The benefits of cloud services no longer need justifying, as almost every organisation now consumes cloud services in one way or another. For many organisations though, finding success in the cloud is still a daunting challenge. Too often, organisations set overly high expectations for the benefits while underestimating the amount of work required. An unfortunate result can be a vicious cycle of increased costs and unsatisfied expectations.

Often, when struggling to realise the full benefits, organisations may decide they’ve had enough and stop the migration process before they are in a position to take full advantage of the cloud. But by putting off real reform, they won’t realise the cost and innovation benefits that drove the cloud migration project in the first place. As migration costs balloon and promised features, functionalities, and applications fail to materialise, organisations can end up seeing the cloud as no different to their traditional in house IT delivery.

In many cases, the biggest error comes from thinking about the cloud in the wrong way. Most people think of cloud migration as a lift-and-shift operation—simply moving applications that are running in a company’s data centre into the cloud.

But real cloud success, at scale, requires much more than lift-and-shift. It demands successfully navigating the world of the dynamic cloud.

The dynamic cloud doesn’t just facilitate application scaling, it makes the process faster and easier. It also helps development teams respond to changes faster and implement these changes more quickly. That’s not a luxury—it’s a necessity to ensure the availability of applications with highly dynamic scaling needs, which can include huge unanticipated spikes.

To succeed in the dynamic cloud, though, takes a new way of governing your capabilities, then does lift-and-shift. Teams must move in a controlled manner and most important, everything must be measurable.

That’s because after a migration, the type of application and infrastructure visibility changes. Many resources become dynamic, so keeping track of what resources are important for what purposes also must become dynamic. Additionally, applications now may run on infrastructure outside of the traditional ICT team’s direct control. Unless an application is carefully monitored along with the cloud in which it runs, it can be impossible to tell if a particular service is delivering value for money to the organisation.

Fortunately, becoming proficient in the dynamic cloud does not have to be scary or dangerous. Adopting the cloud can be done safely and effectively but requires a continual learning experience. Organizations must be willing to learn and adapt cloud offerings to match their needs and expectations with the reality of what the cloud can provide.

Organisations’ cloud transformation can’t succeed only via technical change but requires improving skills, change management, and development of operations. Optimising your cloud implementation must be via a data-driven ICT operating model that informs rapid decision making and governance.

Application sprawl puts any organisation in a position where they have more applications than they need, can afford, or adequately support. Others may also believe business managed or purchased applications do not warrant the same demand for governance or strategic oversight as enterprise solutions.

Organisations need to capture the holistic picture to determine if an application’s value is worth its cost and if the application does not have overt risks.

Application portfolio management (APM) is an ongoing governance process that ensures applications across the organisation continue to deliver value, limits risk, and justifies their cost. This process also includes:

  • Providing information and visibility into applications across the organisation.
  • Recommending application initiatives (enhancements, corrections, retirement) to decision-makers.
  • Showcasing the strategic direction of applications to various stakeholders.

IT leaders are under pressure to find savings and avoid waste in their organisations, and the cloud has emerged as an area for potential costs increases but also savings. However, without the right approach, this delivers a muted impact. Organisations can optimise cloud service costs without impacting cloud services or business value.

Several areas of opportunity exist for organisations by:

  • Ensuring there is a complete and shared view of cloud costs
  • Utilising the correct resource and licencing types across the cloud providers
  • Rightsizing existing services and infrastructure into the ones that reduce the underutilised cost
  • Optimise existing committed usage discounts or included capabilities

When embarking on a cloud optimisation we have to ensure ICT, finance, and business leader are all looking at the same data. This data, describes an organisation’s applications, their risk, value and cost. This data is complicated enough, with costs billed by the second or delivered monthly in the form of millions of rows of spreadsheet data. Ensuring that your teams have a cloud management capability in place to assist in making sense of this data, is vital. Creating a common language for ICT, finance and business leaders to help make sense of their cloud capabilities, helps inform decision making leading to better value outcomes.