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Optimize Your Cloud Strategy to Modernize Your Business

In Software & Cloud Economics, Thought Leadership

Your Cloud Journey (migration or scale-up) can be viewed through a number of lenses.

  • There is the financial lens – where cloud can be viewed as the means to drive down costs.

  • There is the business lens – where cloud can help you be more agile and responsive to ever changing customers’ needs and market movements.

  • And there is the strategic lens, where cloud is the foundation or platform that enables continuous business transformation.

 

One can certainly look through one lens at a time. But the picture becomes clearer when you look at cloud and what it can do for your business through all the lens stacked like the Phoropter used for your last eye exam!

 

Cost certainly plays into the calculus of moving to or scaling on the cloud. But it may not be obvious as to how it plays. Certainly, the case can be made to lift-and-shift workloads to the cloud, but in a highly virtualized on-prem environment, the economics to move to cloud may not be what you would expect.

 

And if you simply lift-and-shift, you may actually see costs go up due to over-provisioning.

 

Then there are the licensing costs of software to consider. We have seen software vendors wield their market power to drive up software costs for decades. Consider the mainframe where a single vendor-controlled hardware, operation system, application, and even costs of professional services. That in-turn evolved to a more equitable eco-system where ISVs (Independent software vendors) and Integrators offered some much-needed choice.

 

Then we saw PC, Mini, and Network computing, evolving in a similar pattern. The Internet changed all that, ushering in cloud, open computing, and community development. Now organizations had a great deal more choice and flexibility.

 

As you consider the costs of cloud computing, ask yourself this series of questions:

  • What are we paying for on-prem software today?

  • How can we optimize software costs, leveraging the ever-changing programs of enterprise software vendors?

  • What are we paying for our proprietary database licensing costs today and can we find a path to modernize onto a modern open cloud database infrastructure or managed service?

  • If you’ve already made the move to cloud – Do we have the optimal cloud architecture in place to support the demands of the business now and into the future?

 

 

With the business lens in place, you can review and assess how well cloud is supporting your business. Business is quickening. Regardless of where you are geographically and what business you are in, this is accepted universally. And how well IT responds to the business can determine how IT is perceived within the business. IT can be viewed as a deterrent or as a catalyst for innovation.

 

In the case of the former, it can be a result of an ever-increasing backlog of applications; a lack of modern skills; a rigid, monolithic, brittle infrastructure; a lack of people; etc. In this case, business units and departments may opt to go down the SaaS route, embrace nascent low-code solutions enabling citizen developers, and more broadly accelerate the move to shadow IT.

 

Instead, IT can be viewed as the catalyst of innovation by building an IT and cloud architecture that is designed for change; moving aggressively to containerization to support CI/CD and agile development; moving to serverless to take advantage of the performance and cost benefits provided; cost effectively brining in or expanding the use of AI/ML; proactively offering the business new advances in cloud services and new offerings that can make the previously impossible, now possible.

 

Finally, the strategic lens. Here advances in Design Thinking can help an organization chart the path of what and how to migrate and modernize elements of the existing IT estate to the cloud. If you are not familiar with Design Thinking, here is a quick overview borrowing from the Interaction Design Foundation[1]:

 

  • Empathis(z)e – with your users

  • Define – your users’ needs, their problem, and your insights

  • Ideate – by challenging assumptions and creating ideas for innovative solutions

  • Prototype – to start creating solutions

  • Test – solutions

 

As you review and assess your existing IT estate – how well are applications and systems addressing the needs of the users – be those external customers, partners, or employees? Migrating and modernizing applications onto cloud offers IT great flexibility to adopt a Design Thinking mindset that will be more responsive to the business.

 

When you align Design Thinking with cloud computing, you can quickly see how it can work  and the potential.

 

  • Empathis(z)eIT can transform to become a business enabler, connecting with Line-of-Business (LOB) to understand challenges with existing application and systems, and the technology needs of LOB moving forward.

  • DefineIT can lead the process of taking output from the Empathize phase, synthesize it with their deep understanding of technology and collaborate with LOB to shape the problem statements, personas, and needs.

  • IdeateIT and LOB working together can formulate options for thinking outside of the box in order to address the problem statements coming out of the Define phase.

  • PrototypeThis is where cloud can really shine! Given the intrinsic characteristics of cloud computing – elasticity, scale, metered service, on-demand, self-service – it is an environment tailormade for iterative prototyping.

  • TestAlthough this is the final phase of the Design Thinking approach, this phase is where we can test different approaches to addressing the problem. Output can take us back to other phases in-order to refine the approach and work through the process in an agile-development-like approach. Again – cloud is ideal to do A/B/… testing of solutions without incurring high costs or expending great amounts of time!

 

Each year Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are delivering new services and solutions to leapfrog the other competitors. That means that your IT team will have an ever-expanding palate of cloud services to offer the business in order to drive innovation.

 

The challenge is to stay in step with the innovation coming out of the hyperscale providers, to be able to understand and assess the innovations, and select the ones that will be most impactful to your company as you progress on your cloud journey.

 

Having an objective proven technology partner, versant in all the major cloud providers and the innovation they are delivering, and aligning that innovation with your strategy viewed through the 3 lenses above, and Design Thinking becomes invaluable in your cloud journey! 

 

We’ll help you understand the work required to move your applications to the cloud, and the cost savings in licenses that you can achieve

 

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