Guest blog by Melanie Posey, Research Vice President and General Manager, Voice of the Enterprise, 451 Research.
In times of crisis, resiliency is the key to survival. The disruption generated by the global COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the drive toward a digital economy, forcing organizations to move even faster to transform longstanding ways of doing business. As organizations navigate the current crisis and position themselves to operate in the ever-changing ‘new normal,’ the ability to fully leverage the power of their business information is vital for adaptability and resiliency.
The cloud can help with facing these challenges by enabling the enhanced agility, scale and cost savings, as well as the improved performance or availability needed for rapid response and continuous improvement – which are nonnegotiable requirements for operating in an increasingly digital, teleworking-centric world. If your organization has not yet tapped into the power of the cloud, how can you get past the factors that are holding you back, and get to where should you start?
Planning and implementing your journey to the cloud is an important element in building a foundation for sustainable and resilient innovation and transformation. The cloud is now a mainstream application deployment option, with nearly 70% of organizations currently using SaaS, and 54% having implemented IaaS. In addition, 71% of organizations expect to deploy the majority of their workloads in cloud environments (both public and private) over the next two years.
Yet barriers to broader adoption of cloud-based infrastructure and application resource consumption persist, because traditional (i.e., non-cloud) IT environments remain the primary workload deployment venue for 43% of organizations. Factors that are currently inhibiting broader adoption of the cloud include lack of cloud platform expertise (46%), information security concerns (38%), and data compliance/governance issues (24%).
Some of the traditional reservations about the cloud have roots in the (erroneous) notion that the cloud is a ‘one size fits all’ proposition or is inherently insecure. The actual situation is considerably more nuanced, and the current crisis (as well as the broader business mandate for digital transformation) requires new thinking about how to unlock the power of information in ways that meet heightened expectations for speed, scale, responsiveness, operational flexibility and resiliency.
Our advice for overcoming cloud objections, as laid out in the following list, speaks to how organizations can incorporate the cloud as the operating engine for broader information-fueled business transformation.
- The cloud is not all or nothing: Proceed at your own pace. You have a range of cloud deployment options available for key digital economy applications such as enterprise information and content systems. Take an honest assessment of the cloud platform expertise in your organization, and determine the overall level of comfort with the cloud model. Then choose your approach: on-premises implementation with remote managed services; hosted private cloud (a managed approach that delivers application functionality as a finished product on the vendor’s infrastructure); public cloud (deployed as a self-managed service consumed through public cloud marketplaces or as a vendor-managed, end-to-end service); and native SaaS (consumed from the vendor’s own multi-tenant environment).
- Security-first: Tap into the data protection and compliance embedded in your vendor’s cloud environment. Take a security-first approach: Concerns about data and information protection in the cloud boil down to where the data resides, who has access to it, what the security measures are for at-rest and in-transit situations, and how extensive the offered SLAs are (infrastructure only or unified full-stack guarantees)? In self-managed DIY cloud environments, the onus is on the enterprise to recreate traditional security and governance frameworks for an off-premises virtual environment. But managed services or SaaS consumption of application functionality help shift the burden, providing scope for customized policy management in a secure, transparent cloud environment.
- Unleash the power of innovation: Enterprise information management + the cloud = organizational empowerment. Surviving and thriving in the digital economy requires the interconnection of IT resources, applications and data, as well as high levels of collaboration and alignment among multiple constituencies within the organization. Position your business information as a shared resourced that can be leveraged across the organization to facilitate real-time decision making, rapid iterative innovation, digital ecosystem development, and a continuous improvement approach to new products/services, customer engagement and distribution models.
Forward-looking companies aim to drive innovation, extend business value and differentiate from the competition, and look to the cloud to integrate information management processes and operations. The end result is the operational efficiency, enhanced scalability, and multilayered security and compliance needed to establish and maintain resilient business environments fueled by information and insight.
Watch the video below for more insights on building resiliency with the cloud.
 451 Research, Voice of the Enterprise: Cloud, Hosting & Managed Services, Budgets and Outlook, 2020
 451 Research, Voice of the Enterprise: Digital Pulse, Vendor Evaluations, 2019
 2020 Preview: A dozen tech predictions for a new digital decade
Melanie Posey is the Research Vice President and General Manager for 451 Research’s Voice of the Enterprise: Cloud Transformation offering. She focuses on tracking, analyzing and anticipating the pace and nature of enterprise cloud adoption. Prior to joining 451 Research, Melanie spent more than 15 years at IDC in a variety of roles, providing analysis, forecasting and insight for the cloud, hosting, datacenter, managed services and telecommunications markets.