Avoiding a new legacy trap: A recipe for a successful cloud strategy

COVID-19 has disrupted most businesses in an unprecedented manner. And, it’s highly unlikely that this pandemic will be the last crisis global businesses face. However, this crisis has magnified cracks in business strategies that perhaps went unnoticed before.

For instance, we are seeing an accelerated push for flexible and secure cloud-based computing architecture that will empower businesses with much desired resilience and responsiveness.
But, research shows - up to a third of companies see few to zero organizational improvements as a result of cloud adoption. In some cases, it may create more problems than it solves - 74% of enterprises reported moving an application into the cloud and then back into their own infrastructure.

So what are the secret sauces for a successful cloud strategy?

Don’t just outsource it

Cloud adoption is a key enabler for speed in delivery, elasticity and resilience.It requires more ownership and demands you to grow internal capabilities within development teams to understand networking, security and infrastructure and to use software engineering practices to code and maintain infrastructure.
Moving to the cloud is not just a change in infrastructure. It is a strategic enabler for a modern digital business and requires cultural and technical change in your organization.
Enrico Piccinin

Principal at Thoughtworks

Going beyond infrastructure thinking

There is a common misconception following cloud tech, of limitless storage and processing power. Organizations assume cloud is a straightforward replacement for in-house hardware and,Such thinking leads to the ‘lift and shift’ antipattern where cloud is viewed as a simple hosting solution, resulting in the replication of existing architectures, security practices and IT operational models in the cloud. This tends to elevate existing problems, leading to disappointment.

There’s a tendency to say it’s the infrastructure team’s responsibility and to leave them to it.
Kief Morris

Thoughtworks Cloud Practice Lead and author of Infrastructure as Code

Need for a different organization

Cloud-first leadership should embrace the principles of DevOps, autonomous cross-functional teams and loosely coupled architecture. However, most organizations find this challenging because of rigid communication structures like the ticketing system used for infrastructure provisioning. But the benefits of following the above listed principles far outweigh the effort. For example, faster time to market requires flexibility and this is enabled by nimble architecture that works well with autonomous cross functional teams.

Needless to say, any attempt to embrace these principles requires a C-level buy-in that drives the benefits within the organization.

Speed and resilience trump cost benefits

Many enterprises will see rising costs unless their cloud strategies are carefully managed. The costs could be due to lack of oversight or delivery acceleration that require more resources than available. But, given that cloud provides such a wide range of utility services, a discussion on ROI for a cloud investment could be like trying to calculate ROI on your electricity investment.
Cloud delivers primary value as an accelerator, not as a cost savings engine.
Ryan Murray

Director of Digital Platform Strategy, Thoughtworks

View ‘security’ differently

Enterprise security in the cloud is fundamentally different from traditional perimeter-based security that use firewalls and zoning. The former demands zero trust architecture zero trust architecture

The recommended response is organizational education and structure that leverages regularly updated operating models.

In the cloud-native world, the faster you can move, the more secure you are.
Scott Shaw

Director of Technology at Thoughtworks Australia

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Gear up for more change - for the better

As cloud vendors push the envelope with new innovations, businesses can look forward to growing their own market presence. Even after COVID-19, businesses will continue to evolve in the face of global and regional upheavals and market cycles. And, a successful cloud strategy can help move these businesses towards value creation and support the gains in resilience to stay ahead of the game. And, remember, cloud is strategic; do not just outsource it!

Thoughtworks has helped several businesses build and sustain formidable cloud blueprints. Our experience has helped us put together the elements you need to run a successful cloud strategy.

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