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Why Acting Like You Were ‘Born in the Cloud’ is Key to Digital Transformation

Innovation Executive Forum | Posted on August 22, 2019 by Karen Bader

There are two kinds of cloud enterprises. Those that are “born in the cloud” — have come into being without ever owning a data center. And those that are migrating to the cloud, piece by piece, with varying senses of urgency and speed.

These two groups are quite different on the surface. The born-in-clouds (BICs) have a reputation for being the disruptors, and an appetite for failing fast and on-demand infrastructure. The others are the traditional IT organizations, formed with decades of rigorous governance and budgeting procedures that are often far slower and less agile, by nature.

But here’s the thing — just because you weren’t born in the cloud, doesn’t mean you can’t act like it. In fact, for many businesses, moving to the cloud is just as much about changing the way a business is run than it is about where the workloads live. Cloud migration is a fundamental shift in budgeting, operations, strategy, and services.

So, with all that said, we think there are a few key considerations every traditional enterprise should keep in mind as they make their move deeper into the cloud.


It’s a hybrid world — and it will be for a long time

There is no doubt enterprises are increasingly migrating to cloud infrastructure. But, at least for the time being, traditional IT budgets are still where the vast majority of budgets are flowing.  Gartner reports traditional IT spend on hardware and software will make up 72% of budgets through 2022. Meanwhile, private cloud investments are growing extremely fast, with a 49% YOY spike in 2018.

So, for the time being, organizations still need to figure out how to master capital expenses as they continue to shop for their own hardware. And that means you will need the expertise and insights to effectively purchase, maintain, and secure these investments for the foreseeable future.

Traditional IT has advantages over born-in-cloud

It’s worth pointing out that BICs have their own unique challenges, which are less of a concern for traditional IT. For example, when your entire IT infrastructure is delivered via on-demand, consumption-based services, staying on top of those costs is far more complex than it is with traditional, mixed-premises enterprises. If they do not have the right tools or expertise, BICs risk overspending, price locking, and inflexibility. Traditional IT might have the same challenges, but they are less exposed, more free to shop around and create robust consumption estimates, before leaping into the cloud.

The cloud also comes with its own set of privacy, security, and compliance considerations, which can be harder to face for BICs. For cloud-first businesses attempting to disrupt highly regulated industries, for example, they might have a disadvantage over more traditional IT organizations. Traditional enterprises have often built up years of trust and accountability, with both regulators and consumers. They also tend to map out their exposures from the start, when planning a new cloud project, taking care to deeply understand their shared responsibilities with cloud vendors.

Pick your purpose for cloud

You can have your cake and eat it, too. Many of the world’s most rigid, regulated organizations are starting to adopt cloud-first strategies for specific, strategic facets of their business. These traditional companies are able to create startup-like divisions that are built on the cloud, to quickly and effectively adopt new business models. For example, the Australian government doubled down on cloud to power cutting-edge genomic research.

What new opportunities or disruptive business units could you put 100% in the cloud, without having to completely rewire the rest of your organization?

New skills and partners needed

With the shift to cloud, comes the need for new skill sets and also new strategic partners. You will have to shift away from traditional, three-tiered maintenance, in favour of cloud-native, multi-talented IT pros who can manage multiple environments at once and who are comfortable with the shared responsibilities that come with teaming up with cloud vendors. You will also need to rethink how you purchase and implement IT investments. This might mean shifting away from a partner who only knows how to sell hardware and software commodities, to one who understands cloud business models to give you the best value and strategic impact.


What’s next? 

While there are two kinds of companies in the cloud, each has something to learn from the other. Born in the cloud organizations need to face the risks, real and perceived, of having all your eggs in the off-premise basket. Meanwhile, traditional businesses need to embrace the best of both worlds. For them, they will need to pursue the cloud in a mixed approach. To succeed, they will determine the ideal business case and evolve their skills and partnerships to act as if they, too, were born in the cloud.

Need help planning your move to the cloud? Learn more about Softchoice’s cloud services, today.


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