Cloud is no longer an experimental technology; it is now the default platform for IT in the business world. Cloud infrastructure and services drive efficiency and increase productivity across an entire organisation and provide a platform for digital transformation.
The benefits of cloud have long been recognised by businesses of all sizes, but recent events have reinforced the necessity for modern infrastructure that can support entirely new ways of working.
Worldwide expenditure on public cloud services increased 6.4% during the first quarter of 2020 and analysts expect total spend to exceed that of traditional infrastructure across the full year. Another global study suggests 59% of enterprises expect cloud consumption to exceed predicted levels prior to 2020.
Digitisation is no longer desirable, it is essential. Organisations that maximise existing investments and identify new ways to empower their business through the cloud will be in a better place to meet the challenges and harness the opportunities thrown their way.
At the risk of stating the obvious, the more workloads that are migrated to the cloud, the greater the potential benefits of adoption – both in terms of cost and capability.
Traditionally, the role of the IT department has been to provide and maintain the systems necessary for the rest of the business to function. Businesses now regard technology as a vehicle for genuine business change and expect the IT department to perform both functions without necessarily increasing its budget. The cloud gives IT departments the time and the budget to fulfil both these tasks.
One of the main ways cloud infrastructure aids digitisation is to allow data to move freely between applications, users, and devices. This portability empowers digital applications – such as automation tools that perform repetitive, time-consuming tasks, and connected workforce platforms that make staff more collaborative and productive regardless of location. Applications powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) require huge volumes of high-quality data to be useful.
Cloud provides the necessary scale and availability to support these use cases, coupled with advanced capabilities that would be impossible or impractical to develop in-house.
As cloud adoption increases, so do the cost efficiencies that can be generated. Upfront costs and total cost of ownership are lower than with than with on-premise equipment and organisations have the ability to scale up or down. Cloud adoption also removes the risk of not being able to meet demand due to insufficient resources and ensures that businesses are not left with the operational costs of maintaining hardware during fallow periods.
Not all workloads can be migrated. Organisations in highly regulated industries like healthcare or finance will need to keep some workloads on-premise for compliance reasons and others may need to maximise existing hardware investments.
A hybrid cloud strategy that combines public and private cloud technologies with on-premise infrastructure allows businesses to manage workloads across multiple architectures with software-based management tools that create a consistent IT environment.
This ‘best of both’ approach ensures the flexibility and cost-efficiencies of cloud do not come at the expense of control and compliance. As many as 87% of enterprises now have a hybrid strategy in place.
A multi-cloud approach adds further layers of customisation and optimisation. The mix and match of different public clouds allows organisations to benefit from competition in price and take advantage of each platform’s respective strengths. For example, one platform might be best suited for AI workloads while another might have a superior IoT offering
Vendors invest billions in services and capabilities, so it makes sense to ensure workloads are running on the most suitable platform. This allow organisations to extract the maximum value from their data and create more powerful applications.
Multi-cloud also avoids vendor lock-in and further reduces the risk of service disruption.
While hybrid and multi-cloud approaches can be highly beneficial organisations do also need to avoid unnecessary complexity that could undermine any cost savings. If cloud accounts for a greater proportion of IT expenditure, then procurement has a greater impact on both the IT department’s activities and the wider organisation. It is a responsibility to scrutinise spending and be sensible.
European Organisations spend an average of £29.5 million on cloud services but 30% of this spend is underutilised through a lack of optimisation and visibility. Two fifths of European businesses (44%) say they have difficulty in determining whether public, private or hybrid cloud is the best fit for a particular workload.
There are ways to overcome any lack of visibility or skills shortage. Public cloud vendors offer native optimisation tools to identify the best architecture for any given workload. These reduce the risk of storing archive data on expensive but immediately accessible cloud-based solid-state storage. Such services can be completed using third-party services that analyse workload performance to optimise cloud consumption.
A trusted partner can combine these technologies and help organisations devise a strategy that maximises efficiencies and cost savings. A partner can also assist with migration and provide ongoing support, allowing organisations to successfully navigate the world of hybrid cloud and realise their digital transformation ambitions.
More than half of businesses believe systems integrators that can build hybrid data environments will deeply impact the future of IT.
Find out how Insight can help your organisation make the most of cloud.