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Rethink the cloud

Unlock business value from Microsoft Azure

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By: Stephen Shannon and Gary Drennan

The pandemic has taught us that we need to embrace continual change. For many organisations, business has slowed significantly, while others have faced unprecedented demand. Accelerating the shift to the cloud and optimising usage of the cloud is key to rethinking how organisations operate.

Irish organisations are making strong progress in migrating their business to the cloud – with almost one in five (17%) ahead of their global peers, but there’s a long way to go. Only 36% of business workloads are currently in the cloud today. We take a look at the key components of a successful cloud journey.

Whilst there’s no best way to undergo a move to the cloud there are three key components to consider:

  • Optimise usage of the cloud and take control of costs
  • Accelerate your move to cloud adoption and business agility
  • Use modern architecture to accelerate innovation

Optimise is concerned with taking control of costs and reducing overspend. Accelerate is the act of moving all applications and workloads to the cloud. Most organisations will optimise first for maximum cost and consumption efficiency. Some will accelerate first for faster scalability, but every organisation must do both and use modern architecture to accelerate innovation and gain the greatest financial and business agility benefits.

Optimise the cloud

With cloud consumption on the rise due to remote working and changing consumer behaviour, costs can easily spiral out of control. The following optimisation steps should be viewed as a way to start unlocking more capability and business value from the cloud. Making the best of what you have allows you to start leveraging the underlying power of the cloud without overspending.

Focus on the quick wins first – There are many factors that contribute to overspending – for instance Virtual Machines are often not automatically switched off, and dev and test instances don’t get shut down. With a rapid assessment and initial focus on quick wins that allow you to consume on demand, organisations can see savings within two to four weeks.

Get visibility and control – Cloud bills are notoriously complex. Without visibility consumption can easily get out of control. Microsoft Azure tools can help you can gain true visibility on where you’re spending and why. We can help you create detailed analysis, powerful custom dashboards and built-in alerts, which allow you to quickly spot overutilisation and make informed choices.

Implement governance for sustainable savings/efficiencies – A lack of governance is a recipe for overspending. The key to maintaining control is through the definition of roles, approval and governance processes that are compatible with your business requirements.

Accelerate your move to the cloud

Those who have embraced the cloud are seeing how a strong cloud infrastructure and capability is key to building a more resilient core. The faster and more you move, the better you can respond to disruption, while also saving money on legacy infrastructure and reducing the burden of technology debt.

There is no time to waste. A resilient, secure-by-design cloud infrastructure is critical for scalability, reliability and responsiveness. Accelerating your move to the cloud will enable business continuity and make your business more agile, as will the act of moving data to the cloud and setting up a data foundation. We often see that shifting to the cloud opens the door to innovation for clients, and frequently prompts a wider business change.

Lift and shift

A ”lift and shift” allows you to emulate the environment you have today, but removes the intrinsic constraints of on-prem. Numerous organisations have tried to transform and become cloud native, but failed or slowed as uncertainty and indecision crept in. An IaaS approach gets you to the cloud, makes you more agile, and perhaps most importantly, gets you moving.

This is the start of a journey towards PaaS, building a foundation for the future while giving immediate cost, performance and resilience benefits. There is no better place to innovate, differentiate and elevate experiences than in the cloud. A fast start gets you closer to unlocking the business value of the cloud. Just don’t stop once you’ve started, and ensure you optimise along the way.

Use modern architecture to accelerate innovation

Organisations that want to move quickly should embrace a “sidecar” approach to new experiences and capabilities. A sidecar is a simple bolt-on way to add functionality to an existing application or system. Create a process that lives in the cloud and connect it to the core system, using our prescriptive architecture. Think of it as a way to benefit from cloud native features, without needing to modernise or risk the entire application.

Organisations that go through our modern architecture workshop will often quickly identify various business processes that could benefit from a focused solution like a sidecar.

The future may be unknown, but with access to a significant set of cloud services such as AI, cognitive services and advanced analytics, you can experiment, learn and pivot at speed without fear of breaking the bank as you adapt customer offerings and your product and service portfolio. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Be bold and consider what you can achieve in the future.

Contact us to find out more about how you can rethink to renew your approach to cloud.

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