Thoughts on Clouds:
Recent conversations with a number of my customers have taken on a similar tone as of late: “how can we get to the cloud?”
Many a marketing dollar has been spent over the last five years on planting this question into the minds of organizations around the world. From “Next Gen Stats” ads running during NFL games, to “Digital Transformation” spots running just before showtime at the local cinema, the cloud is waiting, ready to transform your business.
And it is… if approached correctly. I work every day with organizations that are heavily invested in on-premises data centers, that have departments and teams with years of experience and proficiency with well-established toolsets. Many of these teams know that there are products and services offered by various public cloud providers that can enhance their business, but often struggle with where to start. It may just be the old english major in me, but in these situations I find myself asking the same questions to customers, a journalism outline of sorts, to help IT departments and application teams find their footing.
WHAT – What are they key applications or workloads within your organization that are driving meaningful value? This doesn’t necessarily mean driving revenue, but what applications are essential for your organization to function? How can those applications be modernized, improved, or better implemented if migrated to, or re-written for, a public cloud model? Would leveraging services provided by a public cloud provider lead to additional revenue for your organization? Which workloads or applications are worth the investment, in both time and money, to be migrated and tuned for operation in a public cloud model?
WHY – Can these targeted applications and workloads be modernized, but still run in your on-premises (and likely less costly) data centers? Why are the services offered by public cloud providers a better fit than tools or services that can be run on-prem? To what degree? Is public cloud a good fit, or the best fit?
WHERE – Not all public cloud providers are created equal, and the success or failure of a modern application initiative can often hinge upon choosing the provider that will enable your application or workload to drive the most added value. Organizations that have successfully moved to the public cloud understand the differences between the major providers, and also understand that the best choice for “application a” may not be the best choice for “application b”. This multi-cloud approach enables IT departments and application teams to make value-based judgements on a workload-by-workload basis, which in turn maximizes the value delivered back to the organization.
Leaving the friendly confines of an on-prem data center can be an intimidating thought, but doing so in a deliberate and structured fashion can really drive meaningful business outcomes for your organization. Do your research, explore the offerings that are available to your organization, and most importantly, align your initiatives with meaningful business outcomes. Don’t do “IT for IT’s sake”.
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