In the media

Your business still isn't getting enough benefit from the cloud

By Taus Glæsel, Torsten Knudsen


29 April 2022

Read the Danish article in Version2 here.

Many companies make their cloud decisions based on smart buzzwords and market trends. This is not a sustainable strategy, as it rarely corresponds to the needs or reality of the individual company. Build on the lessons learned from the most successful cloud transformations and get the best advice on how to build the strongest cloud capability and be even better prepared for the future.

Many organisations face the challenge of handling both operating applications and infrastructure in the cloud – while operating their own "onsite" data centre. This is often due to the fact that many IT organisations have started by moving their infrastructure to the cloud, while digital innovation projects in the business implement different cloud native solutions. For example, dismantling old infrastructure, making savings on IT operations or hoping to boost business innovation, agility and the like.

If the various initiatives in the cloud are not properly aligned and managed, or if the cloud is operated as if the infrastructure were on-premises, the cloud ends up failing to provide the expected value. The expected cost savings are missed and the expected flexibility and scalability is distorted due to a lack of a strong cloud operating model.

When we help companies and organisations, we always recommend taking a closer look at the following three focus areas

The strategic context

Start by assessing and ensuring consistency with the remaining digital or business strategy. We often see that your implementation is ad hoc, without a specific strategy or consistent roadmap. The implementation has often taken place in different areas or for different purposes, without meeting an overall goal.  Most often, there is a lack of process for managing costs. This means that the costs easily get out of hand, and there is no overall overview of who should pay for the cloud use. And when implemented on an ad hoc basis, security does not receive enough focus either. 

We therefore encourage you to decide what you want to do with the cloud, and prioritise it to individual areas. For example, it can be to improve the business, technologies, services and sourcing or one's capabilities. This creates a long-term goal that should provide the right benefits of using the cloud. Specifically, it depends on the individual strategic drivers of the cloud, which differ from company to company. You can't do it all at once, and it's important to focus efforts in particular areas. Some companies strategically intend to drive better digital innovation and support DevOps. Others are trying to upgrade their existing technology, or allow for scalability, flexibility and better speed. This is exactly the prioritisation and decision making you need to implement. 

Your IT operating mode

Whatever strategic intention you choose, you need to assess your IT operating model. This defines processes, governance, technology, sourcing, organisation etc. It is typically built around the infrastructure you have had in place from the start.  It will be necessary to assess how your IT operating model can cover both the cloud and data centre, operations, costs and security, and what needs to change for it to achieve this. There will be completely different processes in the operation of infrastructure in the cloud. Financial management is also quite different, and we have seen many examples of spending in the cloud not being controlled, as the traditional operating model does not fit the way costs are managed in the cloud. Therefore, the second step in our recommendation is to carefully evaluate your operating model. 

Hybrid cloud requires hybrid capabilities

The third and final recommendation is to have your IT capabilities assessed. When you have infrastructure in the cloud, and on-premise, it requires a lot from the technicians, as they must be able to operate both traditional infrastructure, and infrastructure in the cloud – which are two completely different ways of doing things, and operating staff must be able to do both. It will also be necessary to consider these issues in relation to the cloud services you choose to use. For example, if you have the most IaaS, the IT department will own the infrastructure and manage it. With PaaS, the IT department will be more of a facilitator and support the business. For SaaS, it will move further away, and the IT department will primarily be an advisory function in relation to architecture and application. This means there are completely different requirements of what it should be able to do. Instead, there will be a need for capabilities within cloud architecture, DevOps, Cloud networking, Cloud Demand Management, Cloud Operational Engineers and the like.

It is our experience that many organisations often jump straight into finding a supplier before establishing their strategy, and then begin implementation and operations, instead of first working out a strategy that can be adopted to the cloud. And every time that happens, you buy a worse solution without the benefits you might otherwise get, as the cloud suppliers provide a standard service that does not adapt.

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