10 Nov 2022
by Ben Scowen

Baking with cloud: a recipe for success (Guest blog from Kyndryl)


Authors: Ben Scowen, UK&I Cloud Practice Lead, Kyndryl

Digital transformation; a phrase which has been all but inescapable since its conception. In today’s digital age, keeping up with your competitors means utilising technology to fundamentally change how your business operates.

Put another way, think of digital transformation as the process of reimaging your business in the digital age. Cloud computing on the other hand is a foundational technology that accelerates digital transformation and organisations are quickly realising its benefits in terms of speed and flexibility. As a result, its usage is snowballing. A recent survey found that a whopping 93% of businesses are planning to adopt either cloud or hybrid-cloud,mix of private cloud on-premise coupled with public cloud, within five years.

But how can SMEs prepare a recipe for cloud success? The constant churn of cloud is exponential and the choices can be overwhelming. To help with this, I like to think of the cloud as a supermarket. Just as a supermarket has more and more products coming into stock every month, the cloud constantly has new services being offered, meaning more choice to build new things. It’s important to remember that a chef would never cook with all of the ingredients from a supermarket, but pick and choose to fit the recipe, just as IT teams need to pick and choose which cloud services are adopted. 

Chefs (and IT teams) need to plan their ingredients and how they fit into the overall recipes. The trouble is, teams often tend to focus just on the recipes, e.g. the APIs, integrations, application, etc. You need to take a step back and also consider your restaurant and the equipment used to cook the recipes. Just as IT teams need to consider what cloud capabilities and tools are required to deliver their digital use cases, and how they can help them achieve their overall business objectives.

While it’s essential to nail down the recipes, only by looking at the whole picture can you figure out what works best and ensure your organisation builds an effective cloud strategy.

Leave it to the professionals  

The way that organisations have traditionally handled their cloud is shifting. Some companies are very much cutting out the middleman and “cooking at home”. They are just using whatever ingredients they have already to cook themselves. Cloud is amazingly versatile in this respect. Even those with less expertise can take advantage of the cloud and build things very rapidly. The issue always arises when it comes to scaling, de-risking and economising the solutions.

Organisations need the ability to increase or decrease IT resources as needed to meet the changing demand. This is where the DIY solutions fall down. If you’re creating one-off recipes, then this method is fine. However, for organisations that need to consistently mass produce digital use cases that achieve their business outcomes, this simply isn’t going to work.

Why cloud and why now?

Of course, cloud computing is by no means a new venture. However, in the current global economic uncertainty and the rising risk of recession, the pressure is on to maintain performance and cloud is here to help.

In an economic downturn, cost cutting is inevitable. Whether it’s company-wide layoffs or reductions in capital spending, businesses must pick and choose back to dial back if they are to survive. In these uncertain times, when businesses are fighting to maintain margins and stability, cloud technology investment can seem like another item to push to the backburner. But we know from experience that doing so slows business, makes it harder for employees to carry out their jobs, and ultimately hurts the bottom line.

Not only is neglecting cloud risky as economic uncertainty increases, but investment may actually be a key strategy for avoiding calamity.

Just as a chef will use a unique set of ingredients and methods to see success in their restaurant, IT teams also need to consider which cloud components and capabilities are needed to feed into their wider business goals.

Taking advantage of the cloud

When it comes to achieving success with a scalable cloud solution, there are four main areas which organisations need to focus on:

  1. The organisation – what type of operating model are you going to implement. Think about, new ways of working, the teams you need and their skills. How are you going to optimise your costs? How are you going to manage upgrades and introduce new technology over time? What is your approach to security and resilience? There are many things to consider.
  2. The platforms – what types of platform are going to give you a competitive advantage? You’re only going to use a subset of the cloud and you need to find a distilled version that will be used by your teams to migrate workloads and create new digital use cases.
  3. The recipes – Recipes are critical to standardising and accelerating the delivery of your digital use cases. Just as recipes help create consistently great food. What are your recipes and what platforms do you need to scale and derisk their delivery.  
  4. The data – Just as in restaurant feedback gives you insight to make things better, it allows you to make more profit and increase revenue. IT is not different. Consider and use data at scale.

While there are many factors to consider, the benefits of adopting a cloud approach are undeniable. Organisations simply need to dedicate the time and effort to find out what works for them and how they can apply it to their operations.

Just as a chef will use a unique set of ingredients and methods to see success in their restaurant, IT teams also need to consider which cloud components and capabilities are needed to feed into their wider business goals. Especially in a time of great economic uncertainty, investment in the appropriate channels will be more essential for survival than just blindly cutting costs.

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