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Why you should be bold with your cloud strategy

By Contributor
Wed 12 Sep 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Cloud computing is no longer a buzzword, nor is it a technology confined to the realm of IT departments. Enterprises across Australia are transforming their IT infrastructure to enable agility and innovation, and many are turning to cloud operating models to support their transformation in the digital age. 

Companies are recognising migrating to the cloud is integral, as research from IDC found that over 90% of enterprises will use multiple cloud services and platforms by 2020. While Australian organisations have adopted elements of the cloud, our market remains stagnant, with fully committed migrations to agile operating models still rare. 

These full-scale migrations are rare because the journey to the cloud isn’t linear. The journey can be an intricate, multi-disciplinary exercise, and complex organisations with specialist needs may require poly or multi-cloud models to support a fully automated world. The cloud must be supported from the business process through to the bottom infrastructure – and in some cases, human engineers – to realise its full advantage for enterprises. 

The cloud roadmap varies for every enterprise, each with different strategies for different parts of their IT architecture. For some enterprises, the challenge for cloud migration will be overhauling legacy processes and systems; while others may look to modernise, rather than replace existing legacy.  

For organisations to achieve their unique cloud vision, Accenture believes that they must re-boot their cloud strategies, going beyond the tactical, from strategy to operating model to applications and infrastructure and beyond. 

The cloud is ready for fully-committed, enterprise-grade computing, enabling future success and there are many leading Australian organisations showcasing this. NAB, for example, announced a three to five-year plan to boost technology spending by $1.5 billion, which included cloud capabilities, while Telstra is investing in cloud gaming improve speed and the user experience. 

For Australian organisations transforming their cloud strategy, Accenture provides the following recommendations to help guide them on the way.

Cloud strategy and business case

Organisations adopting a multi-speed IT operating model strategy must enable a spectrum of delivery options ranging from traditional, accelerated traditional, and fully digital, helping to achieve agility and deliver innovation. 

A number of issues must be considered when choosing between cloud development methods, including desired business outcomes, investment priorities, deployment model, service providers, talent sourcing and cloud policies. 

Cloud computing and ‘As-A-Service’ business models pose the potential to create new and differentiating capabilities that can help drive competitive advantage and improve financial models.

Westpac, for example, recently announced its new cloud computing strategy which combines the use of public and private cloud environments to reduce complexity, costs and respond faster to customer needs. A key element of this strategy is the migration of data to a new offsite private cloud environment in two data centers in Australia, which saw a large reduction in time and cost set-up.

Operating model

Accenture believes the new normal cloud mode should be ready for agile operations, allowing continuous integration through leading-edge technologies and approaches, DevOps results and measurable improvements to the business.

In addition, an agile operating model must ensure that IT operates efficiently across multi-cloud environments, cloud services and new technologies. An effective agile operating model also encompasses service creation and delivery; execution and fulfilment; automation and governance of processes; and functional decomposition of IT capabilities. 

Security

Cloud environments and information assets can span different cloud providers, making it vital to provide a proper security architecture and in-depth protection of resources.

From executing GDPR-compliant cloud strategies to adhering to the Australian Government’s Cloud Computing Policy, it’s imperative that Australian organisations ensure that they have proper adherence to all legal, risk and compliance requirements. 

A security operations playbook, DevOps, and threat modelling should all also be updated and incorporated in the context of the organisation’s cloud transformation.

Organisation, management, and governance

Australian organisations must carefully consider the impact of their enterprise cloud journey on their people organisations and ecosystem. 

First, organisations should create a cloud-friendly organisation structure, whether this is by updating job descriptions, training plans and talent sourcing. NAB, for example, implemented their cloud guild skills training program for NAB employees. The program caters for a range of skill levels and provides its employees with relevant skills, across security, architecture, developers and big data. 

Second, a holistic management and governance approach is needed as part of the cloud journey to manage not only multiple cloud environments, tools and providers, but also the growing number of services each cloud provider delivers. This includes automated compliance, acceptance to operational control, monitoring, managing and improvement of services.

The key to successful cloud governance the below defining core elements as part of day-to-day operations:

  • Customer Centricity – Aligning cloud initiatives with enterprise and business initiatives to achieve business objectives.
  • Operational Efficiency – Ensuring application and infrastructure standards are designed to drive long-run, cost-effective cloud assets.
  • Accountability and Performance – Ensuring performance metrics are based on operational business results.

This practice will assist the cloud organisation in implementing efficiently and effectively.

Operations and managed services

Cloud managed services provide skilled resources that augment in-house functionalities and IT infrastructure to be managed in collaboration with a third-party managed service provider (MSP) via cloud platforms. A broad spectrum of MSPs exist, so organisations should carefully consider which characteristics are most important for the MSP they choose. 

Cloud is changing the way traditional IT operates. While many Australian organisations have made a good start, they need to refrain from pilot programs and begin to execute at pace. 

With a comparatively slower adoption of the cloud globally, Australian enterprises must approach cloud migration with the agility of a start-up to truly embrace innovation. 

As an organisation’s skills and usage of cloud matures and new technology capabilities are identified, the cloud operating model must evolve. It’s time for Australian companies to be bolder with their cloud strategy, going beyond the tactical, from strategy to operating model and infrastructure, security management and beyond. 

Article by Jordan Griffiths, Accenture’s Operations Lead for Australia and New Zealand

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