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Cloud-led transformation takes centre stage

Cloud-led transformation takes centre stage
(Image credit: Pixabay)

Cloud computing is now nearly quarter of a century old, and it has finally landed in almost every enterprise strategy. While cloud adoption has gone mainstream, it continues to be discussed at board rooms and technology symposiums where the question asked most often is - how do we scale up to drive the next stage of the digital transformation journey?

The question is relevant to nearly every organization – whether they have a high adoption of cloud or a moderate one, or are still aspiring with low adoption. It becomes even more pertinent in view of the disruption that digitally native start-ups are causing, pressurizing traditional businesses into looking at cloud as a key enabler of digital transformation. With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, cloud is additionally being looked at as the foundation for a resilient business that can support anytime, anywhere infrastructure and applications on-demand.

Gartner Inc.’s annual global survey of CIOs survey reveals that cloud computing is amongst the top priority areas where most CIOs will increase their investments in 2020, with the global market expected to reach $445.7 billion in 2022.

What the next stage of transformation in the cloud entails and the implications this will have on organizational transformation moving forward?

Transformation across applications, data, and infrastructure

Enterprises must look at creating cloud-powered future as-a-service by bringing transformation across applications, data, and infrastructure. Cloud, is the lynchpin that empowers companies to embrace new and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, internet of things, big data analytics, blockchain and edge computing.

The first approach to leveraging cloud is to rejuvenate the core. There are five key areas that enterprises must look at in order to strengthen their core with cloud capabilities. This would help them reduce cost and technology-related debt.

Datacenter consolidation

As organizations grow by expansion or acquiring other businesses, they often end up with multiple datacenters. To avoid unutilized capacity, duplication of assets and expensive staffing, datacenter consolidation is a good strategy. The on-going pandemic highlights the importance of moving datacenters to the cloud as workers are increasingly not able to operate in on-premise environments.

By moving to the cloud, organizations will find it easier to manage the various components of their IT infrastructure in a centralized single cloud. You can hear about the advantages of a consolidated datacenter strategy from one of our clients.

Application landscape rationalization

As organizations assess their applications to separate the obsolete from the critical, cloud can support the rationalization efforts. With applications moving to the cloud, companies can change from a CapEx to an OpEx model adopting the pay-as-you-go option. It also reduces the datacenter footprints, computing, and cloud storage overhead.

Any increase required in an application’s bandwidth owing to an increase in the number of users is borne by the cloud provider. Similarly, troubleshooting and support become easier with the cloud service provider stepping in.

ERP modernization

IT managers are increasingly moving away from hosting their ERP software on on-premise or local servers, no longer worrying about safety as they realize the cloud offers better security and compliance moving with the current times. Most cloud service providers offer environments that are integrated with risk and compliance systems and are certified for mandatory government regulations.

Moving to the cloud allows IT managers to provision additional resources in network, compute, and storage as and when there is an increase in demand. This brings resilience and scalability that is hard to match in an on-premise setting.

Adopting industry vertical solutions

A market research study places BFSI, healthcare, IT, telecom, and retail as the leading adopters of cloud. Other industries may not be leading but enterprises from nearly every segment are using cloud in some way. Choosing an industry focused cloud offering ensures that the specific needs of the sector are taken care of. For instance, banks may need cloud to lower their costs and ensure it is reaching remote populations. Manufacturing companies could be looking for speed and accuracy. While, the ask in healthcare is for safety and compliance.

Database as a service

As organizations consolidate their datacenters, progressive companies will look at managed database services as their next initiative as it allows them to setup, operate and even scale cloud databases without worrying about implementing backup, resizing clusters, or other implementations. This results in increased agility, security, reliability, and performance of applications.

Investing in the future

Investing in the future implies focusing on hybrid, multi cloud environments to leverage the best of the breed offerings while ensuring cloud portability and avoiding vendor lock-in. It is about the ability to hyper scale and being able to manage security in a complex cloud ecosystem. Organizations are choosing between cloud-native and cloud agnostic strategies or even going with both the approaches. All this with an objective to monetize data, elevate the customer experience through customization, and enable technology-driven business innovation.

As result, it becomes imperative to spend on a cloud orchestrator that can build, operate, and manage the hybrid cloud ecosystem. Adopting a polycloud architecture can help enterprises switch between providers with ease and minimum cost. Considering an open source platform can give enterprises the option to develop an app and run it in any cloud location – public, private or on premises – ensuring true interoperability while also taking care of all the security standards and best practices.

As the future landscape becomes increasingly complex, organizations must shift their expectations towards business outcomes, and digital transformation through the cloud can be the game changer.

  • Umashankar Lakshmipathy, Senior VP and Regional Head - EMEA, Cloud, Infrastructure and Security Services, Infosys Limited.