Cloud – Demystifying the hype
Traditional computing, with its pesky in-house servers, USB sticks and VPNs, is slowly becoming a thing of the past as businesses build their IT systems in, or move them onto, the cloud. It’s a burgeoning market that was worth $246.8bn in 2017 and is still growing by 40% each year.
Amazon, Microsoft and Google have spent nearly a decade building their cloud infrastructure capabilities – Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud – becoming joint market leaders and effectively the only players in the game. Yet even with its more mainstream nature, the cloud can seem opaque even to seasoned technologists.
For the big picture on today’s cloud market, you can read our regularly updated State of the Cloud explainer here .
In this piece, we are asking questions about when and why people make the move to the cloud. What’s their motivation and more importantly how do they do it successfully?
Pitfalls and potholes: The rocky road to the cloud
The big platforms are readily available to use for anyone with a credit card. So why hasn’t everyone just jumped ship or at least started experimenting? The reality is, just because the cloud is available at the click of a few buttons, making the move is rarely a simple or quick process. Here are some of the most common reasons cloud projects fail or take more time and money than people initially think:
- Cloud platforms do not feel. They simply are. So, expecting them to help users foresee how cloud will impact the people at their businesses will end in disappointment. A good partner puts people right up there with the bottom line.
- They are complicated and tricky to navigate. The big three have huge scale but they have left the end user with so much choice it’s paralysing. Amazon Web Services has more than 60 different products, and many of them look and sound very similar to each other. There are eight options just for cloud storage!
- Clouds move fast. All those R&D dollars mean new innovations and updates are coming out all the time. Everything is constantly in flux and it’s up to the user to keep up to date.
- Going it alone is less cost effective than people think. Though platforms only charge for the space, bandwidth and tools needed, there is generally only a saving if you know exactly what you need at a very granular level and have planned its implementation several months ahead.
- It takes an average of 15 months to migrate an application to the cloud. Those wishing to stick to timelines need a solid understanding of the different services and providers available, ensuring projects don’t overrun by weeks or even months.
This is not to say it’s impossible for an organisation to successfully make this transition alone. If a business has the scale to invest in an in-house team of cloud specialists, then it makes sense to go direct to the providers. Without that expertise, however, navigating cloud platforms and migrating systems is risky. With long project timelines to contend with, a mistake can be expensive. It’s good to have an experienced guide to help you on your way.
Plotting a course: successfully making your journey to the cloud
There are a growing number of cloud consultancies out there that can help you migrate your business-critical applications and systems to the cloud. Thanks to industry standardisation and maturity, any certified infrastructure partner of Amazon, Microsoft or Google can do the technical work required to implement a cloud solution in your business and create a roadmap for change. They often try and map organisations onto a “cloud maturity model” which is often nothing more than a technology-led benchmarking exercise. At Wirehive we take a more human view.
We’ve come across all levels of support requirement. In our experience, a CTO of a blue chip can have the same as a developer at a start-up if they’re motivated to move to the cloud in a similar way. Across the broad spectrum of organisations we’ve helped to make their journey to the cloud, there are four scenarios where people evaluating cloud technologies tend to find themselves. They all benefit from using a cloud consultancy in one way or another, but all need a different approach to ensure long-term success.
“My business has an application, website or business system that needs migrating to and redeployment in the cloud to stay current and competitive. I am willing to do what needs to be done and get the best out of the cloud platform that is best for my challenge.”
This personality wants to know that any partnership is going to be run efficiently and deliver tangible business benefits. Pragmatists would do well to choose a partner who not only has the experience to get the best out of a platform, but will present an objective business case for change. Seek out partners who offer transparent pricing and discrete deliverables, so you’re not tied in to using them for implementation and support if you’re not happy with the initial consulting engagement.
“I want to take a first step into the cloud by running a single campaign or project, so I can understand how to move more core systems later on. I want to use this as an education for me and my team so that we can fully embrace the cloud and all its capabilities.”
A partner that can teach a solid grounding in cloud workflows will be the most useful to the pioneers among us. By educating as well as implementing the right partner will help someone who wants to explore the possibilities of the cloud and be upskilled at the same time while ensuring the first project is delivered successfully.
“I realise the technology landscape is changing but I’m sceptical that cloud is required for the long-term success of my business. I need to explore the options with unbiased advice from people who know more about it than I do.”
Someone who isn’t entirely convinced that working with cloud is the right path needs a partner who can build trusting relationships. One that starts with the business challenge not the technical options and lays out the hard facts to help Sceptics make a balanced decision. This kind of personality should look for consultancies who are commercially savvy, technology agnostic and have trusted certified partner status with all three of the big cloud providers.
“I’m not sure what cloud is really. Other people in the business and suppliers are telling me it’s the future but everything seems to be working fine right now and I don’t know enough about it to even begin making a decision.”
When you don’t know the first thing about cloud, but you keep hearing a lot of intimidating hype around it, a consultancy that takes the time to explain things in a natural, human way is a valuable asset. If a partner thinks about how these services impact people, then the mystified and the bamboozled will get an explanation that actually means something to them and their teams, rather than a reel of jargon. Any talk of benefits should first explain how cloud impacts people before technology.
The key thing to remember is that cloud is not an easy beast to tackle. No one looking for a consultancy for help should ever feel like an idiot. A good partner will have empathy with their clients and will explain things simply and without condescension.
A human approach
Pragmatist, Pioneer, Sceptic or Mystified. If you would like to talk to someone about working with cloud, whatever the question, give us a call on 01256 560 565 or send one of our approachable experts a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wirehive is one such cloud consultancy that helps forward-thinking organisations make their journey to the cloud. Working in partnership with the world’s leading cloud providers – Amazon, Microsoft and Google – along with running our own UK-based public cloud, we’re on a mission to help businesses solve the technology challenges that come from operating in a digital age.
If you need some help with cloud but think the whole process should be more human let’s talk about how we can work together.