In recent years, there are very few organisations across the globe that haven’t started a cloud journey in one form or another. Whether it’s transferring their entire core infrastructure over to multiple Cloud Service Providers (CSPs), or just simplifying a limited number of processes using simple SaaS tools, cloud plays an important role in both the present and the digital future for nearly all businesses.
Those of us in the network infrastructure industry have witnessed digital transformation and the associated cloud journey for many types of businesses. What is striking is just how similar many of the journeys to the cloud have been.
Generally speaking, companies have tested the water using SaaS solutions, enabled specific projects in IaaS and PaaS environments, and then widely adopted broader cloud offerings from the major CSPs, before eventually moving towards a multicloud model – all at a similar pace.
However, what is even more intriguing than the trend itself, are the outliers. Not every region or industry has moved at the same pace, with one of the most interesting outliers being the Nordics. This is a region we tend to think of as broadly being on the bleeding edge of technology adoption, but is this the case with cloud adoption?
IDC and Megaport took a deeper look into this in a survey that explores the state of cloud and multicloud adoption in Nordic countries. The results provide great insight into where Nordic organisations sit on IDC’s cloud maturity scale, and how much cloud adoption should advance and change over the next few years.
Cloud adoption and the multicloud IT landscape
Cloud adoption has been slow to gather momentum in the Nordic region relative to other technology hubs. This has mostly been down to well-optimised on-premises infrastructures allowing organisations to operate effectively without making the transition. Many businesses simply weren’t dealing with the performance and productivity issues being faced by organisations with older or poorly optimised systems, meaning they simply didn’t have to move to the cloud.
However, prompted by cost, the need for agility, and innovation drivers, many have now finally taken that step, and IDC is predicting that 51 per cent of Nordic organisations will reach the analyst’s highest level of cloud maturity by 2021. When a business reaches this stage – described as ‘optimised’ – it will have a fully operational and proactively managed cloud strategy that’s making an observable impact on its performance.
With initial cloud adoptions complete and reaching maturity, the natural next step for many will be exploring multicloud strategies – a shift that the survey results also indicate.
The survey showed that 85 per cent of Nordic organisations currently use more than one SaaS solution, while 70 per cent are using multiple IaaS solutions. As organisations continue to diversify their cloud portfolio, using multiple service providers will become the new norm. Many will want to introduce solutions from different vendors to create the right mix of technical capabilities – and that raises questions around the flexibility of their networks and connectivity.
Staying ahead of the connectivity curve
Network strategies are a crucial component of enabling robust, reliable connectivity between different services and vendors – and they can be overlooked in digital transformation plans.
Around 40 per cent of the organisations surveyed have already defined or considered a network strategy – but that still leaves well over half of Nordic businesses that have yet to think about how connectivity factors into their overall digital strategy.
Connecting to cloud services via traditional point-to-point circuits is protracted and cumbersome, and internet connections do not offer secure, predictable performance. All of these methods add major management burdens when organisations bring in multiple cloud vendors. If IT functions want to be able to pick and choose individual solutions from different providers, they’ll need to do a lot of management work internally to ensure everything’s working together, and likely have to invest a lot of additional capital for the privilege.
Further complicating the issue, internet connectivity – currently, the most popular way to connect to cloud services among Nordic organisations – simply won’t provide the security and latency profile to support the high-performance levels many applications require.
To limit issues like inconsistent internet routing and ensure a seamless process when combining services from different providers, organisations should consider dedicated software-defined networking solutions instead. That way, they can bring in as many individual solutions and services as they like without worrying about the extra coordination work that could be involved.
What’s the key to a multicloud future?
As Nordic IT leaders define their network strategies and reach higher stages of cloud maturity, agile, vendor-agnostic connectivity will be the key to enabling the same success they saw with their on-premises infrastructures in previous years.
The importance of carefully considering how connectivity factors into a multi-vendor cloud environment from a global perspective cannot be underestimated in any cloud journey. Getting today’s digital and cloud enabled IT supply chain directly connected is critical to ensuring performance, security, scalability – and ultimately – success. So, although Nordic organisations are making major progress in their cloud maturity, it’s critical that they don’t neglect the many supporting services that will bring their multicloud vision together.
Eric Troyer, Chief Marketing Officer, Megaport