IT Focus Area: cloud
January 9, 2017
Why a Successful Move to Cloud Bridges the Old with the New
In today’s hyper-competitive business landscape, customers no longer let companies dictate what products and services they can use. They expect to get exactly what they want.
And innovative companies are using technology to make customers happy.
For example, Coca-Cola’s Coke Freestyle machines allow consumers to customize their experience and have more choices. These machines also give Coca-Cola a wealth of real-time data on what products consumers prefer.
Coca-Cola and other innovative companies are using technology to find new opportunities. The ability to quickly respond to market trends helps them stand out from the pack and drive revenue.
Since agility is key to beating the competition, corporate IT must learn from these innovators. It’s up to IT to make it easy for the business to scale, reach new markets, and launch new products.
If you don’t transform your IT soon, it will be too late.
The Safe Path to Cloud
While moving to the cloud is the fastest route to innovation, you may face restrictions that make it impossible to move all of your IT to the cloud.
In this case, a hybrid cloud strategy offers you a safe path to IT transformation.
A hybrid model provides the best of both worlds – the agility of cloud services without rewriting your legacy applications. To that end, most of the enterprises that I speak with see our NSX technology as strategic, because it gives them a centralized network and security model that traverses multiple private data centers and public clouds, while providing added security benefits via microsegmentation.
3 Keys to a Successful Cloud Transformation
A few years ago, IT organizations thought that they needed to separate their old and new technologies as they embraced the cloud. But this thinking is problematic, as cloud apps often have dependencies on traditional backend systems.
For example, Wal-Mart recently combined its e-commerce and traditional IT teams, because it realized the technical and strategic value of having both teams work together.
Bridging the old and the new offers many advantages. To start, you will require fewer tools to provide business services. This reduces your complexity and lowers both your capital and operational costs.
Here are three more keys to successfully combining the old with the new:
1. Let go of old ideas
Just because you’ve “always done it this way” doesn’t mean you should keep doing it. Thriving in this digital business era involves letting go of dated ideas that hold your IT organization back.
For example, we now live in a DevOps world where developers quickly write code and launch new services. To do this, they need IT services that are highly available, agile, and scalable. The services must also easily integrate with their platforms of choice via native or open source APIs. IT operations must give developers what they need to support the business – even if this means letting go of the need to architect and build custom infrastructure solutions.
If your current services don’t give you a competitive advantage, you can embrace hyperconverged solutions. Doing this will give you more time for innovation and differentiation, as you’ll spend less time building and maintaining infrastructure. For example, spending less time integrating servers and storage gives you more time for maturing cross-cloud distributed data management.
As you move forward with these changes, you may have a hard time getting teams on board. Many people fear that cloud and IT automation will automate them out of a job. CIOs and IT leaders need to show team members how their career paths will be even more exciting going forward.
2. Appoint a cloud architect
Traditional IT is about bottoms-up architecture and consensus building.
The problem with this is that each team looks at things through their own skill sets and aims to preserve their roles. This can cause IT organizations to lag behind. For example, they may bring in legacy solutions that aren’t optimized for cloud when they should look for new, agile, and cost-efficient ways to solve their challenges.
Successful organizations appoint a cloud architect to oversee their cloud transformation. The cloud architect builds a multi-disciplinary team with skills in areas such as virtualization, security, networking, storage, data management, application architecture, and enterprise management. The team makes joint decisions on new standards and architectural models.
The cloud architect and team are charged with moving the business forward. If other teams don’t get on board, the cloud team will refuse to let legacy architectures and dated mindsets hold the business back. This may lead to racking and stacking new solutions and integrating them with legacy solutions, rather than allowing the legacy equipment to dictate the architecture.
The cloud architect may not be the most popular person in the organization, as they will push people out of their comfort zones. They may also choose new vendors over preferred vendors, which can cause friction. But since the cloud architect is charged with transforming the organization, he or she must do things differently.
3. Put flexibility first
Flexibility separates the winners from the losers.
Look for a cloud platform that allows you to leverage your existing investments while gaining the ability to run any app in the cloud.
You also need the flexibility to change your mind as your needs evolve. In the past, you would make a request and wait several months for the budget. Once you received the budget, you had to go through with the project – even if your needs changed. Your cloud technology should give you the option to adjust a plan or project – or terminate it – as market dynamics dictate. The solution should offer you flexibility, so that if one provider or solution doesn’t meet your needs, you can still preserve the investments that you’ve already made as you go in another direction.
It’s Not All or Nothing
As you can see, moving to the cloud isn’t all or nothing. You don’t need to put all of your applications in the cloud on Day 1. You can transform your IT architecture over time using a hybrid cloud model. The hybrid cloud mixes the old with the new, so you can take advantage of cloud and become more agile.
Enterprises that want to evolve quickly, yet safely, can benefit from working with an experienced partner. The right partner can not only implement your hybrid cloud technology but also help you transform. For example, they can design a hybrid cloud strategy and optimize your data center. They can also help you gain quick wins in both security and agility, so you can build momentum for further technology investments.