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The Other Side of Cloud Adoption

Mathieu Pierret 31st May 2017
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Innovation

I started my last blog Remove barriers to digital innovation in enterprises with the following message which is still very valid: Our purpose at Cloudreach is to enable innovation, to unlock business potential by providing enterprises with new cloud platforms, processes, tools and skills. We enable our customers to become digital revolutionaries.

Adopting the cloud for most companies is a big step forward in enabling innovation: It truly allows you to increase business agility while empowering development teams through continuous deployment and Self Service Infrastructure.

But “how do we get there?”, I hear you asking.

Are Data Centre Migrations the only way?

Data Centre Migrations are obviously one way to reach your target. As you are probably aware, Cloudreach is a leader on that side of cloud adoption. With plenty of complex DC Migration projects, we are recognised as a very strong player in that field.

Is it the only way? Fortunately not. It may be the most efficient way when you have clear deadlines for which to leave Data Centres by, or if for any other reason you have to go fast to the Cloud. In that case our “Migrate first, Optimise later” strategy is probably made for you.

But this path is also full of challenges and will not bring the immediate benefits you may look for. There are other ways to adopt the cloud according to your business drivers and your technological concerns. And lucky for you, this is also part of Cloudreach’s expertise!

The Green Field Strategy

First things first! You want to adopt the Cloud, but is it too big an investment to move your existing Data Centres in the Cloud? At least you can stop immediately building more in your Data Centers and decide that from now on all the new solutions will be built in the Cloud. This is a Green Field approach.

We can build with you a target infrastructure on the Public Cloud that is connected to your Data Centres and make it an extension of your on-prem infrastructure.

Now that you have stopped the haemorrhage, we can plan a progressive move for the rest adapted to your context!

The “SaaS ⇒ PaaS ⇒ IaaS” Strategy

Every company has a core purpose and runs a lot of different kinds of applications to help achieve this. Some solutions are at the heart of your purpose whilst others are required to run your company but do not represent any specific added value. Some solutions are the true differentiator of your company and others are just the same as any other company in the same sector.

The first important thing to do is to classify your information system into different categories such as:

  • Core business value solutions
  • Added value solutions
  • Ad-hoc but not competitive solutions
  • Standard solutions

Once we have a clear picture of your Information Systems we can map appropriate strategies.

In order to optimise cloud benefits, a standard path would be to look at the SaaS (Software as a Service) first, where everything is handled by a fully managed software bought on the market place, then the PaaS (Platform as a Service), where cloud added value services are used to minimise management needs on the infrastructure level, and then IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), where we stay at the lower level of the infrastructure.

Standard solutions

The standard solutions of your company (such as HR management system, collaborative tooling, project management tooling, etc) do not have any specific added value compared to the competition, and could go by default in the SaaS category. Why manage a system and an infrastructure for something that everybody else is doing and for which there are plenty of reliable and proven solutions on the market? It’s also good to keep in mind that SaaS solutions benefit from economies of scale, and hence become cheaper and cheaper.

Ad-hoc but not competitive solutions

You may have specific solutions which are not standard in the market. But if they do not have any impact on the competition, they should follow the same path as standard solutions. If a SaaS solution exists and is competitive to what it costs you to maintain your own tool, then you should take it instead.

If there is no solution on the market to replace your tool, you should then focus on the PaaS mode: Trying to find the right mix of fully managed services that would do the job for you with minimum management effort. If there is no real value for your business, there is no reason to spend too much energy and time on it.

Added value solutions

For solutions that demonstrate the value of your business, that differentiate you from your competitors, it is worth spending more time in their strategy. According to the value of your solutions, the strategy may vary from “Optimisation in the cloud” to “Refactoring into cloud native solution”.

In all cases we will seek a PaaS approach as much as possible, in order to benefit from fully managed services with a proven reliability, and use IaaS only where needed. Removing as many of your dependencies at the Infrastructure level as possible, will bring you flexibility, reliability and velocity to innovate. This is the key to success for your core value solutions.

Core business value solutions

You should invest in your core business value solutions even more than your added value solutions. Refactoring your solutions into cloud native applications will take you several steps ahead of the competition: Serverless, IoT oriented architectures, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, Data Analytics, Self Service purchasing, APIs, ultra-responsible UIs… and the capacity to be truly agile from the idea to the production deployment.

The other side of cloud adoption

Conclusion

If Data Centre Migrations projects are a good way to adopt the Cloud for many enterprises who need to go fast, it is important to note that different strategies exist and a progressive ramp up following different strategies adapted to your business values can be the right way for you.

From SaaS to IaaS with more and more cloud native solutions, you will enable your company to really innovate and stay ahead of competition.

Imagine a world with no more servers to manage and where you can focus only on your business value? I’m writing from the future and can tell you that it will happen soon.