Cloud is at the center of every organisation’s digital transformation journey, even more so in the pandemic-disrupted business environment, also widely known as the ‘new normal’. While most organisations have adopted cloud in some form before the pandemic, the trend has been accelerated on a much larger scale in recent times. However, the business outcomes from cloud deployments often vary for different organisations. At the same time, some organisations may not even get the desired benefits — or even negative outcomes — from the cloud. This leads us to one of the most burning questions for IT and business leaders — How can one technology yield different results or no results for different organisations?
To find an answer to this, organisations need to deliberate on the following two questions:
Only when these fundamental questions are addressed, and the myths around cloud are busted, it can be realised that cloud as a technology is not an issue. Instead, it’s the way organisations approach and deploy the technology that defines the business outcomes. Thanks to all the hype around cloud, organisations often have much higher expectations from cloud. However, like every other technology, cloud is meant to address business-specific challenges; it is not a single solution for all enterprise IT needs. This realisation holds even greater emphasis as businesses today operate in a highly dynamic environment.
Let’s discuss what organisations need to ensure to get the best out of their cloud deployments.
Clearly define business objectives:
Before even considering cloud, the first step starts by defining the business objectives to be achieved. Once the outcomes are clear, the next step involves exploring cloud use cases and determining if they can help achieve the desired outcomes. Well-defined objectives coupled with the right use case will help you measure success and lay a clear roadmap.
Identify what needs to go on the cloud:
Identifying the right workloads to run on the cloud is crucial for achieving the best performance. While some applications might be ready to migrate to the cloud, some applications could need modernisation, whereas some applications could also require replacement. However, not all applications need cloud migration. Assess your application portfolio and identify mission-critical, business-critical, customer-facing, and non-critical applications. Key considerations include response time, latency, downtime for each workload.
Unlike born-in-the-cloud companies, traditional organisations have legacy infrastructure, wherein a lot of investment has been made over the years. This infrastructure could still be utilised for many business applications. In a nutshell, getting the best out of your legacy infrastructure and combining the use of cloud is the key to successful digital transformation.
Systematic deployment of cloud is critical:
Once the applications have been identified, the next crucial step is approaching cloud deployment the right way, in a structured manner. Prioritisation of applications to be moved first is the next important step. This is followed by understanding architectural requirements. Data centers have been the core of enterprise IT infrastructure and continue to remain so, and most organisations have an existing data center-centric network architecture. In such scenarios, a lift-and-shift approach leads to inefficiencies on various fronts and increased costs. Re-architecting network and security is imperative for a well-planned transition, especially in an era of distributed workforce wherein data and applications are accessed from remote locations through endpoints and networks that IT teams have little or no control over.
Securing your cloud environment:
Security is generally cited as an area of concern in boardrooms discussions on cloud adoption. Whether an organisation is part of a highly regulated industry or not, no business can afford a cyberattack in today’s digital economy and security evaluation becomes paramount in any cloud project. In the cloud era, security is a joint responsibility of customers and cloud services providers. While evaluating cloud services providers, some of the key considerations include identity and access management, automated threat detection tools, backup and disaster recovery.
Deployment is not enough; cloud management is crucial:
Your organisation has successfully deployed cloud, but what next? It is essential to keep the cloud environment running seamlessly at all times. In traditional organisations where IT teams used to manage everything on-premise, lack of cloud-native skillsets can lead to manageability and operational complexities, thereby impacting performance. Furthermore, in a business environment that’s defined by customer experience and innovation, monitoring and managing cloud infrastructure can affect your IT team’s focus on applications and innovation. Having the right cloud service provider with complete skillsets and management capabilities can ensure seamless operations and relieve your IT teams from cumbersome tasks, especially in a multi-cloud hybrid environment.
According to IDC, more than 60 percent of Indian organisations plan to leverage the cloud for digital innovation in the pandemic-disrupted era. As a result, India’s public cloud services market is expected to be worth USD 7.1 billion by 2024. But while organisations turn to promising technologies to enhance business outcomes, the key is to carefully identify business needs, constraints, and objectives. With this, coupled with elaborate planning and a tailored approach, businesses can get their cloud deployment right and achieve optimum results.