Cloud Is Everywhere and the Challenges Are Growing

We outline the path to maximizing cloud’s potential

Research by CCS Insight found that by the end of 2021, one in four businesses will have more than 75% of their workload in the cloud. Cloud is a critical enabler of digital transformation and adoption was hastened by the pandemic as enterprises rapidly moved to remote working.

These organizations are discovering that the few main problems they once saw with cloud adoption — often security, governance and data sovereignty — have been replaced by many more that stand in the way of them maximizing their investment. At a recent round table, one of our colleagues heard from several large enterprises that they were seeing success from cloud, but felt there was much more potential they were struggling to realize.

In our recent report, Choosing the Right Partner for Cloud Modernization, we focussed on these challenges through our own research and by talking to enterprises from multiple industries and countries. We found 10 essential considerations for successful cloud adoption.

1. Cloud platforms offer an overwhelming choice of proprietary, third-party and open-source products and services that makes it difficult to find an on-ramp. Knowing what’s available and what’s most suitable for a given organization is vital to long-term success.

2. If large product catalogues aren’t intimidating enough, hyperscale cloud providers are constantly adding to them. This means that choosing the most appropriate subset of products and services something must be kept under constant review.

3. Most organizations will find themselves using more than one cloud. Multicloud strategies pose numerous challenges beyond choosing the right clouds and services, like identifying what workloads go where and managing the different environments.

4. Technology isn’t the only hurdle; the processes we apply to cloud platforms are essential to realizing its full value. For example, DevOps that often needs to span on-premises and cloud environments involves a host of processes and tools that must be knitted together in a way that best serves the organization.

5. The challenge of process extends further than simply IT operations. To be a DevOps organization requires change across the business. New roles will be needed to support new processes like DevOps and new capabilities such as automation.

6. One such new role will be in user experience. This area isn’t about making more attractive applications; it’s about choosing the right application to build in the first place, then crafting a solution that addresses the business problem in the most efficient way. User interface will require new processes, skills and roles.

7. Enterprises have IT investments spanning several decades, with many serving vital functions. Moving these to the cloud is difficult and, in some cases, may not be possible. Organizations will need to find ways to manage a two-tier estate, where they have older workloads running on-premises and new migrated workloads in a public cloud.

8. Value in the cloud won’t be optimized by just embracing the platforms. A cloud-native mind-set is a different way of approaching application development from design onward. New architectures are needed, and this requires a significant shift in the way application architects design new solutions.

9. Just because security and data privacy are no longer cloud blockers doesn’t mean the challenges have been resolved. Security is a massive responsibility that will fall to both the cloud provider and the organization.

10. There’s a danger that organizations devalue what’s come before cloud. This would be a mistake; there’s valuable domain knowledge and experience in the workforce that’s just as valuable as systems move to the cloud. This shouldn’t be lost in pursuit of the latest technology.

The breadth of these considerations is compounded by the depth of each area. Most enterprises feel the pressure to move faster; typical approaches to addressing any of these challenges would take longer than senior leaders are now prepared to accept. For many companies, the solution is partnerships.

We’ve found that partners with the ability to help not only with technology selection, but also with building processes and strategy present an attractive support option. Their experience in several industries can help to achieve more of the value that cloud has to offer.

Our report looks at how organizations should go about making the right choice of cloud consulting partner that can help them to optimize their cloud investments, and more importantly, prepare them for the future.