Cloud is the urgent business imperative: how to maximize its value

The smarter route to maximizing value

Everyone knows the cloud is the place to be

It has offered greater flexibility, more agility and new opportunities for innovation. No surprise, then, that more than 90 percent of today’s enterprises have adopted cloud in some form.

So what’s the challenge?

Many enterprise efforts to adopt and scale to cloud have slowed or stalled. Some organizations got stuck in an experimental mindset without a sense of where their cloud journey was headed. Others struggled to make a clear business case for scaling up their use of cloud.

The result?

Most enterprises have, on average, only about 20-40 percent of their workloads in the cloud, most of which are the easier, less complex ones. And nearly two-thirds have said they haven’t achieved the results expected of their cloud initiatives to date.

On top of these concerns, COVID-19 has created an unprecedented wake-up call. Organizations everywhere have had a very powerful and direct reminder of the importance of systems resilience, agility, adaptability and scalability.

Migrate and scale up

Cloud is not new. Yet most enterprises have still only dabbled in it. For a range of different reasons—technology, security, complexity, legacy, data sovereignty, human psychology—many workloads remain in on-premise data centers. Unless you migrate the majority of your workloads to the cloud, you will not be able to realize the full business value, including making your business more efficient, resilient, and customer focused.

Get the most from hyperscalers

Most enterprises will choose to work with at least one of the public cloud hyperscalers, such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Alibaba or Google Cloud. They’ll look to leverage these providers’ global scale, deep expertise, and numerous cloud services.

Getting the most out of a hyperscaler is about committing to a partnership. Enterprises are investing in a relationship that will last years into the future. What’s more, hyperscalers will often be willing to put their own money on the table to kick-start that relationship. This can be a critical boost to a digital transformation, especially where financing is an issue. But it’s important not to fixate on cost alone. The enterprise also needs to carefully consider the support it will get from the hyperscaler around innovation, digital transformation and engineering.

Modernize and accelerate

Just getting to cloud doesn’t make you a cloud-native enterprise. To do that, you need to modernize, building applications and services specifically for a cloud environment.

Your business needs an IT capability with speed and agility, that can support accelerated cycles of product release. You need faster, more efficient and cost effective applications refactored (recoded) for the cloud. You need to be able to swap different components in and out with zero disruption, by abstracting the underlying infrastructure and platform. You need to think holistically about the flow of data across your systems. And you need to adopt new technologies as customer need dictates.

Becoming cloud native is like learning a new language for enterprise IT. If you want to speak cloud, you need to immerse yourself in it. There’s no escaping the fact that this can be a substantial undertaking for global organizations with large legacy estates.

The reality is, for complex mission-critical applications with many interdependencies, modernization can’t happen overnight. It requires a strong architecture upfront. Failing to design one can render services from the hyperscalers ineffective and undermine the expected value.

That’s why modernization needs to be a carefully considered, long-term process that’s based on a solid application discovery assessment. The strategy needs to take into account where the organization is headed—and why—while building in enough flexibility to adapt over time.

Run and optimize

Operating your IT estate is fundamentally different in the cloud. The traditional model of managing capacity by purchasing and running physical hardware doesn’t work. Instead, you must continuously manage consumption, capacity, performance, and crucially—cost. It requires a very different skillset as well as new operational functions.

This is where many cloud journeys falter. If you’re not constantly monitoring and optimizing capacity, especially with legacy applications, as well as leveraging the right or latest services from the cloud providers to maximize the performance/value ratio and sustainability, you quickly find costs and waste escalating. You’ve got to be proactive. You need people who don’t just react to spikes in consumption, but understand and anticipate why they’re happening and how they impact IT’s carbon footprint. Further, they need to know what business processes are involved, how critical they are and how they all fit together.

The skills issue goes wider still. Management in the cloud is largely a software exercise in which teams write code to monitor and fix the estate. What’s more, most enterprises today will be managing a multi-cloud environment, and including a mix of SaaS, PaaS, private cloud and on-premises solutions. This undoubtedly brings extra complexity to management and optimization, requiring both a holistic understanding of the estate and deep skills in the various platforms being used.

Innovate and grow

Cloud is the mother of business reinvention. It enables experimentation at speed. It lets you spin up new environments instantly, try out several ideas at once, and see what’s working quickly and securely. It’s about iterating faster, testing out prototypes on demand and getting real-time information on which to base your business decisions.

Cloud is also a catalyst for business reinvention with the strategic use of data, advanced analytics and AI.

It’s about leveraging data at scale and unlocking its value with applied intelligence. It’s about improving data quality and its more efficient use which in turn conserves energy. It’s about the combinatory potential of advanced technologies like machine learning and the vast numbers of future edge devices connected to the Internet of Things. It’s about scalable compute power to support increasingly sophisticated AI models. And it’s about working more closely with suppliers and partners, sharing data securely to streamline and accelerate supply chains or enabling new business models.

Access to an ecosystem of partners can be an innovation game-changer. Through collaboration with partners, you can gain access to cutting-edge technology.

With the speed provided by the cloud, and by working with cloud hyperscalers and other service providers, enterprises can shift their focus away from the “keep the lights on” operations that currently take up so much of their teams’ attention. People and funds can be freed up to focus on how systems can adapt to what the business and its customers will need next. When it all comes together, the results can be significant.

Rise above and beyond

Cloud has proven its centrality to resilient, sustainable enterprise operations and future competitive advantage. If you’re not substantially on the cloud, you can’t hope to unlock the capabilities a modern business requires—greater flexibility, more agility and new opportunities for innovation. Enterprises that continue to delay a shift to cloud at scale aren’t just incurring an opportunity cost, they’re risking their very survival.

Maximize the cloud’s benefit to the business.

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About Plow Networks

Headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee in 2012, the founders of Plow Networks came together over a shared vision of offering businesses a unique and best-in-class experience by providing them with a single partner for all of their technology needs.

Businesses are looking for simplicity and a partner they can trust. Plow Networks gives its clients confidence and peace of mind by analyzing their business needs and recommending solutions that Plow Networks can architect, implement, support, and operate; so businesses can focus on growing and achieving their goals. As a result, Plow Networks is now a leading Total Service Provider (TSP) in the IT industry.


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