Having the right mindset, expectations and preparedness for the true nature of cloud computing can help CIOs skirt less-than-optimal cloud adoption

In a pandemic-hastened move towards digital, the past two years have witnessed businesses jumping on the cloud services bandwagon in pursuit of greater efficiency, agility in reducing the time-to-market of business services, streamlined operational costs, and overall resource optimization. 

Innovative uses of cloud computing have enabled businesses and organizations to leverage AI and ML for the development and launch of industry-disruptive solutions at scale. The use of digital twins in urban planning, healthcare, hospitality, energy and mining is anticipated to help save millions of dollars in resources while also unlocking new frontiers.

Yet, for all that cloud evangelists have banged on the cloud adoption drum, something appears to be running awry. In spite of the burgeoning investments being channeled into cloud solutions, one research consultancy estimated that only 37% of businesses have realized the full value of their cloud investments. 

How did this happen? The reality is that, in the rush to realize all the benefits of the cloud, businesses may have jumped-in headfirst without formulating a holistic and thoughtful cloud strategy that looks beyond migration alone.

While cloud migration is a great first step towards digital transformation, businesses must not neglect the reality that the Cloud is a delivery model and is not an end in itself. Without adequate preparation, businesses may find themselves facing bill shock instead of the cost savings promised with cloud adoption. Why?

    • Transitioning into cloud computing is still a long-term investment and should thereby mandate a rigorous decision-making process that considers future implications. For instance, complex pricing structures offered by some cloud vendors, coupled with varying terminologies, make deciphering final costs more challenging.
    • In particular, ingress and egress costs from data migration into and outside of the cloud have been notorious for raking up unforeseen expenses. Businesses would need to be prudent to select cloud providers that prioritize price predictability and transparency and offer pay-per-use pricing models.
    • If not fully prepared for cloud migration, businesses may also find themselves uncovering new, more complex and costly potholes, such as security lapses from a lack of visibility across all IT environments. A recent report by Forrester had found that 68% of APAC businesses that suffered a security breach in 2021, owed it to inadequate security practices after migrating to the cloud.
    • Business agility may be also compromised with the vendor lock-in that comes with integrating applications too tightly in the cloud within one vendor ecosystem alone, leading to loss of control over their IT stack and making it challenging to scale rapidly or diversify their use of the cloud.
Lionel Legros, General Manager, Asia Pacific, OVHcloud

From the above scenarios, businesses may find it safer to work with cloud providers that champion open standards, as well as ensure reversibility and interoperability between multi-cloud environments. After all, cloud strategies should be crafted around businesses’ needs, and not the reverse. 

Aside from market drivers, selecting cloud providers that encourage an open ecosystem will also enable businesses to diversify and repatriate workloads to on-premises environments as needed.

Cloudy future without the right strategies

Ensuring successful cloud adoption in the long-term will require foresight, and businesses will need to have a clear picture of how they expect the cloud to augment their services.

Ultimately, the bottom line remains central to successful cloud strategies. Without predictability of costs to be incurred, alongside flexibility to scale as required, businesses may find themselves unable to optimize their cloud operations to get the highest return and truly enjoy the cost savings they were lured by. 

As the adage goes, ‘cloud adoption is not a silver bullet to digital transformation’. Cloud computing is here to stay, but success will only be in reach for businesses with the right strategies.