If you already work with ANS or follow the content we share, you will know our engagement strategy with customers and potential customers is our modular suite of Assessment Services.
The Assessment Service is fundamentally a process which allows a CIO or IT Leader to understand how to begin the journey to public cloud; you may already have a clear direction on which public cloud you want to move to, or you may need some help understanding which direction to take (and how to get there), or perhaps you have a unique application idea which will engage your customers better, increase your revenues or digitise your processes to improve profit – all of which are easier to achieve with Cloud. We have seen some fantastic Assessment Service wins across both public sector and enterprise customers; for every £1 spent with ANS on Assessment Services, the Business Case has gone onto secure x100 in funding to deliver a transformation programme
My summer this year (apart from enjoying the beautiful weather and watching England’s best performance at a major football tournament since 1990) has mostly been spent delivering Assessment Services for large enterprise organisations. Over the course of the last 12-18 months and with the knowledge gained from the deep insights our Assessment Services gives you, I’ve observed some interesting dynamics when discussing cloud adoption so what better way to share these than in a “top tips” format.
1. Don’t run before you can walk (unless you really have to)
One of the beautiful things about Cloud is its accessibility. Anyone (literally anyone) can open an account with Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud and start consuming services. This accessibility is incredible, if you know what you’re doing. There are lots of things in life which are accessible these days, but you don’t become an expert overnight.
Start-ups (the foot loose and fancy free) do not have the complexity established enterprises do. We all know about the explosive success the likes of Uber, AirBnB, WeWork and Snapchat, to name a few, have gone onto achieve which has shone a light on the need to compete or die, and herein lies the problem. Established enterprises create subsidiary companies, divisions or departments which ‘act’ like a start-up to get a product or service to market more quickly. “YES!!!, GET IN, WE’VE DONE IT”, you may hear the CTO shout as the app is released and sales sky rocket… whilst the CIO ponders how to integrate this new architecture and operating model into the wider IT organisation.
The need to compete will and should always win over any barrier to entry; however one should consider the long-term when bringing a new service, new architecture and new operating model into the IT organisation.
2. Start your journey now (but do it properly)
One of the downsides to Cloud being so accessible is its accessibility to everyone (not just consumers of Cloud) but partners who can help you on the journey. There are many, many ‘born in the cloud’ providers out there who will do a great job of setting up your cloud environment and migrating your workloads and applications, leaving you with the feeling of *Sit back, relax*, “We’ve arrived!!” Sadly, as some of our (now) customers will testify you most definitely have arrived; arrived into a new, unmanaged world which sees your monthly consumption billing increasing month, after month, after month, after month with nowhere to turn. Your internal team are still learning and the ‘born in the cloud’ provider that promised you a seamless migration certainly delivered on the promise but you both forgot to consider the, “What next?!”
Running your future organisation from Cloud is inevitable so don’t rush it, take your time and understand what the path looks like before you set off on your journey. What matters to you more, the outcome or the result?
3. Rule out hybrid at your peril!
The reality is, in a large enterprise there will be some applications which simply can’t move to public cloud for whatever reason; those big monolithic applications which are integrated into every orifice of the business or those applications where the app provider is still living in the 90’s and when you ask, “Would you support this if hosted in public cloud?”, the answer is “What’s that?”… Ok maybe I’m being a little facetious, but these providers do exist. Typically, the reasons for not moving an application to public cloud are categorised into commercial, technical or operational reasons. So, in the short to medium term a hybrid strategy could be adopted whilst your application providers release a SaaS version, you procure and migrate to another application which is Cloud Native or use an App Dev team to build you own Cloud Native app.
4. Keep your options open
There is a lot that can be said about being loyal. Over the years your preferred hardware or virtualisation vendor has given you the best pricing, you’ve built up a good relationship with your account manager who makes you feel special and life is good.
In Cloud, the world is different. Sure, relationships with the Cloud providers and partners are equally important to leverage the best pricing and deals, but before these relationships are established, the focus should be on understanding which Cloud platform is best suited to your organisations future commercial, technical and operational needs. The reality is, each cloud provider has its unique points of differentiation and for your typical enterprise with 1000s of applications all with different characteristics, toolsets, knowledge, purpose, importance, criticality… the list goes on. This all means a multi-cloud strategy is likely, even if you arrived there by accident because you ran before you could walk. The question to ask yourself is; “How do you go about understanding if a multi-cloud strategy is right long-term and most importantly, executing such a strategy?”
5. “You don’t know what you don’t know”
I clearly remember where I was when I first heard this. A Stoke-on-Trent hotel on a cold, wet and windy October day in 2004. This phrase is so true for enterprise IT organisations when adopting cloud. It can be applied to many examples but the one I want to highlight is engagement with the wider organisation. The advanced services available in public cloud give you access to a set of capabilities which can truly transform the customer experience of your brand, your internal customer experience of your workplace and your shareholders return on their investment.
You will have subject matter experts throughout your organisation and it’s these individuals or teams who are best placed to develop an idea, and with the right engagement from the IT organisation, this idea can be executed and realised whilst respecting the organisations IT risk, governance and future business-as-usual support.
We have many examples where advanced cloud services are being applied in practice, ranging from a chatbots to IoT sensors to Big Data projects. Some of the use cases we are seeing include using IoT sensors and data analytics to improve the efficiency of waste management for a local council, chatbot apps to improve the student experience in a university, IoT sensors in a dementia patient homes to monitor the welfare and improve patient care and data analytics to improve stock management for a global parts distributor.
Take ANS for example; for anyone who has visited our offices or works at ANS, car parking is a challenge. This challenge is not an easy one to solve when you are in a city with limited parking so cue the ‘ANS Parking App’. By using the car parking CCTV and overlaying a machine learning algorithm, the app can predict how many parking spaces are free, the best time to arrive to get a space and in the future, book a car parking space. An innovative way to solving a problem; watch this space as who knows, the App may become something we monetise.
Your IT organisation, having the ability to leverage advanced services in public cloud for your internal customers, could be the difference between IT just keeping the lights on to becoming an enabler for Business Transformation.
It’s inevitable that the enterprise will see a seismic shift to cloud over the coming years. Your journey will start somewhere. Why not join your peers by engaging ANS Assessment Services!?!
To find out more about ANS’ Assessment services, click here.