Confidence in cloud computing is on the up. In fact, analyst firm IDC estimates that by 2020, the majority (60 per cent) of all IT expenditure will be cloud-based and that this figure is only set to increase in the years ahead. Cloud-based services are now mainstream and are a key component underpinning digital transformation, enabling businesses to revolutionise how they use technology, people and processes to become more efficient and effective. Failure to embrace cloud could result in businesses being left behind.
However, it is not only a failure to embrace cloud that could be potentially damaging to enterprises. Adopting a model that is not appropriate for your business, and one that does not meet your businesses requirements and objectives could be just as costly. Naturally, every business has individual requirements, thus when it comes to cloud, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Assessing your options
Businesses today are spoilt for choice when it comes to their cloud options, so finding a cloud solution that fits your businesses objectives could prove to be difficult. It is imperative that before companies launch their digital transformation initiatives, they understand the different cloud services and how to leverage them.
There are public clouds, private clouds, and hybrid clouds; while there are cloud providers that range from the largest telcos down to the smallest hosts, all delivering a variety of managed services, but ultimately, the cloud infrastructures themselves aren’t very differentiated. They are all built using the same (or similar) hardware and software, and by accessing the same (or similar) public cloud vendors.
So, what are the main differentiators? And how should businesses choose the right partner to trust to work with? The key differentiators are how the technology is integrated, how it is managed, and the service levels it supports. It is about understanding what the right processes are – what ones to retain, what to introduce, how to incorporate compliance and how to manage, analyse and report for better control and better insight.
The solution? Hybrid-IT
For most established businesses, a hybrid IT environment will likely end up being the best solution. With restrictions related to legacy technologies, data sovereignty, and regulatory conditions, existing hardware and software (and IT resources) will remain viable sourcing options. However, they may not be able to meet the demands and the emerging technical requirements for business agility and digital transformation, thus hybrid IT solutions become strong alternatives.
Hybrid-IT solutions offer the best of both worlds. They give businesses the ability to mix their in-house technology assets with third-party solutions such as colocation, managed hosting, and cloud to create the optimum IT infrastructure for their business’ needs. Done right, hybrid IT can meet the disruptive challenges of today’s digital transformation and can make technology a true differentiator in the digital economy of tomorrow.
And it would appear, businesses are wising up to the benefits of hybrid IT solutions. While expenditure on traditional IT is going down, expenditure on both public and private cloud technologies is increasing, emphasising enterprises shift towards hybrid.
Why cloud; why now?
Cloud has emerged as a platform that can unshackle IT from the manual efforts, processes, and procedures of traditional legacy environments. It does this by creating highly secure, highly automated and highly agile hybrid environments designed for IT ease, management, and accountability. Don’t get us wrong, the replacement of manual processes will still leave critical IT governance processes in place; but cloud is about eliminating meaningless repetitive tasks while embracing the efficiencies of automation so that IT can better support the business.
The cloud promise is realised through infrastructure, security, collaboration, automation, self-service, and highly secure applications. Multiple clouds can offer multiple advantages and the ability to connect those clouds so that each business can design the ultimate environment to operate within has enabled IT to shift roles in an organisation where business strategy becomes the dominant IT skill.
The right cloud solution can lead to gains in:
- Reduce Risk
- Improvements in both IT efficiency and effectiveness
- Enable digital transformation
Cloud has emerged as a platform that can unshackle IT from the manual efforts, according to the latest research from IDC, public cloud will total $277 billion USD by 2021, a five-year CAGR of 21.9 per cent. This includes SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, plus all the professional and managed services around cloud technology (both public and private), as well as the supporting software and hardware to make cloud implementations happen.
Choosing the right partner?
The evolutionary nature of multi-clouds can be challenging to keep pace with and requires a commitment to enhancing skills, which can be done through training or leveraging the expertise of cloud partners. However, selling the idea of cloud and ultimately, digital transformation, may also involve getting leadership on board with the idea of working with a service provider.
One of the most effective approaches to cloud adoption and navigating your journey through the cloud is to bring a technology partner on-board, who understands the requirements of the business, the industry landscape and the need for cost-effective technologies. The idea behind this is to work with the IT teams within businesses, to enable access to the correct expertise and experience to put the best possible solution in place.
Without a doubt, employing cloud-based services and cloud-native applications can play a critical role in any digital transformation. But, when it comes to cloud, it really is all about the journey, as on-boarding cloud technology is not a one-stop quick fix solution to successful digital transformation. By ensuring the right people, process and technologies are in place, enables businesses to navigate the complex journey to the cloud.
Tom Adams, Director of Product Marketing, Cogeco Peer 1 (opens in new tab)
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