Various forms of cloud computing are among the top three areas where most global CIOs will increase their investment next year, per Gartner estimates .
At this point, cloud adoption is mainstream. Building, implementing and maturing cloud strategies will continue to be a top priority for years to come for enterprises, as mentioned in a Gartner press release .
We have observed that most of the RFPs (request for proposals) received in the last year at Wipro, whether related to ADM (application development & maintenance), managed services or modernization, have a cloud component embedded in some way or the other.
Looking at widespread cloud adoption, the key challenge for enterprises would be to ensure right cloud strategy creation along with continuous measurement & optimization post implementation to fully realize the cloud benefits. An additional challenge lies in leveraging the latest CSP (cloud service providers) capabilities that get enhanced frequently.
Cloud strategy varies
While Cloud is inevitable, the adoption strategy may vary for organizations depending on various aspects like usage patterns, compliance requirements, nonfunctional requirements, infrastructure investments, technical debt and cloud economics including others.
It is being observed that the expiry term of a data center (mostly third-party owned) contract also affects the cloud strategy making data center exit one of the major forces driving cloud adoption. Time-bound datacenter exit leads to “migrate first and transform later” strategy, enabling a relatively quicker cloud implementation for enterprises. This strategy however doesn’t exploit cloud benefits to the maximum due to associated time constraints and the way cloud services are consumed.
Another widely used strategy of “transform while you migrate” leads to a modernize-first approach, which enables enterprises to leverage cloud wherever it adds value in the modernization journey, through various service models like SaaS, PaaS, BPaaS and others while minimizing the usage of IaaS.
The “Greenfield cloud native” smart application development strategy helps enhance user experience. It also supports the digital business model for a new organization or an existing organization venturing into a new business model or rewriting existing high business-value legacy applications to support/unfold growth avenues. Mobile, analytics, IoT and cognitive capabilities provided through a cloud platform support the shorter time-to-market objective with add-on DevOps tooling for frequent releases of features enriching user experience and new functionalities.
Amalgamation of the above-mentioned strategies is a path generally traversed by enterprises for steady and selective cloud adoption based on characteristics of individual application as well as by evaluating relevance of cloud in achieving business goals. Wipro’s Cloud Studio helps in evaluating the customer’s IT landscape to devise a cloud strategy based on multi-faceted discovery & assessment.
While enterprises create a cloud strategy to focus their efforts on select business goals, they need to continuously monitor and optimize cloud implementation as well as continue their journey toward modernization to realize the envisaged cloud benefits.
Cloud benefits – ‘start with the end in mind’
While large cloud migrations are underway, it is critical to set goals and measure their success to maximize benefits. Benchmarking as-is state and identifying success criteria is essential for making informed investment decisions. Knowing when to expect what benefit and planning investment accordingly is very important for any cloud initiative.
Let us look at typical benefits organizations expect with cloud adoption:
It is not feasible to realize all of these benefits from day one of cloud migration. Moreover, it’s a journey comprising various stages to really maximize tangible and intangible cloud benefits.
Gartner estimates that organizations that have done little or no cloud cost optimization are overspending by 70% or more hence it is critical to keep measuring various parameters.
To measure and realize benefits, one must define goals and measurement parameters for cloud implementation, which would potentially need the following aspects considered:
Identify key business drivers and define goals
Based on their vision, enterprises need to identify the key drivers for cloud adoption. Some key driver examples can look like: ‘I need capability to deliver my core services, agility to react to market changes, and improve reach and recurrence of my customers’. ‘I need my business services to be delivered consistently and be secure and compliant’. ‘I need the capability to quickly implement innovative ideas with fail early, fail cheap enablement comprising automation apart from others’.
The business drivers that have been identified need to be broken into goals to be tracked basis parameters like: Improved customer experience, improved service availability, improved cost tracking & controls, TCO reduction including others. These goals shall be aligned with measurable parameters as detailed in the next section.
Measure important parameters
While there could be many parameters to measure, enterprises need to shortlist and prioritize the ones that align with and help track their identified business goals. Benefits realization is a journey with milestones on timescale based on defined priorities and investment undertaken.
The table below depicts many such parameters that enterprises need to shortlist based on their priorities. This can enable them to plan investment based on complexity involved and the cloud maturity stage at which these benefits can be realized. For e.g. provisioning time is reduced as soon as cloud use is started, without any investment, because cloud by default provides quick infrastructure provisioning. Similarly, for automated provisioning, some investment is required to create templates, blueprints or scripts. Another example could be the ability to use adaptive architecture which is achieved with significant investment in modernizing the technology stack & architecture. The table below describes few benefits parameters and aligns them with the maturity stage based on when these benefits can be realized.
Table-1: Measurable parameters in relative terms of time & investment required and maturity stage (Please refer to Gartner definition of cloud maturity stages)
While parameters in the above table are shown on a maturity stage/timeline basis, it is not necessarily a sequential path. Enterprises will need to run parallel streams wherein some applications will be transformed to cloud native (cloud enhanced) while other applications may just be re-hosted on cloud and stay there without any transformation. Another set of applications might start as cloud-enabled and over a period of time, attain a cloud-enhanced stage through phased transformation. All these paths need to be justified based on business value of the application and amount of investment they deserve.
Define Success criteria for each benefit parameter & track them
For an application, the shortlisted benefit parameters will need to be chased against success criteria defined on the basis of maturity stage and investment planned. While not all benefits are tangible, they do contribute toward some tangible parameters that can be measured. The table below depicts examples of benefits and aligns them with the maturity stage.
While the above table touches on only a few parameters, there are many more which need to be measured and tracked to ensure success of cloud transformation. We work with customers through our Cloud Studio framework to identify, define and measure various parameters for cloud transformation aligned with the customer’s business priorities.
 - https://gtnr.it/2MEYbaZ
 - https://gtnr.it/36kZeEA
Principal Consultant, Cloud Technologies, Wipro Limited.
Lalit is an AWS & Pivotal certified architect with multidimensional Cloud experience including cloud services building & monetization for a major cloud service provider as well as cloud native transformations & migrations for large enterprise customers across industry domains.