Cloud adoption drivers, as a point of discussion have been addressed repeatedly over the years, but I think it still worth revisiting this topic from time to time to remind ourselves of the potential cloud computing has for positive business change.

Conversations in this space often revolve around the three cloud pillars: agility, cost and elasticity. These three pillar eventually and invariably lead to a conversation about the adoption of Mode 2 DevOps methodologies or other workplace related topics.

For a refreshing change, I propose to elevate this conversation and review some of the top challenges we see our customers trying to achieve that a public cloud environment can significantly simplify.

We have spoken to literally hundreds of customers over the last five years about public cloud adoption, and there are some recurring themes around what IT teams aims to accomplish, and the objectives that are in order to deliver a modern IT service landscape to their businesses.

Each of these topics could be the subject of a book by themselves, but nonetheless, I will use this format to unpack the key elements of each of these and put forth a case where tje public cloud is well worth exploring as a possible solution.

Scalable, flexible and reliable hosting

The public cloud is a good way to address technical debt, fix faults caused by reliability issues and host workloads that have varying seasonal or time-based demands. We would highly recommend doing an assessment and a five-year return on investment exercise if you are about to spend cash on new equipment that has gone or is going toward its end of life, or is otherwise causing you pain.

The public cloud will also allow for the right sizing of workloads, so you can avoid investing in an environment to handle peak load just to have it sat under-utilised for periods of time. Once your business is functioning within the public cloud, test and development regions, for example, can be shut down, often for lengthy periods, which will save you money on compute.

Flexible and home working

Many organisations are unchaining their workforce from their desks and even their offices. A cloud-centric “smarter workplace” will truly allow for staff to access corporate data securely and in a controlled manner from any internet-connected device anywhere. Add to this powerful workplace automation and search and a reliable, secure and solid cloud identity, and your staff will be more productive, less inconvenienced and will be thanking you for years to come.

Rationalising and modernising the technology landscape

Is server and database sprawl a problem? Consider using a Cloud Transformation Programme as a mechanism to consolidate and transform. For services that are wedded to virtual machines, you can rationalise these workloads and databases onto fewer, larger machines. For services that can be adapted, a move to a cloud-native Platform as a Service (PaaS) will remove the need to manage a server at all and will allow for the consumption of services like web and SQL direct from the cloud vendor in an “as a service” manner.

For those of you investigating even more eccentric technology services, the public cloud can allow you to turn on rich IoT, Machine Learning, Blockchain and AI services for a very small investment while you work out ways to introduce these services into your enterprise.

Cost effective and sustainable

Most organisations are striving to be sustainable and everyone likes saving money. The Hyperscale Public Cloud vendors are building some of the best datacentres in the world and some of the greenest. There are massive economies of scale when you are hosting millions of virtual machines which allow you to spread the investment in efficient power and cooling over a vast geographical footprint and a large number of installed instances. These efficiencies allow for environmentally astute computing for a lower cost than an individual business can hope to achieve.

Better capture and use of data

Many claim that data is the new oil. Many customers know that there is a wealth of information and insights trapped in data they already have. Some even suspect that this data can be monetised and open up new revenue streams.

In this data space, the public cloud brings to bear an array of data services that would be costly to deploy on premise, especially without a clear defined benefit to underpin a business case. A much easier approach is to run some proof of concepts across a given data set and see what you discover. If you find something valuable, build an MVP to further explore and build this out to a production-ready service over time.

Improved Cyber Security

There was a time when the discussion was around whether the public cloud was secure enough. With adoption by the central government, the police and the military for certain workloads, this is far less of a concern to many.

Now public cloud vendors are bringing some exciting security tools to market that can help with both cloud based and on-premises based workloads.

Tools like the Azure Security Centre can bring SOC-like tooling to smaller organisations that have previously been unable to afford these types of service and businesses can roll out mature rights management and DLP tooling that would have previously needed specialist skills to deploy.

Microsoft recently deployed a comprehensive set of DDoS tools that work on Layer 3 and 4 network attacks through to Layer 7 with OWASP-defined threat protection priced on a per GB metric.

So, in conclusion. There are many and varied drivers for the public cloud, and your specific needs will be somewhat unique to your organisation. If you are early in your adoption journey, it is well-worth engaging with a specialist consultancy to unpack some of these drivers and align them with your IT plans and the business context in which these plans are formulated. The resulting cloud adoption road map will be an invaluable tool to steer the conversation.

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