Whole Picture. Whole Potential. A Whole New Look At The Cloud

Demands to sustain and simultaneously grow the business, inevitably coexist in the enterprise. This challenges enterprises to be more agile, and more innovative. Increasingly, businesses are turning to digital to help them launch new business models, drive new products to market, and improve their business user experience, while seeking to do it all by renewing their IT landscapes to be more efficient, responsive, and highly secure. The cloud has come a long way in its ability to be that precise change agent in the enterprise’s digital transformation journey.

Cloud, together with other purpose fit technologies like IoT, big data, digital currencies and blockchain, is making it easier for business and IT to become more insightful, agile and responsive to customers. In fact, this has become so much easier now, that practically anyone can ‘turn on’ a new cloud-based service independently and with little assistance from IT. And yet, this very jumping on the cloud bandwagon with point services could, at times, prove counterproductive; especially if it leads to the establishment of IT silos and ‘shadow IT’ situations that could increase security and compliance-related risks for organizations.

Looking at the cloud simply as a solution for individual problems, without taking into account the larger context, will not unlock its true potential. This is, perhaps, the single most important message that early adopters of the cloud have to share. And, they all concur when they recommend that to truly exploit all that the cloud offers to the enterprise, businesses should look at the ‘whole picture’ to leverage the ‘whole potential’.

So, what exactly is this whole picture?

Knowing what it takes to get there

Firstly, enterprises should have a clear understanding of what their current IT landscape looks like. This must be complemented by a clear vision for the future state. Once these two elements are in place, it paves the path to determine next steps like, how to choose between providers and services, how to migrate, how to secure, how to mitigate risks, and how to operate effectively and efficiently in the world of the hybrid cloud. In addition, it also helps to find ways to continuously optimize adoption and manage costs.

Effective management - with the relevant tools and processes - as foundation

The agility that the cloud ushers in demands that enterprise IT be well prepared with new tools, processes and management techniques. Setting up a Managed Cloud Platform will ensure that enterprises have access on-demand services through a ‘marketplace’ controlled with user profile-based access. The platform must contain tools, processes and cognitive intelligence for leveraging and managing IaaS, PaaS, containers, middleware, single sign-on, cloud security, cloud integration, cloud testing, cloud DevOps, and cloud service assurance. The platform should also seamlessly integrate both private and public clouds for a truly hybrid cloud experience.

A watchful eye on the economics of it all

‘As a Service’ consumption can leave your economics wide-open to uncertainty. That’s why, consumption patterns and user behavior needs to be tightly monitored and controlled through user, application, and performance-centric polices. Another key aspect to monitor relates to the conversion of CAPEX to OPEX or vice versa. This requires deep analysis of flexible spending models.

Understanding organization change management

Workforce upskilling, change management and governance initiatives have significant roles to play too. It is important to setup a ‘business liaison office’ in some form, to ensure both IT and business stakeholders are abreast of the cloud-related changes. Getting business involved in the journey as early as possible is key to the program’s success. Developing a comprehensive strategy for adoption that not only takes into consideration business and organizational priorities, but also the challenges arising from the new world, its constraints and risks, is important to ensure its long-term viability and success.

This idea of consciously focusing on the ‘whole picture’ of the enterprise cloud journey, reminds me of the picture of the earth that the crew of the Apollo 17 took in 1972. That picture, popularly referred to us as the blue marble is widely published thereon, and quickly caught the public imagination. Ordinary people had never seen as clear an image of the whole earth before. And it stirred them. Suddenly there was a pervasive, wide-spread awareness and sensitivity about the fragility of our lone planet in the vastness of space. And an overriding consciousness to protect its unique ecosystem.

Similarly, I strongly believe that providing a picture of the whole enterprise cloud, will not only create a positive shift in the perspective of stakeholders who embrace it, but also unleash the true potential of the cloud for everyone leveraging it. What discoveries of value might that lead to? What new possibilities will that unlock? What new collaborations will that inspire?

My team has guided several businesses, like yours, through this exact uncovering. Perhaps, we too should talk.