The cloud is not for everyone but assessing your ‘cloud readiness’ probably is (Guest blog from Splunk)
Author: Kirsty Paine, Strategic Advisor, Splunk
How to unlock some of the value of the cloud - without moving a thing
Yes, it’s not a popular title during Cloud Week. Saying the cloud is not for everyone? But what about the hype; the unparalleled benefits to your business, your staff, your technical posture, and more? Aren’t you supposed to float up with the actual clouds once you have made the idealistic jump?
Well, no. Welcome to reality; welcome to the buzzkill blog. There are many reasons you might not think the cloud is for your organisation. And I’m not here to change your mind. Having thoroughly rained on the cloud parade (and mixed up my weather analogies again) I could end this blog here, but… indulge me.
Instead, I’m here to say that the preparation for a digital transformation alone is worth doing, whether you actually transform or not. It’s a great forcing function to look at your maturity, IT hygiene and processes with a fresh perspective. Even better, you could also discover which of the many benefits from “cloud thinking” you can bring to your on-premise deployments - without moving a single thing to the cloud.
Wait, why prepare for something you have no intention of doing? Sounds like a total waste of time.
Great question, so let’s discuss a non-cloudy analogy. Say you were going to run a marathon next year (I know, but let’s just pretend for a second here). What’s stopping you? It could be:
- Concern about being able to finish it
- Lack of time to work out or lack of physical fitness
- Lack of inspiration and little knowledge of the benefits
- No knowledge on how to train for the challenge
- No-one who would run it with you… and so on.
Luckily for you, you don’t have to run a marathon. But thinking about it even briefly made you look at your fitness, support systems, your available leisure time, your self-belief and your capacity. These are all lifestyle factors that it’s good to take stock of occasionally, so let’s view the question and exploration as a forcing function - it makes you assess your current state.
Considering a move to the cloud is a forcing function too. So - seriously - why aren’t you moving to the cloud? What are your list of reasons? Some will be the same as not running a marathon, but some won’t be. What’s your assessment of your estate, needs, and user base? Do you know the time it would take, what you would move first, the data handling requirements and access policies to implement, the way your staff would adapt and re-skill? By seriously considering a cloud migration, you could discover opportunities to level up your organisational hygiene. For example:
- If your staff do not have the right skills and experience, this could be just the catalyst to encourage retraining and rethink your recruitment needs - perhaps it will even give you access to more experienced staff.
- If you don’t know what you would move first, this could be the inspiration to prioritise, think about the 5 most important systems first, make a robust inventory of assets or really understand how your users interact with your systems.
- If you don’t trust the availability of the cloud, this could be the excuse you need to re-assess the contracted SLAs of your infrastructure suppliers and ISPs, or re-architect to have a separate, highly available network for your most critical uses.
- If you can’t see a clear path to transition your existing complex capabilities, this could be a great opportunity to investigate moving to a loosely coupled architecture, and understand how that shift could transform the skills and knowledge available in your organisation to support and extend existing capabilities.
- If you have concerns over who will have access to the data in the cloud, what a great motivation to look at your internal data protection processes and really understand who has access to what data in your organisation today. This could be a chance to introduce or tighten access controls, introduce personnel vetting procedures, or just be realistic about your insider threat exposure - helping you to benchmark expectations for your supply chain.
Fantastic, but where to start? After reading this blog, I suggest you take a few minutes to following these steps:
- Write down the three biggest reasons that prevent you from moving to the cloud.
- Take this list, and challenge yourself with what you really mean by each issue - e.g. for “data sovereignty”, do you mean data handling, data control, regulation, or a mix?
- Enumerate where else those issues are adding stress - e.g. in data sharing, organisational agility, staff workload - and realise what opportunities you could be missing, now and in the future.
- Consider how much of your list is special to your organisation, and what inspiration you can gain by looking to other enterprises and how they did it.
- Start small with your list, and iterate through these steps to build it up over time.
To summarise, considering any transformation often shines a light on pinch points and difficulties that would otherwise be dormant, unseen, and unchanged until it becomes critical - and the move to cloud is no different. Pretend you’re on the journey to gain perspective on the full impact of these issues on your digital transformation. Understand what benefits you could still gain without moving to the cloud, and use that fresh perspective to prioritise your interventions. This is why the cloud is not for everyone… but assessing your ‘cloud readiness’ probably is.
Cloud Week 2022
We bring you news, views and insights from the technology sector on what cloud computing can enable in the UK