Cloud adoption has been steadily growing for years. But COVID-19 took things to a new level.
Enterprise cloud infrastructure spend jumped 35% to nearly $130 billion in 2020. Over 40% of businesses say the pandemic accelerated their move to the cloud, while more than 90% revealed their cloud usage was slightly or significantly higher than they planned.
The trend of cloud migration isn’t expected to slow down following the COVID-19 pandemic. Fifty-four percent of respondents in a recent McKinsey poll believe that the increasing migration of assets to the cloud will continue.
But whether you’ve already shifted applications and workloads to the cloud or have plans to do so soon, be sure you’re doing so for the right reasons.
Far too many businesses move to the cloud for the cloud’s sake without first determining if it makes strategic and financial sense for their business (a big no-no). Before you make any moves, ask yourself these five questions to determine if your organization is really cloud ready.
Can you react swiftly to change?
Cyber threats. Unplanned natural disasters. Customers suddenly demanding more online services. These are just some of the agents of change that can significantly affect your business.
The most resilient organizations can – and are willing to – swiftly adapt to these changing conditions. For example, Amazon successfully went from being an online retailer to an e-commerce powerhouse and major cloud provider by taking advantage of changing technology and customer preferences. Meanwhile, despite inventing the digital camera, Kodak failed because it relied too strongly on an outdated business model and couldn’t adjust fast enough.
No company is too big to fail, and complacency and stubbornness have been the downfall of many big names. Being adaptable gives you choices and options, enabling you to roll with the punches as conditions change.
Do you have the skills to match the mission?
The skills needed for success in the cloud aren’t the same as those required to maintain traditional IT. Unfortunately, many organizations don’t recognize this skills gap until it’s too late.
Cloud platform expertise is where most companies struggle, according to 451 Research. Cloud-native engineering and security expertise are also areas of concern.
Some businesses choose to train their current employees to learn these skills, while others turn to outside contractors or hire additional staff. Using managed services is also another possibility. Each requires varying levels of resources, so it’s important to know what you can and can’t handle on your own.
All of which is to say that moving to the cloud is just the beginning. You need the right skills in place to unlock its true value.
Will it save you money?
Cost savings is a huge reason why businesses migrate workloads to the cloud. But what if you’re not actually saving money?
Companies estimate they waste 30% of their cloud spend on average. It’s actually closer to 35% -- which shouldn’t be all that surprising considering 79% of businesses say they struggle to manage cloud costs.
Ideally, you should devise a strategy to optimize costs before migrating to the cloud. This is done by assessing each workload and making sure they properly align with the business outcome you’re looking to achieve.
You’ve likely spent substantial resources on physical infrastructure and don’t want to waste that investment. Luckily, there are ways that you can advance to the cloud without abandoning existing infrastructure to salvage your previous investment.
You can save money in the cloud, but only if you move servers or workloads strategically and with a close eye on the bottom line.
Will you be able to transact faster?
It’s fair to suggest that moving to the cloud will automatically allow businesses to speed up certain processes. But which ones? And how much faster will they be?
A cloud culture enables automation, which lets you transact business faster. For example, providing customers with assessment reports may require hours of manual labor. Automating the process may reduce it to minutes. But it doesn’t end there.
Cloud native tools and services can help you develop applications quicker. You can also add and remove capacity more quickly and cost effectively than you can with on-premises solutions, ultimately accelerating your time to market.
While moving to the cloud can help you speed up older systems, you really want to key in on how the cloud can help you move faster. This will help you achieve your business strategies and maximize your investment.
Does it promote a better user experience?
No matter how you define “user experience,” you won’t necessarily improve it through a simple migration – it must be accompanied by the right strategies and business drivers.
For example, if you have a dispersed workforce, and you want to improve collaboration and communication, you might consider productivity tools like G-Suite or Microsoft 365. You can also enhance the customer experience by adopting better web services and analytics.
Additionally, you can improve your resilience posture by adding high-availability cloud features to your disaster recovery (DR) plan. This will strengthen your business and allow users to always access the tools they need.
It’s called a cloud journey for a reason
You shouldn’t move to the cloud just to move to the cloud. That’s how some businesses get into trouble.
Creating a well-defined plan built around your current and future business goals will allow you to maximize the value of the cloud. This is a journey, so don’t rush the process. Asking these questions is a good place to start.