It is inevitable that your business will move into the cloud at some point, if it hasn’t already. It really comes down to four key questions – Why, What, When and then the hard one – How. In this series we will unpack each of these in more detail starting with the Why and the What.
For the purposes of this blog, the differences between public, private and hybrid clouds are seen as assumed knowledge. If not, here is a good comparison.
Why the Cloud?
As Simon Sinek has famously stated “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it” yet it is surprising how few organisations truly understand the why behind their projects.
We always start cloud discussions with “Why do you want to move to the cloud” and it is surprising that many responses are “because it seems like it will be better for us”. We rarely meet with customers who understand exactly why Cloud will be beneficial for their businesses – more often we see a board directive to “go investigate” with no real “Why”.
Our experience shows that there are three overarching drivers for when considering a move to the cloud that can be summarized as
- Cost reduction
These are largely obvious considerations, each of which have sub considerations such as rapid go to market, employee productivity, self-service, security and business performance.
The point is, without first knowing why it will be beneficial and what is going to be achieved, cloud projects will stall quickly and take a long time to receive funding. If all key stakeholders understand and agree upon the “Why” then the process of what, when and how becomes significantly easier.
What to move to the Cloud?
Once all of the stakeholders have established and agreed on the “why”, the what can be investigated and this is where it starts to get hairy. Determining the “what” is the key when determining public, private or hybrid as the approach and it is rapidly becoming apparent that hybrid is leading the charge so far.
Follows are some of the key influencers on the “what”. Of course there are numerous technical influencing factors such as performance requirements that are well understood. Assuming there are no technical limitations, it is the following business factors that must be considered.
Organisations in regulated industries need to be conscious of data sovereignty. Realistically, everyone should be concerned, however, our experience is that this is less of a concern unless it is illegal to have data leave the country. In those situations either hybrid becomes a winner again or public clouds such as Microsoft Azure that offer redundant datacentres within Australia – one in Sydney, and one in Melbourne.
Data Retention Requirements:
Some businesses use or retain data that come with certain security clearances and must therefore be stored in the country of origin.
This will apply to organisations involved in defence, security or financial services. Other companies – as they move into the internet of things – will be storing more and more of their customers’ data. In order to comply with privacy regulations, they too will need to take seriously the need to store data locally and securely.
Location of your Customers:
The further away data is stored, the longer it takes to get that information to users or customers. When considering the public or private cloud, organisations need to think about bringing that data as close to the user as possible so as to ensure rapid transmission speeds and excellent user experience.
Cloud is absolutely the way of the future, of that there is no question. The public cloud has become the hammer, however, not every workload reflects a suitable nail. Perhaps in time the public cloud will become the default as the market matures however for now, organisations must focus on why and then what which will absolutely drive the when and the how. Next month we will explore the when and the how.
What are you seeing in your customers or your own organisation? Are you questioning the why and do you have a common understanding with key stakeholders? We would love to hear from you.
Practice Manager: Cloud and Collaboration
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