It’s easy to see why most companies are going down this route: it provides maximum flexibility to pick and choose the best capabilities of each provider while also optimising cost and creating competitive tension between suppliers.
The choice and innovation provided by cloud now spans far beyond public cloud; companies are taking advantage of a new continuum of hybrid services spanning public, private, edge, own infrastructure and various permutations in between.
Innovations that were once found only in public cloud are now available in fully private clouds, providing organisations with the ability to spread workloads, software and data across multiple locations while meeting data sovereignty obligations.
However, the effect on IT organisations is that they have had to quickly transition from managing legacy infrastructure to becoming experts in orchestrating cloud technologies and integrating them with their existing infrastructure.
This pace of workforce change needed has proven very challenging in the context of a hot market for skilled staff.
New challenges from increased cloud adoption & technology
Multi-cloud has great promise, but the pace of adoption of new cloud providers and technologies poses a new set of challenges for IT executives.
CIOs report ever-increasing KPIs and an assumption that digital experiences will always be delivered frictionlessly, now that limitations of legacy infrastructure have been lifted.
The truth is that while infinite scalability and optionality of multi-cloud provide great advantages, they also introduce new challenges. The added number of providers, APIs, infrastructure types and locations have brought with them a great deal of management complexity.
IT has had to become completely decentralised. There is no longer one or two company data centres where servers, applications and physical infrastructure can be easily tracked and administered.
Instead, company IT assets can now be virtually anywhere, with different control planes, making them more complex to deploy, monitor and manage.
Line of business executives are also demanding the flexibility and short lead times of “As a Service” (aaS) and “Infrastructure as Code” (IaC). Again, these can be spun up quickly without the traditional CAPEX and build lead times of past decades, but also require new skillsets to manage effectively.
Every organisation is competing hard to attract the right staff while also “keeping the lights on”. Having time to train existing staff is out of the question for many organisations that are already experiencing excessive IT workload.
Avoiding cloud pitfalls
A well thought-through IT infrastructure strategy, taking into account a full cloud roadmap, can deliver immense benefits to organisations.
However, there are a number of key pitfalls that organisations in the Asia Pacific region frequently grapple with:
Being tied to company-operated data centres. Legacy investments with long ROI timeframes may be perceived as ‘committed’ expenses.
Owned hardware assets. Hardware purchased with a three to five year depreciation plan or lease contracts tie up budget that could be otherwise used to move more rapidly to cloud.
Software licences. Many organisations spend 35-55% of their IT budgets on software, some of which is likely redundant, especially if the organisation is siloed and lacking in enterprise-wide IT governance.
Mainframe legacy platforms. Many organisations’ business critical processes are still operating on long deprecated mainframe platforms like Cobol, CICS and DB2. Significant modernisation is needed to bring these processes over to a scalable cloud platform.
Talent debt. With the explosion of digital technologies, many companies are struggling to continuously upskill or attract new staff with the right skillset.
When building an infrastructure strategy, it’s also essential that organisations don’t rely on individuals to manually provision services in such an environment of added complexity.
The company’s multi-cloud platforms must be consumable, automated, and ready to support DevOps.
The infrastructure options should be supported by an enterprise network that is seamlessly integrated, secure, and software-driven to be able to quickly address human, physical, and digital aspect of the workplace.
Properly planning and executing a multi-cloud strategy enhances organisations’ competitive advantage by focusing on continuous innovation, automation, and optimisation. This helps companies keep pace with change and enables rapid digital transformation.
Organisations with properly planned multi-cloud strategies are succeeding in increasing their competitive advantages in areas such as omnichannel digital engagement with customers, AI/ML driven business processes, frictionless remote work and faster app development times with DevOps.