An article that appeared on Fortune.com grabbed my attention recently – “Big Companies Want to Move to the Cloud But Still Have No Idea How”.
I admit, articles are written with headline-grabbing titles to draw readers, but the reality is that we do actually see this with our customers on a regular basis. Despite the massive growth and awareness of Cloud, a lot of companies are still struggling to make it work for their businesses.
So if Cloud has so much promise for business, why is there still a struggle in adoption?
I’m going to propose two observations from the numerous interactions I have with our customers senior stakeholders, where some struggle to start adopting Cloud.
The first observation is that they’re not doing enough planning prior to embarking on adopting Cloud. This usually stems from a failure to do due diligence on the application portfolio within their business. We’ve seen some customers move their first workload, such as their critical business systems, to a Public Cloud provider and suffering the consequences in the event of an outage. They start with critical systems, and because they fail to plan, they don’t consider critical elements such as availability and security. Just because you have the ability to distribute data and applications across different Public Cloud providers or data centre locations doesn’t mean that’s a great idea for your business. We see customers absolve the responsibility for availability to their Cloud provider and rely on them for their uptime. They transition their applications to the Cloud without a resilience plan. They are under the mistaken assumption that large vendor Public Cloud services don’t fail.
The second observation is that companies do a great job of their planning, but then hesitate too long before transitioning. If you’ve done the work in planning and understand your application portfolio, get after those early high value transition opportunities to demonstrate business value. Once you have done your due diligence, move your applications, unlock the benefits and then look at advanced opportunities to unlock further business value. It’s also very important to persist with your transition. Migration fatigue is a real challenge within organisations, but there must be commitment to push through this and ensure that the original plans are followed.
These two observations, based on real world customer scenarios, may seem disconnected, however I urge you to read the original article to understand my perspective. As always though, the reality is a little more complicated than these two views initially make out.
In our experience and long history with Cloud strategies and implementation, we have recently started to see organisations shift into one of three broad descriptions when it comes to Cloud:
When you look closely at these three organisation profiles and their underlying challenges, you can begin to see how the opposing points of view from the Fortune article start to make sense. Different groups at different stages of their Cloud pathway will have different reasons for their apparent “…. Still Have No Idea How” moments.
Ultimately though, it doesn’t really matter which group your organisation finds itself in, there are clear pathways that can be followed with the help of an experienced partner such as Data#3.
According to research by McKinsey, the key to success for all groups actually lies outside of the technology choices. In their view, “..investment in organisational capabilities—rather than technology choices—is what truly sets [Cloud] leaders apart.”
Which brings us back to the original article. It’s important to plan. Get a handle on the organisational capabilities and application/workload portfolio and build an application or service centric plan for transition. Identify optimisation opportunities based on the value of the data the application stores to unlock business value. The mechanics of shifting applications or services to Cloud isn’t the main game, and is only a short point in time exercise. Investing time to optimise is where the value is unlocked. By choosing the option that aligns to your current situation as I outlined above, you’ll be on the right path.
If you want more information on how you can prepare for your cloud transition, download our recent white paper “Rescuing Hybrid Cloud from disillusionment”.