I’ve been doing cloud for about as long as it’s been a thing and I’ve talked about every conceivable topic related to cloud and cloud computing. I repeatedly see enterprises looking to adopt cloud for the wrong reasons and in the wrong way. This blog post attempts to synthesize what you need to know about cloud and how to do it right.
Cloud Drives New Competitive Advantage
Enterprises look to cloud computing to achieve three things – agility, cost reduction, and future-proofing the data center. Unfortunately, I still see the majority of businesses focused on only one of these aspects, reducing costs, which is arguably the least important.
It’s well understood that we are in a highly disruptive period, where business models, technology usage, and market position are all up for grabs. The adapt or die adage is relevant to the most entrenched monopolies. Even huge telcos like AT&T, with massive barriers to entry protecting their marketplaces are making aggressive moves into cloud. They realize that cloud computing is more than just a combination of technology changes – its actuality more of a disruptive business model and a way to achieve competitive advantage.
If you aren’t thinking about cloud in this manner then you are simply doing it wrong.
You Can’t Cherry Pick Your Way to the Future
I’ve witnessed several organizations attempt to adopt cloud by building a VMs-on-demand system using VMware or OpenStack. The reality is that you can’t cherry pick some of cloud and expect to reap all the benefits. Quite the opposite. You have to go all in on cloud in order to create and maintain a competitive advantage.
The following warning signs indicate you are doing it wrong or cherry picking a solution:
- You are trying to “get a cheaper VMware”
- Reducing your “data center costs” is most important to your executives
- Doing private cloud first and public cloud later
- Teams engage in CYA and stalling tactics
- You are focused on more automation for second platform applications
- You think that third platform is a tiny fraction of your application needs
Success in cloud requires commitment from the C-level down to the data center floor. It requires aligning IT to the business, doing things differently, adapting and learning along the way. It means looking to the web-scale cloud pioneers for patterns that might be relevant to your business (e.g. Hadoop for analytics and ETL) or not being afraid to re-platform key applications.
Your Cloud Journey
If you are going to do it, do it right. Deploying your Vblock and calling it a day isn’t enough. Doing a couple of DevOps projects or deploying some NoSQL isn’t enough.
Companies that have deployed cloud right are gaining competitive advantage over their rivals in ways that matter. Cloud pacesetters are developing new business models, reinventing customer relationships, mining data for new insights, sharing data seamlessly and more importantly growing revenue and gross profit faster than other organizations in their respective markets.
Repeat after me: “cost savings is a side effect.” Say that over and over until you have internalized it.
Don’t let your competitors make you obsolete. Get cloud right and use the benefits to your advantage!
OpenStack Silicon Valley
As OpenStack matures and becomes an integral part of the modern data center operating, it is also helping organizations achieve competitive advantage. Join me at the OpenStack Silicon Valley August 26-27 to learn more about this topic and keep up with OpenStack innovation. This year’s hot topic is containers. And yes, clouds need containers!
Photo by Ilya Stechkin.