In one sense, our cloud journey has reached its destination. There’s little doubt that cloud is now mainstream technology and has been for some time, especially when you consider it’s over 10 years since the NIST Cloud Computing Reference Architecture was published – and cloud had already been around for a while even then.
Cloud is a range of technology with both valuable applications and limitations, and it will continue to evolve – as will its customers’ needs – in an ongoing journey. Today, hybrid cloud is mainly used to describe one of several possible alternative cloud implementation models. As capabilities continue to grow and diversify – and as enterprises find more ways to exploit them – it seems likely that hybrid cloud will become the norm for cloud deployment. Organisations that are geared up to adopt hybrid cloud will be best placed to maximise the value of their cloud deployment.
Getting your business fit for the hybrid cloud journey
An effective hybrid cloud deployment finds cloud solutions that deliver what an organisation needs from its IT in the most effective and efficient way available.
This sounds like a straightforward statement, but it raises some less obvious questions, such as how do you know what your business needs, how can you tell which cloud solution will be most effective and efficient, and so on.
Breaking it down further, it calls for a granular understanding of your business and where it is going, the data and IT landscape that supports it now, and the current and future capabilities of the cloud. These questions start to shape the specific prerequisites for an effective hybrid cloud deployment. Because that deployment will evolve as the business and cloud does, these prerequisites are equally important wherever the business has got to on its cloud journey. The following sections explore these prerequisites in more detail. They are to:
- Shape cloud strategy from business strategy
- Map your business processes
- Get your data under control
- Know your IT landscape
Shape cloud strategy from business strategy
Business strategy needs to set the direction for hybrid cloud deployment. Digital capability is increasingly an integral component of many business processes, rather than just supporting them. Decisions on how this capability is sourced and deployed have a direct impact on how the business is run.
Map your business processes
A clear, formal understanding of your business processes – and how your IT supports them – is critical to effective decision making on cloud investment. This means mapping those processes digitally in a form that can be referred to and developed over time. It’s even becoming realistic to plug these maps into the technology to help generate low-code or no-code applications for automating simple business processes.
Get your data under control
Like process mapping, formal data management and information lifecycle management (ILM) hasn’t always been a top priority for businesses. This creates challenges for cloud deployment, and particularly for hybrid cloud. A lack of comprehensive, accurate information on all the data you own, where it is held, when it was created, when it needs to be archived or deleted, and its purpose, introduces unnecessary risk and cost into your cloud deployment.
Know your IT landscape
An effective hybrid cloud strategy relies on a clear understanding of each element of the business’ IT estate, wherever it is hosted. Factors like obsolescence, support status, business criticality, and maintainability have a direct impact on the cost and risk associated with different hosting options.
Accumulated technical debt around legacy workloads is a growing challenge for some organisations. Dealing with it effectively in the context of a wider cloud strategy requires clear-eyed assessment of the specific challenges around each workload, so that hosting decisions consciously recognise and cater for these challenges.
Establishing these prerequisites positions the business to gain maximum benefit from its hybrid cloud strategy. Regardless of where the business is on its cloud journey, focusing on these elements is a key enabler for continued successful cloud deployment.
The next step on your organisation’s hybrid cloud journey will always depend on where it is now. Regardless of where that is, it’s always going to add value if you understand where your business is and where it’s headed – and if you ensure your processes, data, and current IT are clearly understood and mapped. This needs to be matched to a level-headed view of the range of capabilities hybrid cloud offers your specific business now, free from the influence of both cloud hype and scepticism.
Logicalis has the experience, expertise, and well-tried, effective models and methods to support your hybrid cloud journey. We offer you the flexibility to choose the elements which add most value and let you start your journey from where you are – not from where we tell you to start from.
To download a copy of our Hybrid Cloud Journey eBook, click here.