Dispatches from the Cloud Frontier
At Crayon we work with customer around the world to help them realize a new modernized IT infrastructure to support their evolving business in ever-changing times and for years to come.
As expected, cloud factors prominently into that infrastructure as organizations strive to maximize capabilities, minimize costs, and continuously introduce innovation into their businesses.
At Crayon we are there each step of the way. As we say,
We are big enough for you to depend on us, and small enough for us to depend on you
Here is we mean by that. We are big enough that we operate in many geographical regions and countries around the world, offering personalized local support and coverage, all while drawing from centralized centers-of-excellence that have deep expertise in key technologies including AI/ML, Big Data, Application Modernization, Security. Etc.
At the same time, we are small enough to be obsessed with your business, your needs, and to assure that we are continuously delivering to maximize your business outcomes.
As we spend time with customers in locales around the world, we are seeing first-hand what companies are experiencing and what they are struggling with when it comes to digital transformation, cloud adoption, and application and business modernization.
In talking with some of our top customer-facing technology leaders, we thought it would be interesting and helpful to share a bit of what they are seeing and the lessons we can learn from the Cloud Frontier!
Cost factors. Customers are accelerating their adoption of cloud because of the cost savings it promises and that they readily observe. In talking with our US based leaders, we are seeing that customers are interested in a number of areas in particular:
License optimization – As customers build out their on-prem IT estate, it tends to bloat through the years. Customers have an ever-increasing number of licenses for software from multiple vendors, with limited visibility into usage and need. Add to that, increasing licensing costs from the vendor, and it’s clear to see that focusing on licensing optimization is a key area of interest for customers.
With Software and Cloud Analytics Agreement Optimization services, we can surface massive savings. On average Customers save 20-30% after optimization. But we also see stand-out cases including an insurance company that saved $11M on a $50M renewal, a financial services company that saved $34M, and a healthcare organization saving $1.5M on a $7.9M renewal. Those savings provide budget headroom to self-fund more promising cloud and innovation projects!
Databases can be pricey – Customers are scrutinizing the database technology that underpin key applications in their IT estate. Although not all applications can undergo a re-factoring of a SQL Server or Oracle database, there are many that can be refactored onto a modern cloud database of managed database service.
For example Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) is available for Amazon Aurora, PostgreSQL, MySQL, MariaDB as well as Oracle Database and SQL Server. Oracle and SQL Server-based application are ones that our Crayon team is keen to assess for potential migration, potentially reducing licensing costs, ongoing application execution costs, and boosting performance.
Additionally, a move to Aurora means a shift to open standards, offering additional cost savings and serve as a defensive position against price increase from proprietary database software vendors.
Getting Right-sizing Right. Our teams have seen customers become disillusioned with cloud costs. We find that typically happens from simply lifting-and-shifting workloads from on-prem to the cloud. Given the differences in infrastructure between on-prem compute infrastructure and cloud, a like-for-like refactoring will typically translate into increased costs.
What is needed is going through a right-sizing exercise to spec out the cloud infrastructure needed to support the business now and for years to come. That is an area where our Crayon team provides true value based on our time-tested expertise and experience!
AI/ML piques interest, but data can hamper outcomes. When it comes to cloud computing, AI/ML is an area that customers are keen to explore. The reasons are clear. Cloud offers a cost-effective platform for deploying AI/ML systems and applications.
Whereas early on-prem systems were cost-prohibitive to many but the biggest corporations and government agencies, availability of AI/ML from all of the hyperscale cloud providers has led to a renaissance and democratization of innovative applications using the AI/ML stack.
Some of our favorite examples that our customer-facing team leads have surfaced include a computer-vision application to support road repairs and an ecommerce application that attempts to correlate elements of the fashion model to purchase.
In the case of the former a state in a central European country set out to optimize road maintenance. They wanted to make the process of selecting and repairing roads totally transparent and void of cronyism and influence.
In this case, they deployed a vehicle with computer vision technology to capture images of the road, and processed images through AI/ML models to objectively select the roads most needing repair.
In the case of the latter, an online retailer hypothesized of a correlation between the a fashion model’s hair style and texture, and skin tone, and purchase. But that hypothesis could not be validated due to a lack of click-level data from the ecommerce system.
This straightforward example is a reminder of the importance of Exploratory Data Analysis. Proactively performing that type of analysis helps protect against bias and helps assure that the data exists to support the analysis. That type of analysis is in the wheelhouse of our AI/ML Center-of-Excellence and an initiative that vanguard customers frequently call for.
Leadership Factors. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the brittleness of institutions and the applications and IT infrastructure that are their foundation to the attention of the C-Suite. For years executives have been focused on digital and business transformation.
Cloud has been a key element in that. But the pandemic has brought a renewed energy and although IT budgets are projected to drop over the coming years due to the business downturn, spend on cloud services is project to in fact grow in the high teens!
We find the redistribution of budget being driven by both senior business and IT leaders who have become more aware of cloud via the effective use of video and web conferencing during this work-from-home period. That in turn has made them more aware of what cloud can offer the business more broadly.
As we continue to gyrate to a new normal, one thing is clear. Going at it alone is fraught with potential pitfalls. Going at it with an objective partner with world-wide presence, experience, domain expertise, and relationship with top software publishers and cloud providers promises to be more effective.
That objective, sober minded approach is what Crayon and our team of experts are at the ready to bring to your organization!
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