For the past two years, we have seen how the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to adapt to the new ways of working. As we continue to live in this new normal, organizations should carry on with modernizing applications, discovering new capabilities, and building operational resiliency. Cloud transformation unfolds several opportunities to level-up operations, making it a necessity in today's workplace environment. However, moving to the cloud as we know it is an uphill task for both large and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). This 2022, we recommend looking at cloud transformation with an agile mindset and start delivering value to your business right away.
Agile is the way to go!
An incremental, iterative, and adaptive approach to cloud transformation enables organizations to find success faster than traditional project management methods. The complex nature of large-scale cloud transformation initiatives, not to mention the ever-changing world of technology, makes it more fitting to go agile. Rather than putting the focus on the overall business value, an agile approach to cloud transformation allows you to deliver value in a progressive manner.
Develop your Cloud First Strategy
Cloud first strategy is all about prioritizing cloud-based solutions over others. For many organizations, moving to the cloud is a wide-ranging effort that often goes out of hand. Approaching cloud adoption with agility makes it more viable.
Starting an agile software development project often involves defining your business objectives, building out your product roadmap, and designing your release plan. In cloud migration, similar steps can be performed when we think about migration phases as products. Define your business objectives, product roadmap, and release plan around the concept of a minimum viable product (MVP) to ensure that your strategy is aligned with your product vision. The goal of defining your MVP is to build something tangible at the quickest time possible.
The technical complexity in migrating workloads depends on the criticality of applications and their dependencies, such as databases and servers where they're hosted. Network restrictions and security requirements must also be taken into consideration. These should help you decide on what cloud computing model (i.e. Software-as-a-Service, Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service) to implement.
Build Infrastructure for the Hybrid Workforce
The hybrid workforce is here to stay. There's no turning back to doing things the old way. Organizations may not entirely transition to a remote workforce but having the capability to do things at the comfort of our homes is something that we will most probably see in the long haul.
We have seen businesses thrive amid the pandemic as they benefit from the remote infrastructure already existing within their organizations. For some, this do-or-die situation led them to utilize various cloud solutions to support business operations remotely. From virtual conference tools to digital workspaces, the cloud has proven yet again that people can actually be productive even without being constrained by cubicles. Keep the momentum going as you progress your cloud transformation efforts this year.
In the recent survey conducted by Gartner, it was mentioned that "Just-In-Time Infrastructure" tops the trends impacting infrastructure and operations this year. This means that the speed at which infrastructure can be deployed is becoming just as important as putting the right infrastructure in the right place. As a customer, considering the deployment times could be the differentiating factor that you need to compare when looking for your next service provider.
Adapt to Hybrid Cloud Environment
A hybrid cloud environment is a combination of public cloud services, private cloud services, and on-premises infrastructure. The integration between these three enables a unified computing environment that should be flexible to run workloads across different environments and various cloud providers.
Traditional Hybrid Cloud
When the hybrid cloud was first introduced, its main focus was the interoperability between private and public cloud environments—with the private cloud situated on-premises and the public cloud hosted by public cloud providers like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.
Modern Hybrid Cloud
When organizations started utilizing cloud-native technologies to build and modernize legacy applications, the trend also started to shift. The modern hybrid cloud environment is now focused more on the interoperability of workloads across all cloud environments, regardless of their physical connectivity. For instance, some cloud providers are now offering public cloud services to run on-premise. On a similar note, a private cloud can now be hosted in virtual private networks (VPNs) and virtual private clouds (VPCs) from cloud providers.
While the traditional hybrid cloud is still prevalent among organizations today, we can see the modern hybrid cloud environment in full-blown as more and more organizations leverage cloud-native technologies. The shift to an agile approach provides you with the opportunity to be more flexible in terms of implementing solutions from different service providers.
Implement Automation Solutions
To further accelerate your cloud transformation efforts this year, start considering automation solutions for your cloud transformation initiatives. It's a no-brainer that automation helps reduce lead time, increase efficiency, and speed up your return on investment (ROI). No wonder why automation is one of the top priorities among organizations navigating their digital transformation journey.
With technology continuously evolving, smaller organizations may find it hard to keep up at a similar pace with large corporations who have built their capabilities long before the pandemic happened. This is where leveraging the power of automation is most appreciated. For instance, migrating databases to the cloud requires technical expertise not only from the application and infrastructure teams but also from people who know the target cloud platform inside out. Spending time to train people to do the job would be another cost and risk to you as a business. While investing in people is essential to the success of any organization, investing in technology and tools is just as important. See IT-Conductor's recently published success story on a cloud migration journey to AWS by our customer: The Digital Transformation Journey of IDEXX Laboratories with IT-Conductor
Implementing automation solutions makes migration projects less risky and more reliable. Explore solutions from third-party providers and marketplaces such as AWS Marketplace which, by the way, we are a part of.
Since you're already here, you may also want to explore Workflow Automation for SAP IT Operations to jumpstart your automation efforts the right way.
Strengthen Operational Resiliency
Operational resiliency is the ability of an organization to prevent, respond to, and recover from any adverse event. It covers building a strong business continuity plan and integrating that strategy with your infrastructure. The complexity involved in moving to the cloud might expose your business to a huge risk. So, it is of utmost importance that you perform a risk assessment prior to implementing your next cloud transformation initiative.
Regardless of where you are in your cloud transformation journey, it is imperative that you frequently recalibrate where you are and where you want to go. Understand that as you progress, there will always be potential points of failure. Failure doesn’t always come from the Platform or Products which you choose to implement or even how sophisticated the solution is, but often the weaknesses are in the People and Processes which support the Platform. For example, a poor manual process and/or an inexperienced team can introduce configuration mistakes and human errors causing high impact issues, such as outages, data corruption, or worst yet, glaring security vulnerabilities. Drive continuous improvement religiously, take necessary actions, and bridge any gaps that can possibly impact the business.
Adapt, Advance, Accelerate
For the most part, we have discussed how cloud transformation can be as complex as it can be and how agility plays the role in accelerating your efforts this year. With the cloud changing the game for everyone, organizations need to be more adaptable. Developing agile ways of working within your organization gives you the opportunity to make adjustments quickly as you progress your journey to the cloud.