Remember when the narrative around the cloud was polarised by the simple choice of going public or private? How times have changed.

In the ever-evolving world of digital transformation, it all seems rather naïve to think of trying to shoehorn all our digital expectations and requirements into such an either/or and black and white choice. It is why the hybrid option emerged as a natural successor and has now expanded further to give us the multi-cloud proposition.

You may wonder to what extent the multi-cloud environment varies from the hybrid incarnation, but the two are far from interchangeable. In essence, multi-cloud goes a step further and represents a more strategic approach to cloud management. Stripped to its core, it is the antithesis of vendor lock-in, instead of a pick and mix approach that takes the best-in-class technologies and services from different cloud providers to create the desired solution tailored to specific business needs.

Inevitably, this more nuanced approach gives the business greater agility. It negates the more intrusive and costly intervention that comes with making significant changes to the underlying architecture to accommodate changes in business demands – or being confined by the limitations and cost implications when cloud provision is tied up with a solitary provider.

Yet there is still a fly in the ointment. The greater choice, flexibility and reliability that entails comes with a caveat: greater complexity. As applications and workloads flit between diverse cloud providers with their own management interfaces and unique services, we can see how the lack of standardisation is leading to an exponential rise in integrational demands as the technology stack grows. This is compounded further by the struggle organisations have in trying to keep track of a fast-expanding diverse cloud environment via solutions that don’t provide sufficient visibility.

The upshot of this is that even in what promises to be the most dynamic environments, the potential can be heavily compromised without the necessary control and structure in place. It will manifest itself most acutely when we consider the migration and management of data from one cloud to another. Without optimal connectivity, the potential for data loss grows and the impact is most keenly felt by the end user who expects and deserves a seamless and consistent user experience.

In my opinion, one of the biggest oversights in a cloud strategy remains overlooking the extent of the integration needed and failing to properly take into account the entirety of the ecosystem involved. This includes people, systems, data sources and how each and every one of these must be interconnected. In fact, I don’t think it is an overstatement to say that even some of the most well-intentioned approaches barely scratch the surface. Great customer experience doesn’t hinge on a great app alone however innovative and multi-functional it may be.

If it isn’t fully connected, it will not translate to a great service. In fact, the only way to guarantee this is to know exactly what is happening all the time, across the entire estate, and to be in a position to respond and react to changes and the insight that presents itself as fast and intuitively as possible. In short, looking at data in context, through the vantage point of a cloud management platform with a single interface.

It underscores, once again, the criticality of bringing control and uniformity to an otherwise eclectic environment, underpinned by the logical premises that the same tools equate to the same user experience, irrespective of the different personas involved.  The focus must be on low code application and integration that adopts a use-friendly, intuitive, design-led approach. This will enable a broad mix of users to build low code apps and the incorporation of visual analytics that speeds up and simplifies data integration, analysis and interpretation. Furthermore, features that enable fast and easy connections to virtually any endpoint take care of the heavy-lifting in a vast and sprawling cloud environment where it is all too easy for things to slip through the net. This potential insight is something that none of us can afford to miss.