Gartner predicts that by 2020, a corporate “no-cloud” policy will be as rare as a “no-internet” policy is today, and that by 2021, more than half of global enterprises already using cloud today will adopt an all-in cloud strategy.
That’s fine for the resource-flush larger enterprises, but what about the more cash-constrained midsized market? How can they effectively take advantage of cloud solutions in order to gain a competitive advantage? What hurdles stand in their way? In this discussion, Unitas Global Chief Strategy Officer Francesco Paola addresses cloud adoption for the midsized market.
UGBlog: The transition to the cloud is a challenge for all enterprise businesses. What obstacles are particular to the midsized enterprise when making that transition?
Francesco: Over the course of the last 9 or so years, as long as I’ve been in the cloud space, I’ve seen enterprises large and small try to jump into the deep end of public cloud and fail. It was more challenging early on, with the CSPs not having the level of maturity they have today, although challenges remain. Complexity is one of them. For example, today AWS offers over 50+ cloud services. Most midsized organizations don’t have the skillsets to pick and choose among them, nor prioritize, least of all do they know where to start. They might dip a toe in the water only to find they’re spending more than they meant to, or that it’s more difficult to get an app auto-scaled than they thought.
The second challenge is optimization. Just because you’ve made the leap to cloud doesn’t mean you’ll automatically achieve the touted benefits. Now what? How do you get the most out of your investment? Building the right governance model, one that provides the right level of access, cost transparency, and security is paramount to finding success with public cloud deployments.
The third challenge is change. It’s a vicious spiral for midsized enterprises who don’t have the right cloud skills in house. How do they keep from falling further behind as new services are deployed by cloud providers?
UGBlog: Given their resource constraints, how can midsized enterprise businesses develop a cloud strategy that allows them to be competitive in the market?
Francesco: When it comes to cloud adoption, there’s no one size fits all. Every enterprise has different needs: agility, speed to market, geographic distribution, competitive pressures, scale, increased security to name the more common ones.
What we typically advise customers is to not boil the ocean. That is the most common issue we see with failed cloud adoption initiatives: enterprises try to do too much, for the wrong reasons. Even Gartner has recognized that one of the most common cloud adoption pitfalls is trying to move too quickly and setting unrealistic deadlines.
We advise our clients to start by defining their strategic objectives, address why you want to move to the public cloud – is it speed, scale, security, growth, innovation? What use cases are you solving for? What metrics will measure the success of the initiative? Once these are identified, we recommend investing in a pilot implementation: test the thesis based on your requirements and metrics.
Once success has been measured, leverage the outcome to evangelize the solution to the rest of the organization – there will always be naysayers, those with NIH syndrome, those that believe Public Cloud is a simple substitute for virtual machines (it’s not), those who still believe production systems should run in a steady state.
UGBlog: As midsized enterprises grow, what benefits does the cloud present?
Francesco: The most obvious is the fact that the cloud allows an enterprise to innovate without having to make significant capital investments up front. Public cloud takes that cost and effort away because you can scale based on demand. You can afford to fail and test in public cloud so you can optimize the services you’re delivering to customers distracted by competitive offerings. It gives you the ability to test what you’re doing and measure that against your strategic objectives.
And, speed, speed, speed: you can automate a lot with public cloud and by layering CICD concepts end to end.
UGBlog: How does Unitas Global provide benefits to growing midsized enterprises looking to take advantage of cloud?
Francesco: With technology changing so rapidly, midsized enterprises may not have the resources to keep up, so this is where Unitas can help. We know where mistakes will inevitably be made in the transition, we know how governance needs to be established, we understand how to provide cost transparency, we know how to enable access controls to ensure security.
Furthermore, we help with application portfolio rationalization, so that enterprises don’t make the mistake of trying to move everything to the public cloud. Finally, we’ll manage the deployments —IaaS, PaaS, Applications, Connectivity—so the enterprise can focus on what they do best: innovating for their customers.
Ready to accelerate your cloud journey? Click here for more information on Unitas Global’s cloud adoption offerings.