Most organizations are using the cloud for some of their business processes and services. But piecemeal adoption of applications has led to inefficiencies, management problems, and an overall lack of visibility across the IT infrastructure.
The result is stunted cloud growth. Though 90% of organizations say they feel more confident in using cloud technologies than at any point in the past three years, only 44% have achieved large-scale cloud adoption, according to a 2019 Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO survey.
“For many organizations, living on the cloud just happens. But if they make it an integral part of operations and business goals, it will streamline efficiency, improve services, and transform the business,” said Priya Emmanuel, Managing Director of Cloud Strategy and Transformation for KPMG.
Here are some of the ways organizations can harness the cloud and manage it centrally to optimize its benefits.
Centralized Management: Greater Efficiency, Better Pricing
Managing multiple clouds and vendors separately creates inefficiencies that may not be visible to managers in a scattered environment. For example, a data analytics team may be running workloads 24/7, when it really may only need to run a few hours a week and the rest of the time, underlying cloud resources can be turned off. If such workloads are optimized to run as needed across the enterprise, and teams have increased visibility, then up to 45% of unnecessary cloud spend could be scaled back,” Emmanuel said,
To solve this problem, organizations should select a primary and secondary cloud vendor instead of allowing cloud solutions to accumulate haphazardly. This helps the organizations have better will have oversight across the multi-cloud, multi-vendor environment, ensuring compatibility and eliminating redundancies.
Selecting a strategic (primary and secondary) cloud vendor(s) also gives organizations better pricing power, Emmanuel said. “Adopting solutions piecemeal, you’ll be paying a variety of prices to different vendors. But if you identify the strategic cloud platform vendors you want to use, and have good understanding of the workload roadmap, you can better negotiate your cloud enterprise agreements with your longer term needs in mind and elicit better pricing.”
Central management also makes provisioning much faster and ensures that standard policies are automatically set and enforced throughout the organization. Following different sets of protocols for different vendors can be confusing, leading to misconfigurations and security gaps that companies aren’t aware of until it’s too late. “Having a unified security protocol is key to keeping the business safe,” Emmanuel said.
Agility and Collaboration
Business-managed IT is a fact of enterprise life. Even at organizations that forbid it, 62% admit that it exists, the Harvey Nash/KPMG survey found.
With centralized cloud management, business units can innovate using the latest tools without jeopardizing security or creating conflicts with existing enterprise apps. For example, if an organization uses Microsoft Azure as its primary cloud, the licensing agreement gives teams access to a host of resources—including low- and no-code applications like PowerApps— that they can use to design new applications and customize local workflows.
“Using cloud-enabled low code tools which are now becoming part of IT approved toolchain for the enterprise, typically encourages more citizen development of applications, while providing opportunities to increase productivity without causing the problems of traditional shadow IT,” Emmanuel said.
A common set of tools also allows workers to collaborate better across teams. “Internal collaboration increases efficiency, but without unified tools, the process is often broken,” Emmanuel said.
The recent pandemic has shown organizations that create a cross-enterprise virtualized environment can bring remote teams together and enable the entire organization to function more smoothly. Even after offices reopen, geographical distribution will continue to grow, increasing the need for unified cloud resources, Emmanuel said.
Deeper Customer Insights
Having a well-managed cloud allows organizations to remove data from silos and gain a deep omnichannel view of customer behavior and preferences. With these insights, companies can better tailor products and services to customer needs, increasing satisfaction and boosting sales. A strong cloud foundation also enables businesses to use AI and machine learning tools to serve customers faster while consuming fewer resources.
Cloud optimization has made a real difference for organizations during the pandemic. “Our clients with cloud enabled omnichannel interactions have weathered the crisis better than others. Improving the customer experience in times like this will result in more profitable growth for these organizations,” Emmanuel said.
Businesses continue to expand their application portfolios because they have seen first-hand some of the efficiencies the cloud can bring. By taking a centralized approach to cloud development, they will multiply these efficiencies many times over, generating new insights and making processes smoother both within the organization and for their customers.
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