Today, service providers, cloud computing platforms, and a large ecosystem have made it simple to keep up. CIOs now need to ensure that they successfully drive the cloud to ensure businesses survive and thrive.
The industry has been following with great interest, two changes that have impacted the way organisations function. One has been the shift from a transaction-based economy to a relationship based economy and the other has been cloud driven digital transformation. These two changes are profound, intertwined, combining to roll out superior services and efficiency.
No ride-hailing app or online shopping sites would have seen spectacular success without the cloud. Similarly, many other conveniences that we take for granted owe their success to the cloud, which explains the mini exodus of sorts among organisations that are scrambling to move applications.
Having said that, I would like to add that, for the cloud to be an integral part of every enterprise’s strategy, it is necessary that CIOs understand cloud adoption more holistically as enterprises have different drivers for cloud adoption. The first is around cost optimisation – focused on the bottom-line to bring direct cost optimisation by reducing spend. This would be largely infrastructure-centric.
The second would be around Service Resilience – ensuring high availability, performance, scalability and compliance that do not depend on the limitations of traditional data centres but leverage new deployment models driven by the cloud.
The third would be around driving superior customer experiences by ensuring that systems of engagement are developed as cloud-native apps providing a seamless experience across devices. The fourth would be around driving business agility - launch new products and services faster in the market quickly with more standardised interfaces and higher level of plug and play capabilities driven by the cloud.
The path to transformation can never be devoid of bumps. Before CIOs go about uncaging the full potential of the cloud in their organisations, they need to contend with internal and external issues that loom in the landscape, the moment a decision is taken. The first is regulatory compliance. As governments and industry alike hammer out a regulatory framework to streamline the platform, it places responsibilities on the service providers, enablers, and users.
The dynamic regulations demand the tenants and providers to remain compliant with industry specific regulations—HIPAA, the sweeping GDPR, PCI DSS or Sarbanes Oxley. CIOs of respective domains need to be fully aware of compliance mechanisms and requirements to ensure that operations do not crash, at any stage – pre or post migration.
Internally, a big challenge they face is Shadow IT – when business teams buy/subscribe to cloud services that are not approved or bought by the centralised IT teams. Business expects the agility and sees opportunities to improve the productivity of its teams and deliver superior experiences.
Unfortunately, these services are isolated or not well integrated into the company’s cloud strategy. Governance, data breach, data loss, cyber security issues resulting from these business systems could result in massive financial liabilities, loss of business and customers affecting the organisation’s bottom line.
CIOs need to understand these unmet requirements and look at options that leverage cloud as enabler to meet their holistic needs by brining all cloud investments into a singular cloud ecosystem. For a new organisation coming up in the digital world the Cloud can be a great and obvious choice but large existing businesses need to be acutely aware of strengths and limitations in terms of existing network architecture.
By virtue of being a relatively new platform, most organisations would not have planned or anticipated the need for networks to accommodate the different requirements for a smooth migration. Low latency is the buzzword here. To achieve it, organisations need to be visionaries. Network architecture and frameworks need a rejig. Failure to do so will result in poor optimisation or realisation of benefits, which can sometimes become a nightmare in a worst case scenario.
Organisations that are not comfortable with multi-tenant models need to cushion the shock of additional budgetary allocation for private cloud.
The advantages of a private cloud justify additional expenses and CIOs need to perform not just due diligence but arbitrage to understand how additional spending can bring in benefits that can be quantified.
And in some cases the total of ownership for private clouds are similar or lower than public clouds and it’s important to deploy public/private clouds depending on Business context. Most businesses typically tend to move towards a combination of Own+PrivateCloud+Public Cloud with the mix between these three models changing from business to business and also over a period of time.
Most importantly, cloud transformation could be infrastructure centric, application centric or business centric or a combination of those. Most of the time, CIOs lack a unified view into their entire IT landscape as it extends to the cloud, and are not armed with all the capabilities needed to paint a cohesive picture around different types of transformation. They also need to bring together all the skills, software and experience needed to maximise the kind of returns they should see from their cloud investments.
The role of CIOs is cut out here. Despite the stacked up challenges, it is possible to negotiate deftly. The mantra is in identifying key differences from an on-premise setup to one on the cloud. Not everything can be fitted into the cloud. At least not until the tenant or the service provider is ready with the right integration of complex legacy systems.
The emphasis needs to be a system that does away with bottlenecks, facilitates seamless processes, without jeopardising operations, while remaining compliant, and all of this needs to be achieved within a reasonable budget. This may appear daunting, and to twist an old proverb ‘every cloud has a silver lining’, we, at Infosys have the perfect solution.
The Infosys Enterprise Cloud Ecosystem plays a pivotal role in showing CIOs the whole picture, and helping them realise the whole potential of their cloud investments by painting an integrated and unified view of the enterprise cloud ecosystem. We bring together the capabilities needed to drive both business and IT priorities – across the foundational layers optimised for cloud efficiencies, right up to the portfolio of applications as services.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)