The term cloud computing dates back to the early 90s, but didn’t see widespread use until 2006, according to a TechTarget article on its evolution. It’s clearly transformed most aspects of the business landscape in a very short time. Because it continually evolves, it’s still a term with broad definitions fostering different perspectives on what it is and how to use it for business outcomes.
One of the best ways to get a foundational understanding is to look at and dispel 5 lingering misconceptions about the cloud. This is only part of a longer list of important misconceptions you, as an IT leader, must dispel to gain the support of stakeholders. It is often these and other misunderstandings standing in the way of using the cloud to improve business processes, end user collaboration, and customer experiences, among other tangible benefits.
#1: Cost savings are the biggest benefit of the cloud
The idea of lowering Opex with cloud is one of its most repeated benefits, but it’s not the biggest by any means. Like all things IT related, cloud benefits must be based on specific business outcomes which are part of a cloud strategy, and there can be more than one desired outcome within that strategy.
Increased business agility, faster time to market, and improved customer experiences are actually bigger benefits than cost savings. But that doesn’t mean they don’t also hold cost savings along with revenue growth. The best approach to the cloud is to work backwards from specific business outcome goals to develop a strategy where:
- It can be determined which applications and workloads bring the desired outcomes if placed on-premises or in a particular cloud environment.
- You determine if your current infrastructure will require modernization to support this hybrid cloud approach and if there are alternate ways to save costs that allow you to modernize in place without legacy technology being a roadblock.
How you can use data and data sets and how their use via AI/ML is just one growing example. But to get the business benefits from these approaches must start with application assessment of interdependencies and storage governing the data.
On-demand infrastructure access, compute provisioning, storage flexibility, and database services, are just some benefits bringing bigger gains than the easy opportunities of cloud cost efficiencies. Hosting costs savings represent a small fraction of revenues compared to these broader potential business effects from cloud. Cost savings can be a major secondary benefit when we talk about moving from an on-premises enterprise application to a SaaS application. This can bring significant cost savings along with the greater benefits of operational efficiency, increased access, and scalability that lead to:
- Better and quicker business decisions through analytics
- Faster time to market
- Increased innovation
- Improved client/consumer experiences and new services
- Entry into new markets
All this drives revenue growth opportunities that make the business more competitive. They are all connected because defined business outcomes are the driver rather than just IT efficiencies.
#2. Cloud migration is too difficult
Many stakeholders see cloud migration as a hard process that will disrupt the business, take a long time, and provide uncertain benefits when completed. If you’re an IT leader, getting stakeholder support comes down to having a clear migration strategy based on specific business outcomes that speak to the concerns and in the language of business leaders.
It can seem daunting to develop a long-term cloud strategy that encompasses different migrations over time, but with the support of an experienced cloud transformation and management partner, you can develop an integrated approach to all aspects of the cloud from migration to team and end user educational support to application modernization.
This approach shows how and where you can harness the specific business outcome benefits as a part of a coordinated plan and implementation. This approach is what will save time and money while reducing risk and increasing specific business benefits today and tomorrow.
#3. Bad application architecture is automatically fixed by the cloud
While there are many application migration methods, too many businesses still look to the lift and shift method of migration with expectations the app will work better in the cloud. The truth is it takes some level of re-architecting of the application to get the real benefits of moving it to the cloud.
The challenge for many IT leaders is the time, personnel, and potential risk these processes entail if your team hasn’t done it before. Today, there are methods for application modernization such as the leapfrog approach to get to a cloud-native application architecture. This approach is faster, works on your timetable and without the need to replace legacy infrastructure. This enables you to take legacy applications (often living on mainframes) to a place where containers, microservices, and serverless computing can deliver the greatest business benefits from cloud-native.
#4. You must transform every application to get cloud benefits
It’s important to remember you don’t need to transform every application on a code level to get the most benefits from the cloud. Not every app is suited for or needs to be cloud-native since options like refactoring can deliver immediate benefits with limited time and resources needed to the process. As we’ve discussed, you can switch some on-premises applications to a cloud-compatible software as a service (SaaS) solution. This can provide greater scalability, better cost control, and automatic updates from the SaaS provider, among other benefits.
#5. Everything in the cloud is cloud-native
There are a lot of misconceptions about what cloud-native is and isn’t. Many definitions of cloud-native don’t help because they use broad terms without explaining specific architecture. That doesn’t mean the definition is not true. It just means many stakeholders think in business terms, which makes it difficult to grasp the business benefits or how it works from the definition.
Because cloud-native involves application architectures, cloud platforms, and a wide set of tools, most definitions opt for a higher viewpoint to be brief and deliver an overall descriptive definition. An InfoWorld article correctly defines “cloud-native as a modern approach to building and running software applications that exploits the flexibility, scalability, and resilience of cloud computing.”
The article also cites the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) which also correctly defines cloud-native technologies as enabling scalable applications in modern environments like public, private, and hybrid clouds. It’s easy to understand the truths about cloud-native applications, but it takes more time to explain them. The bottom line is there are changes that must take place to:
- An application on a code level
- The development of a cloud platform designed for cloud-native
- The tools used to develop a cloud-native application and environment
- How the application runs in the environment
- New tools for orchestrating, managing, and deploying the application in the new environment
In our two-part blog post titled “Why Does Cloud Native Development Matter,” you get a full understanding of what differentiates cloud-native applications and environments from just putting applications in the cloud. You come away with an understanding of how it can profoundly affect your business outcomes in various positive ways.
We can easily understand the truths about cloud computing and a little more time makes the nature of native applications and environments clear. It is the process of implementation that can be complex and difficult to get right. This is the reason why a diverse set of enterprises have turned to Techolution. Our team provides that needed experience and expertise that ensures the implementation delivers the desired business outcomes.
Another big misconception is that cloud-native is a one-time shift. The truth is it requires a change in how the business thinks about the cloud, applications, and development. The shift enables enterprises to satisfy business outcome needs today and plan for projected business outcome needs down the road. This gives your business a highly interconnected approach where technology and infrastructure evolve to meet innovation and changing business landscape needs.
There are many more misconceptions about the cloud still holding sway over decision makers across enterprises, but they all are merely mental barriers stopping innovation, growth, and increased competitiveness. As an IT leader, you have the dual challenge of making the case for how cloud can benefit the business to stakeholders while also ensuring your IT team has access to the skills and experience in cloud to make those benefits a reality.
At Techolution, being a partner to the organizations we work with means understanding how they work, what they believe in and where they want to go. This approach enables us to work with them collaboratively to define how best to get there with the cloud as a foundational component to building a digital business that is one step ahead of competitors and change. To learn why you should partner with Techolution on a clear cloud strategy, visit our Cloud Services page.