This is the third of a series of blog posts discussing the five main considerations critical to successful cloud adoption by enterprises. If you missed them, the previous posts are here.
Today’s topic is about a common anti-pattern that we see – when organisations see cloud adoption as primarily a technology problem to solve.
Working on cloud has become great CV fodder in the last few years, and so everyone wants to work on the new cloud implementation project and get exposure to the new technology. Obviously enterprises want to harness this energy, but there is a trap, and it comes back to the need for a cloud adoption strategy and an underpinning business case – i.e. why are you doing it. Is it to become the world’s leading authority on cloud computing? Should your organisation be focusing its energies on its core business operations, markets and customers, or pushing the envelope with ground-breaking cloud implementations?
Technologists (and I’m counting myself as one here) love this stuff – introducing complexity, sometimes at the cost of the original business goals. So consider the following questions…
How many cloud providers do you really need?
A common emerging enterprise adoption pattern is to manage multiple cloud providers via a brokerage solution that gives a single point of control across them. It’s a valid strategy, but do you really need this? Is it to reduce the risk of lock-in? For vendor negotiation leverage? The risk here is that a great deal of complexity (a barrier to the very agility you are trying to achieve) is introduced, leading to a “lowest common denominator” set of cloud services and a maintenance nightmare as you engage in a never-ending and never-winning chase of the cloud vendors’ latest feature releases.
Do you really need internal/private and public cloud offerings?
In the enterprise market, we could perhaps characterise the last few years as being very focused on private cloud, as the traditional hardware and software vendors desperately tried to defend market share from the public cloud usurpers. Now the tide is turning more in favour of the public cloud providers, but there is a massive inertia in large enterprises towards on-premise initiatives hence, for example, Microsoft’s focus on positioning for hybrid cloud with Azure Pack and Azure Stack. This is understandable – there’s typically a huge data centre investment, and an operating model that has been painfully refined over the years to feed and water that investment.
So ask yourself these questions:
- Are you reinventing something that already exists from the public providers?
- Are you pursuing an evolutionary step that you can avoid?
Are you really that unusual?
A common statement we hear is “ah, but we are unique/different” – but we would argue that this is rarely the case. It can certainly be true in the SaaS adoption case, but is much less likely to be the case for IaaS services. If this argument is used to justify custom development for cloud services, be suspicious. It’s unlikely that AWS and their kind have not solved all these challenges already, and if they haven’t, ask yourself why they haven’t…it’s likely because it’s not a genuine need.