
Cloud computing is in essence what IT infrastructure and platform experts have been trying to achieve for decades - paraphrasing the Wikipedia definition - the automation of resources to deliver IT services, whether it be by a private, hybrid, or public cloud model. This would really help bring to life the cherished goal of flipping the infamous 70% administration and 30% innovation ratio.
The most important thing isn’t to just use cloud because everybody else is doing it. The main focus should be centered around goals and ambitions. The needs will always be subjective to the individual organizations. We've identified over a dozen cloud drivers through our experience with customers’ transformation projects and working with the technology. Aligning these drivers with your strategy will serve as a compass to stay on course in order to reach your goals.
This is where one could benefit from an analytical framework such as what we call a Cloud Readiness Assessment, or Cloud Discovery and assessments, similar to the early phases of industry standardized Cloud Adoption Frameworks. These frameworks save a lot of organizations from pursuing the wrong tech, meaning you avoid wasting time and money while establishing solutions that are not really optimal.
There is not one straight answer to that question. Some are just starting to test the waters, others are running significant workloads in cloud, and a few haven't taken a single step towards cloud. Simplifying a complex matter is never easy, but you could boil it down to three main maturity stages:
Cloud computing is very different from classic on-premises computing. Readiness is about not flying into cloud computing without a plan. Readiness is about evaluating what you need, aligning that need to the right technology, and make sure you have a plan to get there. Like any good plan, you would want to know what would be the consequences of undergoing the change - will you be saving capital, or will it cost you more? Will you actually get the benefits you’ve sought to acquire? Running discovery and assessments will reduce the unknown factors and help you mitigate risk.
Some have systems running in cloud, but you might not have full control over everything such as billing, processes, and compliance. Do you know where your data is stored? Have you designed your environment to meet your SLAs?
Do you have processes in place to control spending, monitor your systems – and if a service goes offline, do you have a mitigation plan? Some voices in the market have predicted that transitioning to cloud computing will reduce the need for hosting partners, maintenance, or complexity.
But the truth is, nobody will tell you if what you’ve set up in the cloud is right or not. Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, by design, don’t really know much about who uses their services and what they are using it for.
Establishing control in the shape of cloud Governance, whether it be private, hybrid, or public, is critical to successful operations and will help you avoid steep costs, errors, and problems that could potentially be devastating to your organization.
For instance, Outlook Online will provide a retention service that will keep your emails for as long as you like depending on the policy, but it is NOT a backup service. Should you be so unlucky to delete something by mistake, that email or document is gone. A backup however will periodically store an extra copy of data, so if a mistake is made, you can still get it back.
When you finally have some systems running in cloud, you’ll want to seek out that amazing cloud-native technology. But what does it mean to be “Cloud Native”? My favorite example of this is a retailer I know of; they've taken the first steps to bring their web e-commerce environment into cloud but has not completely transformed it.
On every Black Friday, their webshop is flooded with customers trying to get their hands on their sales.Even though their webshop is hosted in cloud, the underlying code is not built to automatically scale up by adding cloud servers as the traffic increases.
Instead, they have a ticketing system which means you must stand in a digital line in order to finally get in. I don’t know about you, but I think a lot of shoppers will not have the patience to “wait in line” on a day like that.
It’s about leaving a legacy behind and focusing on the service itself. That is why the third stage is the continuous optimization of your cloud systems and Acceleration. The innovation rate is so significant that keeping an eye out for new technology could be what gives you that advantage you’re looking for.
I’m hoping that if you’ve taken anything away from this post, it is that it’s good to take a step back and make a plan. Try to figure out where you are in your transformation journey but maybe even more important is to start a conversation.
Reaching out to your partners, the vendors, or taking the time to start discussions internally is a really important step towards identifying your next move. So pick up a phone, join a video chat, or set up a socially distanced meeting, and energize your cloud transformation.