Cloud computing has taken a massive leap over the last decade. The powerful convergence of trends, such as widespread broadband access and an explosion of connected devices and data, has catapulted cloud from just another buzzword to a mainstream technology. The COVID-19 pandemic has acted as a further catalyst for global cloud adoption on the back of new trends, such as telehealth, remote working, video surveillance, crowd management, and online education that require an auto-scalable environment and fast response mechanisms. The spike is expected to continue as Gartner forecasts worldwide public cloud end-user spending to grow by 23% in 2021.
While cloud computing is currently a top priority for almost every organization looking at being future-ready, it is important to be cognizant of the complexities that cloud adoption can bring in the absence of a clear strategy.
The need for a Smart Cloud strategy
To begin with, selecting an appropriate cloud deployment model needs careful planning backed by a strategic roadmap. Deciding whether to go for a single cloud, multi-cloud, or hybrid cloud strategy can trigger questions on security, skills, governance, data sovereignty, compliance, future roadmap, and cost. Organizations need to make a conscious decision to eliminate the possibilities of being locked to a technology platform or deployment where an exit may consume significant time and investment.
In addition, the motivation for cloud adoption remains different for individual organizations within similar industries, depending on their cloud maturity stage.
While most enterprises move to cloud for agility and flexibility in resource utilization, many embrace cloud computing to reduce inefficiencies and fulfill the need for customization in their environment. An increasing number of organizations are in the advanced maturity stage and are leveraging cloud for strategic objectives like driving integrated automation and rapid innovation. And the list doesn’t end here, as cloud has a long list of unique value propositions to offer for every kind of user persona.
Figure 1: Cloud challenges at different stages of maturity
When it comes to cloud adoption, no single approach fits all, as every organization has a unique business and IT environment, roadmap, challenges, and response mechanisms.
Furthermore, innovating on cloud might often be challenging and would need the right expertise. Managing innovations and understanding cloud offerings in technology and commercial spaces could often become a mammoth task. The process of studying, learning, evaluating, and comparing every new offering can cost outweigh the benefits it may bring to an organization. Therefore, a lot of such initiatives either fail to deliver results or are not initiated in the absence of the right skills. Cloud spend wastage has become one of the critical concerns for enterprises as cloud costs continue to rise due to ineffective strategies.
Industry surveys suggest that more than 30% of cloud spend is wasted. A lot of makeshift arrangements may account for it. Additionally, pricing structures for most cloud providers are complex and tricky. Hence, IT leaders must formulate a cohesive and forward-looking cloud strategy to derive business value from cloud investments.
The role of cloud providers has become significant here. Apart from being technology suppliers, they have also taken up the role of business technology partners for their customers. Cloud providers help bring in cutting-edge solutions and a wide range of services across technologies and industry value chains, resulting in a significant impact on an enterprise’s future growth.
Besides cloud providers, the role of integrators is quite vital in this journey. Apart from their technical expertise in varied options across domains, integrators bring years of focused experience to organizations. During the last decade, integrators have driven innovative cloud services with their own IPs, frameworks and best practices for multi-technology integration, cost optimizations, and various cloud deployment architectures. They have understood customer challenges, devised approaches to resolve them, and have consistently nurtured the capabilities to find the right fit for specific use cases across geographies and industry verticals.
Enterprises today want to leverage a strong digital foundation and adapt innovative cloud services driven by intelligent automation and a powerful partner ecosystem to address their specific business objectives.
At HCL, we call this the ‘Cloud Smart’ approach.
Being Cloud Smart starts with forming the right cloud strategy - the most crucial step in the cloud adoption journey. Building the right cloud strategy needs a strong consulting exercise that starts with current landscape analysis, understanding the desired state, and exploring possibilities on the cloud.
Quite often, cloud implementation plan is confused with cloud strategy. Cloud strategy isn’t only about “how” and “what” you move to cloud, but also about “why” and “when” you move. It also includes understanding what shouldn’t be moved to cloud. Additionally, it’s not just about moving to cloud. Instead, cloud strategy involves letting your customers know whether their strategy is agile enough to innovate with the speed cloud providers are evolving. An ideal cloud strategy amalgamates business strategy, data strategy, migration strategy, exit strategy, governance strategy, risk strategy, procurement strategy, and innovation strategy.
At HCL, we have a strong consulting practice offering a gamut of services to help enterprises form the right cloud strategy. Powered by experienced cloud practitioners, global delivery centers, and vast experience of migrating workloads on cloud, HCL promises to accelerate a customer’s digital journey, re-invent customer experience, expand business value, and maximize your cloud value by making your enterprise Cloud Smart.