Administration of applications, data, networks, and servers is not an easy task for enterprise IT. This makes IT infrastructure a foundation for the sustenance of a modern enterprise. Cloud computing-powered solutions have made IT infrastructure more scalable, manageable, affordable, and flexible. With a lot of hybrid infrastructure models coming up, enterprises are faced with the task of making sure that cloud adoption succeeds in delivering the promised benefits. In this guide, we will cover five of the strongest determiners of successful cloud infrastructure adoption.
Marrying cloud infrastructure to the bottom line
When you think of it, every enterprise purchase decision should be made with a strong focus on contributing to the bottom line in the long run. This is not a public agency and you are not a politician (well, most likely you are not), you cannot just spend money without considering the financial repercussions. No one wants to be fired or upset the stakeholders.
Cloud infrastructure is right up there; in fact, the bottom-line impact is the strongest driver of cloud transitions for many enterprises currently working on legacy systems. Here are some truths set in stone:
- The world might be headed to cloud solution A, B, or C. However, your enterprise and its IT infrastructure needs are unique, so map them to the right cloud solutions, not the most popular cloud solutions.
- Irrespective of the inherent awesomeness of the cloud solution you purchase, it’s your enterprise IT’s dedication to resource management that will create the desired impact on the bottom line.
- IT staff productivity enhancement and business process automation are the two pillars of success for IT cloud infrastructure transformations. An IBM study estimates that cloud engagements can deliver up to 30 percent productivity boost to IT teams.
- Applications, databases, processes, and analytics — all need to (at some point) fit in well with the cloud infrastructure, to deliver the much touted advantages around cross-departmental collaborations, customer engagement, and super smart data-driven and real-time decision making.
Acknowledgement of security as an enterprise-level responsibility
Moving from on-premises hardware-based infrastructure to cloud-powered infrastructure also entails a whole new set of information security challenges and considerations. In fact, security of enterprise data hosted on the cloud used to be the biggest hurdle in the way of cloud adoption. Today, cloud service leaders invest heavily in ensuring cutting edge, world class, and ever upgrading data security across cloud-based solutions and services.
From an enterprise perspective, the move to cloud-based IT infrastructure needs to be accompanied with a realization of the need for an enterprise-wide commitment to data security best practices. Even industries handling highly sensitive data, such as banking and health care, have become heavy consumers of cloud solutions.
They do so backed up by their strong data security practices. Encryption keys, multifactor authentications, user training, data backup and redundancy, periodic health checks, compliance with regulatory and industry-standard systems (such as HIPAA for health care), and working with certified cloud vendors — all makes for a wholesome, secured, and safe approach of endorsing cloud solutions.
Strengthening your existing IT infrastructure
Unless your enterprise is working with highly outdated IT infrastructure, it makes sense to adopt a phase-wide cloud infrastructure approach. The focus needs to be on strengthening and solidifying existing IT infrastructure with thoughtful, modular replacement of components by cloud-powered alternatives.
When you choose cloud infrastructure solutions, consider aspects such as:
- How well do they fit into the current IT infrastructure mix?
- Do they leverage the latest hardware and software solutions?
- Do they leverage the power of virtualization?
- How important or desirable is the business benefit associated with this transition?
Remember — the goal is an IT infrastructure that delivers high availability, network and data security, mobility, and terrific user experience, and cloud is just an enabler of it, and not a goal in itself.
Leveraging cloud-powered flexibility for remote work
The flexibility that cloud-powered solutions can deliver is often regarded as a massive driver of cloud adoption. However, a surprisingly small number of enterprises actually think on the lines of leveraging the flexibility to change the way the workforce works.
Digitization of work, advancement in virtual private network services, the BYOD concept (bring your own device, which is not the same as bring your own lunch, so you do not want to mix that up Joey from “Friends,” OK!?), geographically separated employees working on same team — all these are the realities shaping the way of work in modern enterprises, and cloud infrastructure can help companies create major cost advantages by reorganizing workforces.
For instance, cloud infrastructure helps companies enable teams to work remotely, in a secured manner, and collaborate on documents, work files, projects, and apps, without any deterioration in the quality of work. Cloud empowers virtual desktop infrastructure, and cloud-based project management and document-management systems enable large-scale scope for employees to connect and work remotely, creating opportunities of significant workspace cost savings for companies.
And no Rocky Balboa (from “Creed”), the cloud is not a cloud in the actual blue sky. No reason to look up!
Conventional IT infrastructure leaves enterprises with the task of picking its own poison among options such as:
- Invest in small-scale infrastructure and make it work in spite of the obvious bottlenecks, only to disrupt things while scaling up later.
- Invest heavily upfront in large-scale infrastructure solutions, absorb the hefty costs, and run the risk of being left with an elephant (a metaphor for a system that is heavy and cumbersome) when competitors leverage more advanced and agile solutions.
Cloud solutions solve this problem, but enterprises still need to decide among private and public cloud solutions. To make the deal sweeter, enterprises are increasingly aligning themselves to the idea of hybrid cloud infrastructures, wherein they make use of public cloud solutions to handle heavy workloads, and use private cloud to manage mission-critical workloads.
This gives them the right balance of control, cost advantage, scalability, and flexibility. This approach is all about making private and public cloud systems work in tandem, using encrypted connections that make application and data portability easy to manage.
The cloud is powerful, but migrations are not easy (well unless you have a giant land bridge like the one that existed 16,000 or so years ago as did the Bering Sea Bridge did and even then it was not easy to cross, but this is another topic). This guide helps you make sure your enterprise’s cloud infrastructure adoption is quick, successful, and breezy — OK, let’s not get carried away, but certainly easier and much smoother!