In my last blog I addressed cloud as the engine of disruption and how start-ups leverage cloud to build business models that challenge established companies.
One common complaint I hear from established companies is that their legacy systems and applications do not allow them to utilise the benefits of cloud. Starting with the point of view, "they can't" is a defeatist attitude and also not true.
I have a lot of patience and understanding around debating cloud strategy and the best way for businesses to begin their journey but no tolerance for the "we can't" discussion.
This goes back to one of the true values of cloud; being able to fail fast, iterate and drive the outcomes you want from your infrastructure strategy. Based on that real world you can now make the right decisions around your strategy and whether it is either two-speed or parallel approach.
What does a two-speed or parallel strategy mean? It allows you to take the applications and processes that have the biggest impact on your businesses and customers now that is cloud ready. A business then can bring it over cheaply quickly and isolated.
From there you can either continue to bring new applications to the cloud and manage your legacy with a different approach; two-speed. Or bring your legacy over application by application while you continue new deployments in the cloud; parallel.
Regarding disruption, startups have it easier because they are cloud-native companies. Every application and any processes they have designed have always been cloud based.
This ability creates an intrinsic advantage as they are able to draw up their IT architecture and outcomes on a whiteboard with no consideration to traditional legacy infrastructure. A business with legacy can close the gap by adopting an IT strategy that allows them to do both.
That even goes for Telstra, we have systems and processes and technology that underpin some of our infrastructure.
It's good technology and, for any organisation that's looking to expand into the cloud, you have to remember that your existing infrastructure brings it all together and can be brought into the new world.
You need to be clear on what you don't want to leave behind, because the applications and tools that are good and those that are valuable might be the most difficult to move to the cloud so clearly defining the roadmap and outcomes will make this an easier process to manage.
Whatever strategy you choose, "We can't" is not an option unless you want to see your business suffer. Organisations need to understand the impact the digital world will have on their strategy and plan accordingly.
I can guarantee this work will embrace a move to cloud, whether it is IAAS, PAAS, or SAAS. The shift and scope will clearly depend upon the size, IT maturity and industry that you compete in but you must figure out which tools enable to you compete best and organize around that.
So where do you start? If you have a large legacy infrastructure, start with test and development in the cloud. Question whether it's worth paying to rack and stack servers for sandboxes that not only will work well in the cloud but give your people learning and insights. Worst case, you will save a lot of money and cycles. Another approach is to pursue Software as a Service Apps and purchase a few monthly licenses to test how these could enhance your business.
Start with the outcome you want to drive from your digital strategy and then work back into your cloud strategy. Cloud allows you to test your strategy as well as providing the flexibility to test new ideas and enter new markets with very low risk compared to a traditional IT approach.
Get into the mindset of understanding you can't try and fix everything in the cloud, because you aren't going to. Let's start looking at whether its workloads, or apps, or business uses and let's start breaking down and categorising where you are at before you say you can't. If you draw me your whole value chain and say there's no way I can take all of this into the cloud, I'm going to say you are actually right - but that is the wrong problem to solve.
Taking that first step becomes a fortuitous circle - experiment, learn and start getting your staff trained up and you start hiring that people do it. You can start by bringing the organisation along, and then watch the build.
Let experts advise you on implementing and managing a cloud solution that suits your needs.
For more cloud information go to Telstra Cloud Services.