Understanding the Significance of Cloud Culture
There's more to using cloud than meets the eyes, and it should create more than just good ROI.
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Public, private, hybrid, and hyper-scale cloud models continue to take the global economy by storm. Such is the penetration of the cloud model across all businesses that cloud service integration goes far beyond the remit of an IT department and requires board-level leadership. Welcome to the dawn of cloud culture.
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Leading From The Top
The cloud has the potential to be a transformative technology that offers flexible, scalable, and cost-effective infrastructure. So the vendor and technology deployment decisions taken before migration must match each company’s unique business requirements.
Creating a successful and meaningful cloud culture upfront will make this a much easier task, but it has to start at the top of the company—ideally with a Chief Technology Officer. This is because it is a delicate balancing between reshaping policies and workflows while preserving the core philosophies and drivers that initially propelled the company to success.
Getting cloud culture right means thinking about your employees, your IT security, and your customers — particularly how each may react or change with your move into the cloud. If you encounter resistance in one of these areas once the adoption is underway, then operations could be impacted.
Developing a cloud culture also means learning and understanding the links between communications, sales, marketing, product development, and security. Cloud has the potential to link all these aspects efficiently and effectively. However, if your cloud culture is not robust, the technology can cause confusion, disarray, and siloed working—all the things that it’s supposed to prevent.
Having a strong cloud culture will also enable businesses to make a much more informed decision about which kind of cloud infrastructure to adopt. An increasing number of companies are opting for a hybrid option as they feel it offers the highest levels of flexibility, efficiency, and peace of mind. As a co-located option, hybrid cloud is the best fit for many companies and gives them the best chance of adapting to future challenges and changing IT landscapes.
When it comes to hybrid cloud, businesses need to select a provider with a comprehensive vendor and technology partner network. This will enable them to secure the very best fit for their requirements. Cloud providers with a limited vendor roster may try to box companies in to a hybrid solution that does not meet their needs. Having a clear and defined cloud culture will mitigate that risk and help them make the best decision for their business.
More Than Just TCO
Total cost of ownership (TCO) was considered the driving force for cloud adoption for a long time. However, current IDG research suggests the need for improved network performance, faster product deployment, and a wish to improve customer service have all become more essential catalysts for cloud service adoption. These reasons are more comprehensive than a straightforward decision to select a cloud-based server as an IT cost-saving exercise. That’s why it’s critical to create, foster, and understand your cloud culture before the adoption process begins. It's also the reason why that process has to start at board level.
Getting the Right People, and The Right Skills in Place
Cloud migration and cloud service management require a particular skill set. That might mean you have to re-skill existing IT staff or create new cloud-specific positions. Some of the most common positions today are cloud architect, cloud systems engineer, cloud network engineer, and cloud security manager.
Whether you make new hires or offer to retrain, one thing is for sure: It isn't reasonable to expect an IT team that managed physical servers to understand cloud computing—at least until they have had some training.
Picking the Best Cloud Service Provider for Your Needs
Creating, understanding, and teaching your cloud culture is also essential because it leads to a more informed decision about which cloud service provider to select. Different cloud providers have different ways of working, and businesses need to find the one that they can gel with. All of them boast about being an extension of your IT team. If you're to take that claim seriously, you have to understand your team first and make sure you get the right fit.
At the end of 2018, Amazon alone had over 20 categories of cloud services and over 90 cloud-based products. Amazon is only one of many service providers in an already crowded market. Understanding your own cloud culture helps navigate this potentially confusing market. It also ensures that you make the right product and service choices for your business.
Working with a cloud provider that offers a vendor-neutral and flexible approach will ultimately make this a much more straightforward proposition. It removes many of the vendor lock-in issues that organizations worry about and allows a company’s cloud adoption strategy to develop and mature over time. For this reason, it’s worth taking time to research a cloud provider that works will all of the big names, including Apache, Microsoft, and VMware. Those leading the cloud adoption process should also make sure their chosen provider has the flexibility to allow self-management their own virtualized environments.
Cloud computing started life as a buzzword. Then it became a byword for cutting IT costs.
However, its ability to deliver managed services that impact almost every area of a company’s operations means that cloud computing now needs a vocal, knowledgeable champion at the board level. Someone that can implement the necessary new policies and best practices that ensure a smooth transition and help businesses get the best from cloud adoption — whatever form it ultimately takes for them.
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