The cloud has taken the world of computing by storm, a growing number of organizations worldwide are seeing the value of cloud computing as a way of increasing agility in their business processes and optimizing the cost of their supporting infrastructure costs. However, enterprises still need to get their cloud approach and strategy right if they hope to realize the many benefits that the cloud offers. Among the first considerations for any enterprise is make a choice of leveraging a public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud.
The acceleration in enterprise cloud adoption has hardly come as a surprise for those in the industry who have watched this technology take roots in later part of previous decade. The surprise is actually how long it has actually taken to reach mainstream adoption in an enterprise. To be sure, cloud in Enterprises is still very much in its nascent stage, the change however is that every organization is hoping to compete and thrive in the digital age and is actively adopting and considering cloud in some form or another. The value in cloud adoption is easily evident for an Enterprise – on one hand to optimize and variablize the spend in the running of the core IT infrastructure that supports the critical business processes and on the other hand to enable the companies to achieve hyper-agility to compete in the digital innovation in the economy. To be able to achieve these complex goals, enterprises will now need to take a comprehensive approach to leveraging a combination of their own internal private clouds and mashing them with the super agile, infinitely (at least in theory) scalable public clouds. The commitment of cloud can only be realized by following a systematic approach to achieving these objectives. Following three steps could be used as a broad guideline:
- Re-mandate the goals of the IT department; use Cloud as a means rather than an end
Often, a key challenge in realizing full potential of adopting cloud is the mindset of the current IT team managing the Enterprise Data Centers and applications over the years. Understanding and redefining the mandate of the CIO organization with clear performance goals on cost savings, service and quality levels, acceptable and unacceptable tradeoffs are the vitals. Merely by defining such clear goals, will set the team onto a path to come up with solutions to realize these goals. Cloud adoption, either Private or Public or a combination will often be a result of setting and meeting up of such an expectation.
- An Adoption of ‘as-a-service’ consumption model for all internal enterprise business applications and their supporting infrastructure
Forward looking Enterprises are increasingly considering at a consumption based service model for effectively managing their enterprise application portfolio. Operationalizing ‘System-of-Records’ can offer tremendous cost and service quality benefits to an Enterprise. In many cases, this exercise might involve re-platforming the core systems into a more consumption based ‘Software-as-a-Service’ model which typically have shorter cycle time for developing and rolling out new features. Increasing use of DevOps technology to achieve dual objectives of Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD) will make the core Enterprise Applications feature rich, adaptable, user friendly which is enabling efficient business operations and resulting in better customer experience.
- Create a Cloud enabled ‘System-of-Innovation’ powered by data, collaboration and experiences
True differentiation cloud can bring to an organization is by enabling the enterprise to become a Data driven enterprise. The real battle for Cloud supremacy among the leading cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Cloud (GCP), IBM and others is not in the core services of infrastructure anymore but it is now heading towards in the direction of offering around advanced data handling capabilities, real time data processing, IoT, Machine Learning, Cognitive Services and the likes are all offered on their Cloud platforms. These capabilities now available as programmable APIs have democratized these advanced capabilities into the hands of creative programmers working on the Cloud. In order to achieve true differentiation, an enterprise now has the tools and capabilities that can make them a data driven enterprise which is offering personalized, contextual and engaging experiences to their clients. This will be in my opinion is a biggest impact Cloud can make to an Enterprise.
Public cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud, each has their own relevance. The best approach depends on the specific nature of the business but in most cases it is a combination of Cloud that is relevant. Every enterprise is unique, and its cloud needs will be unique too. Understanding the basic terminology of cloud solutions is the first step toward finding the one that’s right for an organization.
The article was originally published in PC Quest magazine (August 2016) and is re-posted here by permission.