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Are you using cloud for the right things, done the right way? 

Sep 12, 2023

Cloud is a vehicle for enterprises to re-invent how they use IT and create completely new revenue streams. When you get it right, cloud will start your journey to adventure. However far you want to go; however high you want to reach; cloud can take you where you’ve never been before. Yet, it isn’t always plain sailing and getting the value from cloud can be challenging. Common reasons for failure include not focusing on what matters most or doing things the wrong way. In this first of three articles, we explore the principle of using cloud for the right things, done the right way. A very simple principle that, if applied correctly, will deliver the anticipated return on investment, and ensure you achieve extraordinary things with cloud.

The journey towards cloud has been a rollercoaster ride for many organizations. The allure of accelerating digital transformation with the speed and agility that cloud provides has been too tempting to ignore. However, as the dust settles, it’s clear that the road to cloud is paved with challenges that have left some businesses disillusioned and struggling with skyrocketing costs, lack of skills, and inadequate integration. The harsh reality is that migrated legacy workloads have simply shifted previous issues to the cloud, leaving organizations wondering if the promise of cloud was just a mirage. Some have even resorted to repatriating their cloud environments, a humbling experience that leaves them grappling with the costs of failure.

Nonetheless, the business value of cloud computing is irrefutable. From cost savings and increased resilience to business agility and the ability to leverage data and insights at speed, cloud is living up to its promise at many levels. And with Gartner forecasting that worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services is set to grow 20.7% from $490.3 billion in 2022 to $591.8 billion in 2023, it’s clear that many organizations continue to be optimistic about the opportunity for a brand new start once they’ve shaken off the shackles of old technology,

Yet, to achieve the anticipated gains and transformational business value, we’re seeing an increased cautiousness as organizations look to learn from the lessons of cloud migration over past years. CIOs and CTOs are taking the lead on this matter, evidencing that this is an executive-level topic. Enterprises remain positive about the potential gains offered by cloud but also now understand that the old operating models don’t work if you want to realize the full benefit of cloud. The question emerges of what should be done to steer cloud investments and initiatives towards a solid return on value. 

Organizations can apply the hard-earned lessons of those early migrations to real scenarios aligned with business priorities to reap huge value from cloud adoption. The key is to choose the right things to invest in and accept that cloud represents a wholly new model for business. Start where you need it the most, e.g., in areas with a high degree of change. Indeed, cloud adoption requires a new mindset that acknowledges the complexity in all dimensions. Organizations that embrace the cultural challenge with an approach built on ‘the right things, done the right way’ are better equipped to realize the true potential of cloud and take their digital transformation to the next level.

Cloud used for the right things

What do we mean by ‘the right things’? Cloud is a strategic imperative. Indeed,Gartner believes that more than 85% of organizations will embrace a cloud-first principle by 2025. However, trying to do everything at once with a big bang cloud transformation is fraught with challenges. A better – and ultimately more successful – approach is to prioritize your strategic ambitions and then decide on the right things to transform first with cloud to deliver on those priorities. Remember, cloud is a means to an end and not the end itself.

In the majority of organizations, CTOs and CIOs have recognized the importance of this alignment between their cloud strategies and their business strategies. Identifying what you expect to achieve with cloud – and what you can continue doing the same way, for the moment, at least – is the first crucial step to unlocking the full value of cloud as an accelerating pillar of digital transformation.

And, of course, every organization has its own priorities in terms of what cloud should deliver. These might range from protecting the enterprise, enabling greener IT, and creating value from data, to improving time-to-market, reducing costs, and achieving scalability.

Once you’ve established your priorities – and identified the right things to transform – the next step is to deliver the sought-after outcomes with cloud ‘done the right way’.

… done the right way

Cloud demands new ways of working. New governance models. New processes. While cloud technology enables organizations to operate in a more agile and responsive manner, it requires teams to adopt new workflows that can keep pace with the speed of cloud-based innovation.

Cloud also offers new capabilities that require new skills, such as DevSecOps ways-of-working, infrastructure-as-code for automation, compliance, security design, machine learning, serverless computing and API and network integration. Decentralized work is made possible by cloud, but it requires new ways of collaborating and releasing new or enhanced products.

Current processes for ensuring security, privacy, and compliance with data and privacy regulations also need to be adapted to a cloud way of working, as well as leveraging all the powers of cloud in an economically feasible way. On this latter point, the way cloud services are consumed and paid for is fundamentally different to how traditional datacenter services are consumed and paid for. This has led to surprises for many organizations in terms of the cost-levels of consuming cloud services.

If greener IT is a key priority, you might need to establish green policies for IT services. Or perhaps cost reduction is a strategic focus, in which case the use of cloud cost calculators for estimating future costs in areas such as storage, computing resources and network requirements could be part of your new way of working. Taking on board all of these considerations will help to create ‘the right way’ to do cloud.

Look out for…

When you use cloud for the right things, done the right way the promised benefits of cloud quickly accrue. Look out for the next article in this series, in which we will dig deeper into the ‘right things’ for cloud.

Article series

Meet our expert

Ruben Olav Larsen

Head of Nordic Cloud Center of Excellence (CoE)
Ruben is an experience cloud architect and the Head of Nordic Cloud CoE at Capgemini. His primary focus is helping customers with their cloud transformation journey and leveraging cloud services in an optimal and cost-effective way to maximize business value. Ruben has over 15 years of experience as spanning development, cloud engineering, cloud architecture and advisory, including FinOps.

Mattias Persson

Chief Technology Officer, Nordic Cloud CoE
Mattias is the CTO for Cloud in the Nordics with a focus on creating business value from cloud technology. His expertise is defining and driving cloud transformation, including defining an enterprise cloud strategy, cloud-native infrastructure, target operating models, DevSecOps enablement, application modernization and migration. Mattias has 20 years of experience as an Enterprise Architect and IT Strategy Consultant and holds architect certifications in AWS, Azure and Google Cloud.