The cloud is no longer the new kid on the block in the world of CIO. It has become part of the “business-as usual” infrastructure for most organisations. In its simplest form, it allows companies to procure technology as a service, including infrastructure, applications, platforms and business process by connecting to external providers. With IT no longer linked to the funding needed for ownership, companies can source, scale and deliver capacity unbound by physical location, labour or capital. Cloud is now key in helping companies embark on a digital transformation, in fact, analyst firm, Gartner, predicts that the aggregate total of what it calls “cloud shift” spending will hit $111 billion this year alone, almost doubling to $216 billion by the end of the decade.
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This is particularly relevant at a time when IT leaders and CIOs openly admit to struggling with the pressure of meeting their organisation’s expectations around digital transformation. New research from CloudTalent commissioned by Loudhouse Research shows that although 90 percent of UK businesses are engaging in digital transformation projects, nine out of ten IT leaders are finding it hard to cope with the subsequent changes to their operating model and greater levels of pressure are weighing heavily on their IT teams as they try to bring these projects to life.
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The fact of the matter is that making businesses fit for the modern age is not as simple as just “moving everything to the cloud” – the reality is less clear cut. While many organisations have mastered aspects such as remote monitoring and management of IT assets, they struggle with how to leverage cloud-based services to their full advantage. This is mainly down to the friction exhibited within organisations who tend to forgo some of the softer and more subjective areas of change that may not necessarily be obvious. It is clear that key disciplines such as demand management, financial control, organisational construct and make up are huge contributors to an organisation’s ability to consume cloud services; many are overlooked and as such adoption can be negatively impacted.
A key issue for IT leaders looking to the cloud is the wide number of options available and choosing which is suitable for their business, from “on premise”, “public” and “private.” Logicworks recently presented a strong case for the public cloud, emphasising its costs and technical benefits system. This is in keeping with public cloud vendor Microsoft’s Azure cloud which has an aggressive roadmap, scale, and a combination of stand-alone cloud services and the ability to interoperate with on-premises systems. However, in a similar post, Scalr shows the elasticity of the private cloud for modern businesses.
These debates are ongoing, but the consensus is the hybrid model utilising on premise, public and private cloud is the best option. For digital transformation, CIOs and IT leaders must now look to leverage these various clouds to support their business. This can be done by:
Take a multi-geared approach for your specific issues
Despite embracing multiple cloud options on the way to digital transformation, many companies still need in-house capability and the IT teams to manage them. CIOs must take the necessary steps to guide their business toward new technologies, while still fulfilling traditional IT provision, implementation and maintenance roles. To manage this complex mix of applications, technology, platforms and services – IT leaders should take a “multi-geared” approach to delivering the unique set of IT solutions their organisation needs for their current situation.
If a business lacks the expertise, processes or tools to utilise the cloud, partners can be brought in to help. This can place IT Leaders in an aggregation role, managing multiple relationships not only with traditional vendors, but also with cloud providers and distributors. Indeed, according to CloudTalent’s research, this can already be seen in the 94 percent of companies who currently use external consultants and specialists to help relieve digital transformation pressure and deliver projects.
Companies need to look at how the cloud will benefit all departments and areas, not just the IT department. With new cloud options and outside relationships comes the need to adjust business practices. By examining processes, from finance to sales and customer service, they can determine what should be tweaked – or completely rearranged – in order to improve operations and, as a result, better adapt.
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For companies undergoing digital transformation, the cloud will not just redefine the delivery of application and infrastructure services, but also unlock scalability, flexibility, security and control along with continued lower infrastructure costs. There is pressure on IT teams to deliver, but doing it right means turning companies into agile and intelligent digital businesses, better equipped to navigate the digital age.