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Seven habits of highly effective cloud adoption

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Most of the innovative business and technological disruption we’ve seen over the past couple of years have been enabled by the cloud. Even those industries we considered to be rigid to digital transformation are continuing to unlock vast value through this technology development. Cloud-Native, containers, edge, DevSecOps, Service mesh, FinOps, Hybrid and Multi-cloud - the cloud (opens in new tab) has also brought forward and normalized a new wave of enterprise vocabulary.  And the cloud wave is only set to grow with the onset of new wireless communication advances that will further enhance the performance and experience in edge computing, streaming, IIoT, AI and many other consumer, industrial and supply chain solutions across industries.

With the pandemic pushing every enterprise, regardless of size and sector, to accelerate digital transformation, the cloud is providing the necessary, ready-to-use technology and business capabilities that allow for scalable and resilient solutions. According to Gartner, by 2026, public cloud (opens in new tab) spending will exceed 45 percent of all enterprise IT spending compared to less than 17 percent in 2021.  It forecasts end-user spending on public cloud services to reach a record $396 billion in 2021 and grow 21.7 percent to reach $482 billion in 2022.

However, in a rush to move to the cloud, many enterprises still fail to address a number of core issues which lead to a spaghetti of interconnected capabilities, jeopardizing their migration and leaving them with multiple points of potential failure. 

To maximize the benefits of cloud (opens in new tab) tech, address long term technical and business governance challenges, as well as avoid cost overruns and effectively manage technology change, businesses should consider following the “seven habits of highly effective cloud adoption”.

Solve for business: 

New business capabilities delivered at speed with direct impact on business KPIs is the key to success of any cloud adoption. Cloud within the context of business can be realized through optimized supply chain, improved net promoter score (NPS) through a scalable and flexible customer connect platform or by monetization of industrial capabilities transformed to as-a-service model.

Enterprises should identify their business transformation and align cloud capabilities to measurable outcomes realized through improvements in business KPIs. Along with TCO, availability, performance, usage and other IT metrics, it is essential to measure and compare pre and post-cloud adoption impact on business process and related KPIs. They should consider, for example, whether the migration has led to an improvement in revenue, quote to cash cycle times, NPS, new product introduction and productivity, to ensure purposeful cloud adoption.

Solve for future: 

Adapting and adopting to ever-changing business scenarios is also warranting business capabilities to be composable. To be responsive, businesses should ensure future state architecture for any enterprise follows modular, autonomous and orchestrated principles, and adopt micro-frontend, microservices, cloud native, containers, API enabled, event-driven and observable architecture principles.

Solve for data: 

Organizations run on data. While considering the exponential rate at which data is growing, cloud is the only way an enterprise can build a sustainable data platform to solve current and future business needs. Businesses should invest in creating a robust data warehouse, data-lake on cloud, leveraging distributed cloud-native or cloud deployable interoperable data platforms, scalable data ingestion, data security and data virtualization for seamless and secured data storage, processing and connectivity.

Solve for integration:  

With business composability, hybrid cloud, multi-cloud and various cloud-centric architecture patterns, come challenges with integration. To avoid spaghetti architecture, businesses should build a robust federated integration platform with the ability to scale out to address various elements of data integration: service integration, batch integration and B2B integration realized through specialized iPaaS or native integration coupled with API management for governance and security.

Solve for security

Cloud adoption fundamentally moves data outside the security parameters of an organization. As a result, cloud infrastructure needs to be safeguarded through a robust security infrastructure that is agile and can adapt to changes in the threat environment on a real-time basis. Organizations could and should implement automated controls for creating a secured landing zone, data classification policies, encryption and access control for data and applications, integrated SAST and DAST to prevent app and platform vulnerabilities along with cognitive threat models that can predict threats as a risk mitigation measure.

Solve for FinOps: 

With increasing cloud adoption, there is also a shift in the consumption factor: from a centralized mode to business that is facilitated by ready-to-use curated cloud technology. Therefore, usage, if left unchecked, could result in spiraling costs for an organization. By implementing FinOps practices and controls, businesses can ensure financial accountability despite a variable spend model on cloud. As part of FinOps implementation, organizations should implement the right tagging and subscription management practices to track usage and implement chargeback. They should also ensure the continuous monitoring and sizing of resources, and eliminate unused resources, adopt modern architectural patterns like serverless computing and interoperable containers for optimizing cloud spend. 

Solve for ways of working: 

Moving to cloud also marks a major shift to dynamic ways of working as the services, capabilities, environment and platform are continuously evolving. Adopting federated and inclusive ways of working, based on a foundation of everything as code is key for successful cloud adoption. It is good practice to setup a cloud advisory board with representation from business, applications, infrastructure and security to drive strategy for managing subscriptions, organizational talent and capabilities, services lifecycle, agile delivery practices and identifying and tracking the right KPIs. This could be supplemented with a ’cloud center of excellence’ which drives adoption of new architectural patterns and best practices, workload transformation and continuous observability across teams. Last, but not the least, adopting the right level of process and automation across DevSecOps and FinOps for realizing autonomous operations, continuous improvement through SRE model and cost control and accountability with chargeback. 

Covid-19 had a significant impact on cloud adoption in 2020 and continues to be the dominant strategy adopted by organizations across size and sector through 2021. Every organization needs to ensure that it continuously adapts to this changing environment by following these basic seven steps that shall lead to an optimum outcome towards building a sustainable business model of digital era.

Ashish Varerkar, Cloud Practice lead, LTI (opens in new tab)

Ashish Varerkar

Ashish has over 25 years of industry experience across technology, consulting and delivery operations. He currently leads the Cloud Practice at LTI, helping customers across industries leverage the cloud ecosystem.