Driven by innovation, the ‘digital age’ is by its very nature in constant flux. New technologies are emerging and evolving all the time, and are being combined together to unleash the potential for even more intelligent and more efficient ways of working. To optimally adapt to these changes, today’s decision-makers must stay open-minded about altering their business strategies to keep pace with the latest methods for smarter working, better ROI, an improved customer experience and greater employee efficiency. This need for adaptation is illustrated particularly starkly by the advances organizations can make by reconsidering the cloud strategy.
Connecting the front and back end through a multi-cloud vision
Times are changing, and so too is technology. The adoption of redefined cloud strategies can have an enormous impact on creating a real-time two-way dialog between the customer and the company, while also driving intelligent decision-making based on up-to-the-minute data insights to boost the accomplishment of both internal and external goals. My previous blogs have discussed how IT has transformed itself from a simple service provider into a trusted business partner, thus opening new doors. IT has created a solid foundation, enabling the benefits of these new technologies to be combined in order to establish new ways of connecting people – not only customers with companies, but also colleagues with each other, thus breaking down departmental silos to generate a single corporate vision based upon a common goal. In today’s market, a multi-cloud strategy is an essential tool for connecting these dots.
Let’s pause to reflect on the adoption of the cloud over time. At first it was an attractive alternative, with cloud-compute resources freely available on demand, metered and easily charged back to the departments using them. Therefore, many departments embraced it, both inside and outside IT. All of this led to what we called a ‘cloud-first’ approach. But since then, the IT landscape has changed; multiple workloads are now on multiple clouds, privacy regulations have tightened due to Europe’s GDPR, and new and innovative technologies enable us to exploit even more efficiencies – but only if the C-suite can agree on a strategy.
Adopting a cloud strategy that combines hybrid and multi-cloud potential has the power to offer organizations multiple advantages, such as designating the optimum cloud solution for each workload, ensuring data security and making regulatory compliance easier. Furthermore, distributing data across both hybrid and multi-cloud setups increases the ability of organizations to share, back up and protect their information across multiple sites.
The modern CIO must have the vision to recognize that a solid, well-designed multi-cloud infrastructure provides the necessary flexibility to drive change, reach customers in new and unexpected ways, and help employees and departments to share information seamlessly – from edge to core to cloud. In other words, the potential of IT is no longer hidden away at the back end. It is now up front and central to a smart business model within any company looking to enhance the customer experience and improve collaboration – and that is why IT should be high up on every C-suite member’s agenda. Today’s businesses are recognizing the advantages to be gained from shifting their data to where it does the most good, and a solid multi-cloud strategy is the catalyst for this change.
Changing times, changing strategies
To get a clearer picture of the current needs of today’s companies, we commissioned ESG to conduct a Cloud Economics Research study to see where the market is heading. The research – among over 200 organizations throughout the UK, Germany and France – was aimed at determining the extent to which public-cloud cost benefits are being realized and whether organizations are considering the repatriation of workloads.
As expected, we found that cloud strategies have evolved in line with the demands placed upon changing IT structures over time due to the increased burden of the needs of emerging technologies. While there was considerable interest in the public cloud in 2014, that trend is now leveling off and shifting back towards a more hybrid approach. Every customer is now in multi-cloud mode. We have moved past the cloud-first wave, with repatriation happening at a faster rate in EMEA than in North America due to the influence of GDPR and the increased emphasis placed on data sovereignty. The ESG survey findings include:
- The majority (54%) of public cloud users say some (51% on average) cloud-resident workloads cost more than they did to run on-premise
- The majority (58%) of public cloud users say some (54% on average) cloud-resident workloads cost more than expected
- The majority (56%) of public cloud users expect to repatriate cloud-resident workloads (typically 25%-50%) in the next 12 months
- 50% of respondents have a significant hybrid cloud management problem, outnumbering those without challenges by more than 6:1
- Environments becoming more complex outnumber those becoming simpler by 7:1
Customizing cloud models for maximum impact
Just as every organization must have its own specific business model, each company’s cloud strategy must match the needs of its specific workload. History has taught us that, for maximum results, the C-suite members need to think of cloud strategies as an ever-evolving model rather than a simple one-off solution. Today’s most successful organizations are on a multi-cloud journey which comprises both a hybrid cloud path and a native cloud path existing simultaneously, each offering its own set of benefits and rewards. An on-premises solution is considered to have the upper hand in risk and monitoring, while off-premises solutions boast advantages in terms of manageability, ease of procurement and cost. For this reason, every company must decide where its priorities lie and design a cloud strategy to best suit its needs for connecting a multi-cloud approach to the front end.
Taking control of your multi-cloud environment opens up vast possibilities for improving your business model, including:
- Lowering TCO with cloud economics
- Increasing business agility
- Accelerating time to market
- Reducing business risk
The adoption of redefined cloud strategies can have an enormous impact on enhancing the customer experience and driving intelligent decision-making based on real-time data insights to boost the accomplishment of both internal and external goals. Today’s decision-makers need to keep in mind that a cloud strategy is about more than simply where to place applications and servers; cloud solutions connect organizations with their partners, their customers and their own employees to allow tomorrow’s innovations to thrive.