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Overcoming the barriers to cloud success

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The notion of ‘digital business transformation’ remains a white-hot theme among boardrooms around South Africa, and the broader continent. Andre Muzerie, Oracle business practice head at Wipro Africa, discusses the issue.
An organisation may be looking to reimagine its internal operations, or create beautiful, consistent omni-channel experiences for its customers. It may be aiming to transform itself in new ways, creating dynamic growth engines. Or it may want to simply optimise, scale and better manage its IT resources.
Whichever of these applies to you, cloud architectures lie at the heart of any digitisation or transformation efforts.
But that doesn’t mean a CIO should rush head-first into a comprehensive, enterprise-wide cloud computing rollout. In fact, some of the biggest reasons for cloud failures can be traced back to a hasty selection of cloud service providers, application platforms, infrastructure platforms, or migration roadmaps.
A recent industry survey polled 276 IT professionals on the topic of cloud computing failures. The top three reasons for failure? Lack of security and compliance understanding, lack of clear business objectives, and lack of planning.
In many cases, cloud failures have manifested in budget over-runs and poor return on investment, business downtime, poor user experiences, data loss, and even security breaches.

Wise choices
But just how can one steer clear of these traps, throughout the process of migration?
By selecting the right cloud partner, with the experience and the tools to enable full enterprise-wide migration, risk can be mitigated with the process, and the benefits of the cloud realised as quickly as possible.
A partner should provide guidance every step of the way, from the initial cloud migration business planning, all the way through to the management of applications, as they run happily in the cloud, enabling resources to focus on more strategic delivery aspects of the IT portfolio.
These migrations are fraught with complexities and risk and can end up costing far more than budgeted. As such, it is vital that enterprises look towards migration partners and models that mitigate this risk and drive down costs. The partner should be able to accurately calculate the reduced total-cost-of-ownership for these applications, and then guarantee these cost savings via fixed pricing structures.
It is also important for the partner to provide a cloud integration kit, accelerator frameworks, methods, reusable components and best-practices – to ensure winning strategies for cloud integration – tailored to the company’s specific needs.
Once the cloud migration has taken place, organisations need to ease the burden of managing their cloud. A partner should be able to guarantee uptime, refresh underlying technology, and continually innovate with the latest trends in datacentres and cloud computing.
For instance, they should be operating a mature and dedicated cloud command centre – to provision, configure, monitor, secure and manage applications across a multitude of different cloud environments.
With this kind of centralised configuration, it possible to abstract the complexity of running multiple cloud environments, and more easily switch between underlying cloud platforms whenever required.

Tantalising prospect
If Cloud 1.0 was the simple migration of one’s applications away from on-premise configurations, and into hosted environments, then we’re now on the cusp of the Cloud 2.0 era – the dawn of an exciting time in which the likes of artificial intelligence, connected devices and sensors, and big data, start radically changing the way that value is created.
By operating modernised infrastructure from flexible cloud environments, a company will be in the position to take advantage of these coming waves of disruptive technology, breaking into new markets faster than its peers, and achieving unprecedented business growth.
It’s a tantalising prospect, and one that’s certainly within reach, as long as the traps lying in wait with cloud migrations are side-stepped, and that the right technology partner is chosen to provide guidance at both strategic and execution levels.