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Leon Godwin, Principal Cloud Evangelist for EMEA at Sungard Availability Services, an IT and disaster recovery services firm, offers five considerations for organisations before making the leap to the cloud.
Cloud adoption has been steadily growing for years. But the pandemic has taken adoption to a new level. Enterprise cloud infrastructure spend jumped 35 percent to nearly $130 billion in 2020. Over 40 percent of businesses say the pandemic accelerated their move to the cloud, while more than 90 percent revealed that their cloud usage was slightly or significantly higher than they planned. The trend isn’t expected to slow down, either. Fifty-four percent of respondents in a recent McKinsey poll stated that the increasing migration of assets to the cloud will continue.
But whether a company has already shifted applications and workloads to the cloud or has plans to do so soon, it must be sure that it’s doing so for the right reasons. Far too many organisations move to the cloud without first determining if it makes strategic and financial sense for their business. Before making any moves, organisations must ask themselves these five questions to determine if it is really cloud ready.
Can you react swiftly to change?
Cyber threats. Unplanned natural disasters. Customers suddenly demanding more online services. These are just some of the agents of change that can significantly affect businesses.
The most resilient organisations can – and are willing to – swiftly adapt to these changing conditions. For example, Amazon successfully went from being an online retailer to an e-commerce powerhouse and major cloud provider by taking advantage of changing technology and customer preferences. Meanwhile, despite inventing the digital camera, Kodak failed because it relied too strongly on an outdated business model and couldn’t adjust fast enough.
No company is too big to fail, and complacency and stubbornness have been the downfall of many big names. Being adaptable gives companies choices and options, enabling them to roll with the punches as conditions change.
Do you have the skills to match the mission?
The skills needed for success in the cloud aren’t the same as those required to maintain traditional IT. Unfortunately, many organisations don’t recognise this skills gap until it’s too late.
Cloud platform expertise is where most companies struggle, according to 451 Research. Cloud-native engineering and security expertise are also areas of concern.
Some businesses choose to train their current employees to learn these skills, while others turn to outside contractors or hire additional staff. Using managed services is also another possibility. Each requires varying levels of resources, so it’s important for companies to know what it can and can’t handle on its own.
All of which is to say that moving to the cloud is just the beginning. Companies need the right skills in place to unlock its true value.
Will it save you money?
Making cost savings is a huge benefit when migrating workloads to the cloud, but not every organisation is in a position to save money.
Companies estimate that they waste 30 percent of their cloud spend on average. It’s actually closer to 35 percent — which shouldn’t be all that surprising considering 79 percent of businesses say they struggle to manage cloud costs.
Organisations should devise a strategy to optimise costs before migrating to the cloud. This is done by assessing each workload and making sure they properly align with the business outcome business leaders are looking to achieve.
You’ve likely spent substantial resources on physical infrastructure and don’t want to waste that investment. Luckily, there are ways that you can advance to the cloud without abandoning existing infrastructure to salvage your previous investment.
Companies can save money in the cloud, but only if they move servers or workloads strategically and with a close eye on the bottom line.
Will you be able to transact faster?
It’s fair to suggest that moving to the cloud will automatically allow businesses to speed up certain processes. But which ones? And how much faster will they be?
A cloud culture enables automation, which lets companies transact business faster. For example, providing customers with assessment reports may require hours of manual labour. Automating the process may reduce it to minutes. But it doesn’t end there.
Cloud native tools and services can help develop applications quicker. Organisations can also add and remove capacity more quickly and cost effectively than they can with on-premises solutions, ultimately accelerating the time to market.
While moving to the cloud can help speed up older systems, business leaders really want to key in on how the cloud can help them move faster. This will help them achieve their business strategies and maximise investment.
Does it promote a better user experience?
No matter how you define “user experience,” companies won’t necessarily improve it through a simple migration – it must be accompanied by the right strategies and business drivers.
For example, if an organisation has a dispersed workforce, and it wants to improve collaboration and communication, it might consider productivity tools like G-Suite or Microsoft 365. Companies can also enhance the customer experience by adopting better web services and analytics.
Additionally, organisations can improve resilience posture by adding high-availability cloud features to its disaster recovery (DR) plan. This will strengthen the business and allow users to always access the tools they need.
It’s called a cloud journey for a reason
Companies shouldn’t move to the cloud just because everyone else is. That’s how they can get into trouble.
Creating a well-defined plan built around current and future business goals will allow companies to maximise the value of the cloud. This is a journey, so the process must not be rushed. Answering these questions is an excellent place to start.