How business should approach the cloud?
The journey to the cloud from business perspective
In this article, we will be talking about how business are approaching the cloud and how this journey to the cloud looks like from technology, employees, and IT perspectives.
It’s clear that today’s businesses are undergoing a rapid transformation. Companies and businesses must digitalize to offer an improved customer experience and achieve operational benefits that are only available to businesses able to harness the disruptive opportunities, new technologies can provide. More than any other innovation, cloud services have become a major catalyst for digitalization.
Moving to the cloud requires a different way of thinking. While there are many benefits and opportunities that come with using the cloud, it requires substantial adjustments to our behavior. Many people are naturally reluctant to try new things, but it’s important to help them understand where they need to go and why. Once people see the big picture, the cloud is no longer an obstacle, but a window of opportunity.
How do you start?
So the question is how this journey to the cloud looks like? Moving to the cloud is a big change for any enterprise. It is not the move itself, but the journey that matters most. We cannot just lift and shift workloads to the cloud and assume everything will work fine. Even if it does, this will not guarantee the business value and outcome from such move.
Without a broader vision, it’s easy to struggle. For the first 2–3 years, a clear vision and an overall strategy can reduce or even eliminate barriers to the cloud world.
It’s important to understand how the cloud will affect every business unit. The first thing you shall do, is to explore the benefits, seeking customer needs and enhancing employee skills. Some roles and responsibilities may need to be redefined, and working on communities containing people with different skill sets makes sense more than having teams working on isolated products with no integration, communication or share goal.
“Technology is integral to any transition to the cloud, but preparing your people for change is just as important”. Daniel Downing
Three perspectives to a cloud vision
In this journey to the cloud , the cloud can be considered from three different angles: business perspective, employee perspective and technology perspective.
The first perspective in this journey to the cloud is the employee perspective. Preparing employees is important. The cloud facilitates the unrestricted flow of work and ideas. When people realize that networks, storage and even computers are dissolved by the cloud, the potential for collaboration is only limited by the willingness and imagination of your employees.
On the other hand, you also need to take care of having the right skills for your employees. The good old days of sysadmins that primarily focused on troubleshooting TCP/IP issues are long gone. Concepts like on premise firewalls and DMZ networks are not working anymore for cloud workloads. It is vital to have the right cloud specialists, architects and project managers to get your system off the ground.
The second perspective in this journey to the cloud is the technology perspective. Most organizations choose the hybrid cloud mode, where some resources and services are on-premises while others are moved to the cloud. This is a natural choice when your business has many workloads on-premises, as you cannot wake up one day and have everything working form the cloud. There is a transition period where your services are offered from the cloud and on-premises.
Moreover, the same service can even be offered from the cloud and on-premise at the same time. This flexibility of approaching the cloud will give you the time to migrate and move data at your own timeline. Nevertheless, this means more complex infrastructure to support both worlds.
Through this hybrid model, your business can access specific cloud solutions that meet your needs. Day-today operations can utilize tools like Office 365 and cloud identity, while on premise workloads are available when security or regulation are required.
Finally, the last perspective in this journey to the cloud is the business one. Form Business perspective, the cloud is as important as the services you are using for you core business applications. You are now empowering these services with cloud identity that enable business users to access any on premise or cloud application using the same set of credentials, to make it more convenient for end users, and to ensure security and compliance. Software as a Service or SaaS, is everywhere. Businesses are consuming SaaS applications more than before, and having a solid cloud federated identity model has never been as important.
As we are talking about the journey to the cloud, I think that the role of IT is changing and being re-shaped. Soon, all business applications will be powered by the cloud and the role of IT will shift from maintaining and deploying on-premise solutions, to be a more business focus role. IT will have two roles soon as per my personal prediction. The first is to understand what the cloud can provide and how integration and security works at this level. The other role is to hunt business opportunities and enable them by the power of the cloud and to help employees realize such opportunities.