Why Fight the Battle Against Cloud instead Transform your IT Organization

Over the last year, as the CEO / Co-Founder of JetSweep, a Cloud and Analytics Solution provider, I have had the pleasure of meeting hundreds of Business and IT professionals.  In the course of these conversations, several constant themes resonated from my interactions with clients, prospects, partners, colleagues and friends. The themes we discussed were consistently prevalent, dependent on which side of the pendulum and adoption curve these folks resided. Without question, cloud computing was always part of the discussion.

On the one hand, organizations born in the Cloud, those that have limited hardware or server infrastructure (think Airbnb) are looking for advice and guidance as to cloud best practices, cost optimization and emerging cloud innovation and value add services.   On the other side of the spectrum, we still see a large number of organizations that have yet to even entertain cloud as a consideration.

At one such customer, the VP of Global Data Center Operations at a billion dollar plus hi-tech manufacturer informed me he has yet to formulate a cloud strategy. When I pushed him further, he stated that he was just too busy with several acquisitions and the data center integrations that would follow. I told him that would be the perfect opportunity to dip his toes and gain a thorough understanding of the pros and cons, by working with us on a Cloud Economics TCO Analysis and Cloud Strategy Assessment.  At the very least, this approach would jump-start the process so when the CIO, CFO or CEO inevitably asks him what’s his Cloud Strategy, he has a tangible plan.   When I pressed him further, I got the feeling that he was being somewhat protective of his turf and livelihood. This makes perfect sense, change is difficult, many folks running IT organizations have only known the traditional On-Premise or Hosted Data Center World.  Cloud is new, and for many, the Cloud is scary.

In the 1920’s the average time a company spent in the S&P 500 was 67 years, today it is less than 15 years. In 1980, phone booth manufacturers did well, so did telephone operators (you remember calling information), what about DVD sales – you get the point. We all realize Technology Innovation has increased the speed of change in all aspects of life. Moore’s law has been surpassed in the evolution of how we all do business. Twenty years ago, most folks had the weekends off, today you would be hard-pressed to not receive emails over the weekend and not have to deal with work in some capacity – like it or not.  Just four years ago, Taxi Medallions were going for over $1.3 Million in NYC, today most are struggling to give them away. A little company called Uber leveraged the Cloud, and disrupted an industry that had not changed in 80 years.

Unless your core business is related to hardware, servers or data centers, you should not be building or managing data centers.  There are at least three very large organizations that do it very well, in fact, better and cheaper than anything you can compete with – I know this, because prior to founding JetSweep, I came from a Hosted Managed Service Provider and we could not compete with AWS from a cost or efficiency standpoint.  In fact, there is a growing list of Cloud Providers both public and private that should suit your requirements much better than you could on your own or with a traditional hosted model.

However, there is a bigger, even more significant point here!  Cloud Computing is changing the way companies have supported their Technology needs for the last 50 years and it will allow you to evolve your role and fit within the Modernization of IT, but first you need to get your arms around Cloud, and ultimately embrace it.  In the next several years, Informational Technology Professionals will have the ability to transform how they are viewed and how IT is seen by the rest of the organization. Typically, Information Technology attracts some of the smartest and most capable people, yet, in most organizations, IT is seen only as cost center and in most cases that would be accurate – a necessary, albeit expensive cost of doing business. With Cloud Computing, IT has the opportunity to transform itself into a nimble more efficient organization that can create additional lines of revenue for the organization. How might you ask is this possible?

In 2015, IDC did a study (Quantifying the Business Value of AWS) on a cross-section of AWS Customers ranging from several hundred employees to over 20,000 employees. All of these customers run a significant portion of their business and operations on AWS.  On average, they were running 41 business applications in the AWS environment and relying on 1,366 virtual servers with Amazon EC2. The IDC Article was interesting in that I anticipated the Financial Benefits of which there were many, but was surprised by the fact that all of these organizations listed the opportunity to open up new revenue streams as one of the more important business value considerations of AWS. These organizations universally credited AWS with providing them the agility, scalability, reliability, and confidence needed to create and address business opportunities, and better serve their customers. In addition, improved performance of important workloads and applications – including cloud, analytics, and mobile workloads – meant that their employees had become more productive. Improved performance results in higher employee productivity, more satisfied customers, and higher revenue.

Not everything is perfect in the Cloud, and without serious planning, the Cloud can be costly and difficult to manage from a governance and policy perspective.  There is also a shortage of skills within large organizations as well as a bias to use public cloud resources due to the fear of security concerns. Cloud Management is a must, just ask anyone that has put a workload in the Cloud without understand the pricing dynamics and use of RIs (Reservation Instances). At Jetsweep, we leverage CloudHealth to empower our Cloud Managed Services Program.    As IT is in the midst of the largest seismic shift in history, impacting how IT and Data Analytics solutions are built, Information Technology professionals need guidance in adopting technology in their journey to become digital and analytical oriented enterprises.

Trying to fight cloud computing by making comparisons between the cost of running an internal server versus the cost of a cloud-based instance is off-the mark.  Unless the cloud numbers are significantly higher, there are many attractive aspects to cloud economics, such as flexibility and agility, that would cause senior management to view it as very desirable.  A much better strategy would be to identify the decision criteria for determining whether a given application should be hosted internally or could be moved to a cloud environment.  With a defined program, a portfolio analysis can be undertaken to make a set of recommendations and create a short and long-term plan. I recently spoke to a $4 Billon Dollar Medical Devices company that justified to me that his internal servers are cheaper (due to the deep hardware discounting). Long-term this is a losing strategy, and reminds me of arguments we’ve heard by other groups within an organization — just before their responsibilities were outsourced to providers who offer subscription pricing, transparency, and ease of use.

There is no correct answer when choosing to maintain data and applications in-house, in the cloud or hosted.  Many organizations may find that some data and applications are low impact and relatively easy to transition to the cloud, like a new Web App, Mobile App or Analytics Dashboard.  Other, mission critical, data and applications may be best kept hosted, in-house or in a private cloud.  It all depends on the business you are in, the data you possess, and your comfort level with the public cloud and your service provider.  Most importantly IT Professionals, of all ages and perspective, need to take the leap. As organizations adopt the cloud, the cloud will enable organizations to evolve, the cloud is not going away. That leap may be different for every organization, however, having a well thought-out plan of action and metrics behind the plan will put you ahead of the Cloud Revolution.

 Chris Barbanti is the CEO & Co-Founder of JetSweep.  JetSweep www.jetsweep.co is a Strategic Cloud and Analytics Solutions Provider with deep expertise in Managed Services. JetSweep provides transformative business and information technology solutions in the areas of Cloud Strategy, Cloud Enablement, Cloud Management, Business Analytics and Modernized Data Architectures. At JetSweep, we work with our clients to help them visualize and prepare for the challenges in the changing technology landscape and provide clear and concise strategic roadmap solutions. 

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