Cloud technology has been around for over a decade. In this time, it has allowed new business models to exist that weren’t previously able to, bringing in a whole host of disruptive influences into all sectors.
However, despite its maturity in application, only 20% of cloud migration is achieved in businesses - and this is the most basic 20%. The other 80% remains locked to the ground with hindrances from legacy technology and the mindset that comes with it. At a breakfast in partnership with IBM and Skytap, a group of cloud experts and executives discussed the challenges in cloud migration and application, as well as solutions to these common pain points.
Across industries, the challenges remain similar: variance in cloud application and adaptability is more segmented by organisation age, since newer start-ups do not face the same legacy tech struggles as incumbents. Moving data and applications to the cloud, or indeed, clouds, creates problems around consistency: how can you ensure that the data that is stored across both existing, traditional applications and cloud software is the same? And how can you guarantee function across these different interfaces?
Into this contrast, comes the solution of hybrid, multi-cloud, which allows the marriage of cloud-native and traditional components to function seamlessly.
Other members presented cloud challenges beyond the technology side of things, more in line with business operations. How can you prevent transformation or cloud migration from hindering day-to-day progression as a business? On the other hand, pressure from competitors encourages transformation, with the mantra “it’s what everyone else is doing”. Drawing that line between keeping up with everyday business and keeping up with everyday competition creates a tension. The processes of cloud migration themselves kick up challenges, just as they solve long-standing efficiency problems.
People problems, process problems
Indeed, before a business can even embark on this discussion, members agreed that it is vital to pinpoint the exact problem they intend cloud to mitigate and what they hope to achieve from deployment. Specificity is the key to this process. One member mentioned the “simplification agenda” - the aim to simplify all processes in order to cut the fat. However, it’s not good enough to say you’re aiming for greater efficiency; there must be a business-driven purpose for this efficiency. Are your customers are demanding faster roll-out? Is your competition growing faster? Knowing why you’re deploying the technology, and what you hope to gain from it, gives streamlined purpose to your actions.
When it comes to presenting ROI to senior stakeholders, this gives further drive to a project. Whether for cloud or with another technology deployment, members discussed the power in translating tech deployment into business objectives with clear goals when trying to secure buy-in at an executive level.
The value assessment was also cited by a member as a difficulty in cloud deployment. Tracking costs of deployment is simple enough, but when it comes to benefits - what metrics are right for this? How can they be measured in ways comparable to the initial costs? Members discussed creating new metrics for measuring benefits that are aligned with business objectives, in response to this issue. Specificity again raises its head as the key to unlock this: creating specific metrics is vital in articulating benefits in the context of value. Changing the conversation around the metrics themselves allows for a more productive and targeted deployment.
It was also noted that a post-project assessment and breakdown of success is crucial at the end of the project. It contributes to corporate memory which can then be called upon when embarking on future projects.
If cloud is a means to an end for your business, there isn’t enough specific targeting of problems. Implementation should be about business objectives, married with value - and so much of this is about structuring conversation correctly. While the tech certainly poses a heapload of challenges, the humans pose enough of their own.
The Moving to the Multi-Cloud Breakfast was held in partnership with IBM and Skytap. Both are cloud technology providers.