3 Stumbling Blocks that Prevent Cloud Maturity
True cloud maturity – the idea that the cloud can deliver optimised computing at best value – might seem elusive. Companies that have achieved it benefit from the flexibility and agility that enable innovation and a speedy time-to-market, all at a lower cost than previous legacy systems. But why are so many other companies struggling to achieve this level of cloud maturity?
At Fusion Global Business Solutions, we’ve partnered with local and global companies of all sizes. With very few exceptions, we see three stumbling blocks that prevent companies from reaching cloud maturity. While the obvious cause is cost – nearly two-thirds of companies in the multi-cloud seek to gain visibility into cloud costs and ways to reduce it in 2019 – the underlying issues have more to do with process (or the lack thereof).
Let’s take a look.
What is cloud maturity?
Hinging on the precise balance of right spending for optimised computing, the concept of cloud maturity suggests that a business is relying heavily on the cloud (public, private, or hybrid) and getting the best value for money simultaneously.
Cloud maturity promotes being cloud smart in contrast to cloud first. With legacy on-premises IT systems, companies knew where their money was going. Cloud vendors, by contrast, count every penny spent on computing, billing your company for it. The cloud lures companies to put more in the cloud – get to the cloud before your competitors do – resulting in hefty bills that far exceed the budget. Most companies also have a multi-cloud presence, working across vendors and endless pricing tiers.
Cloud mature companies are rare. In our experience, companies have 60-70 percent of their workloads in the cloud before they move past mere understanding of the cloud to enacting governance and changes that make the cloud work for them. For large companies, that percentage could easily mean tapping into tens of thousands of servers in the cloud.
But companies do not achieve cloud maturity simply by putting a majority of their workload into the cloud. Instead, companies achieve cloud maturity by focusing on their policies, processes, and people before focusing on migrating their workloads. Companies who succeed at the cloud have taken time to implement key cloud governance. Governance can include best practices as well as a framework that tracks down, eliminates, and future-proofs against cloud-related money pits, which can quickly spiral once in the cloud.
What’s preventing cloud maturity?
Many companies haven’t taken the baseline steps in establishing cloud governance even with up the point where half of their workloads in the cloud. Although establishing governance around new technology can feel daunting, particularly as best practices change so swiftly, the following three common stumbling blocks are easily and affordably avoided.
Stumbling Block #1: Lifting and shifting your existing footprint
Your existing footprint of applications and workloads was designed for legacy, on-premises infrastructures. Seamless transitions to the cloud are not the reality, but most companies act as if a simple lift and shift of a workload will be problem-free.
In fact, a lift-and-shift strategy threatens to bring along all existing inefficiencies and introduce new ones to the cloud. The result is significant unnecessary spending, with cloud waste routinely accounting for one-third of cloud spending.
Minimising your footprint isn’t easy though. Enterprises tend to add resources from on-premises infrastructure out of fear that the system is too fragile. This over-resourcing, when shifted to the cloud, results in overspending. In contrast, under-resourcing your footprint by reducing too much results in security and business risks.
Solution: Take the time upfront to plan and execute a proper, holistic footprint reduction that reviews and plans for every element in the service. This type of footprint reduction will require service asset and configuration management (SACM) capability that enables companies to know exactly what they’re working with.
Stumbling Block #2: Choosing the right pricing scheme
You’ve minimised your footprint to improve efficiencies and decrease spending. Now, you must decide which platform and which pricing plan are right for your company. This is no easy task (as a quick look at the pricing tiers for Amazon Web Services will demonstrate).
Choosing a pricing scheme is already complicated when you’re not sure how to scale or how to maximise the resources you already pay for. But basing your decision solely on financial components means you may put at risk the technical or architectural goals that were the reason for your cloud switch. Another contributor to pricing opacity is larger enterprises tending to negotiate their own pricing schemes with cloud vendors.
Solution: Compare pricing models across vendors by using historic data and real-time pricing models, and measure it against your spending budget.
Stumbling Block #3: Tracking cost
Cost management was easier with legacy systems because you built your budget around capital and operating expenses. With the cloud, tracking cost is impossible unless you know exactly what you have in the cloud – and most companies have no idea.
Reducing your footprint helps with this, but it’s only the beginning of the process. To truly know what is in the cloud, you need a systematic approach to organisation that all employees know and put to use.
Solution: Implement a tagging policy across all cloud-based components. Key tagging elements must include, but aren’t limited to, service owner, cost centre, application service, environment and service criticality. Additional policy tags, particularly around security and automation, must also be incorporated.
Like all technologies, the cloud offers a wide range of tools that can support your business needs. But technology itself is a tool, not a solution. For long-term success, you must implement solutions that are process-based and people-focused. With those components in place, the cloud can begin to work for you.