Is cloud technology the right choice for your company?

Cloud technology provides an open, connected experience for businesses and their customers.

But how will you tell if the technology is essential for your organization?

Businesses are learning to love the cloud. Nevertheless, the move can be disruptive. They must prepare thoroughly and then determine if it’s truly the correct answer because of their needs.

Numerous recent examples of manufacturers and distribution firms discovering the people cloud’s advantages. Volkswagen has launched an ‘industrial cloud, ‘connecting data from 124 factories. SKF, a Swedish ball bearing company, uses a cloud connection to the time when lubricants must undoubtedly be included with its products.

It’s obvious the attraction. The cloud offers easily accessible data storage and computing power which can be quickly scaled up or scaled back. This offers potential cost savings and improved productivity.

However, the transition could be challenging, sparking new worries for managers about costs, security, and efficiency.

Is cloud technology the right choice for your company?

Many enterprises are still wedded to running their services through on-premises data centers or renting servers in a managed data center. Adoption of the cloud is accelerating, but over fifty percent of IT workloads are expected to remain on-premises in 2022, based on a survey by the Uptime Institute.

There are many factors to consider before going to the cloud. To begin with, companies need to ascertain the optimum time to shift services far from on-premises servers to the cloud.

Ilja Summala, chief technology officer (CTO) at cloud services provider Nordcloud, says that when software becomes an important section of a company’s business strategy, “this is the time they must look into moving to the cloud if they have not already done so.” At this point, the enterprise will require the capability to instantly ramp up its software capabilities and digital solutions, which it can do with a cloud provider. This helps to reduce the expense of developing software in the cloud, although Summala notes that it “doesn’t always signify the software is cheaper to operate in the cloud, but it’s cheaper to develop”

Carla Arend, senior program director for software at research company IDC, says the cloud’s flexibility is ideal for businesses trying to accelerate innovation and new service development. “If you wish to create a prototype, test drive it and get users to interact with it, the cloud can offer the IT resources to take action almost instantly, and then you can shut those resources down once you’ve done your test,” she says. “You have much greater flexibility and a reduced cost profile in this experimentation phase. So it’s excellent for rapid innovation cycles.”

Nonetheless, some firms have struggled to produce a good fist of shifting to the cloud. When they fail to create a consistent strategy, they might work to have well affordable from the move.

“Wasted cloud spend is a major issue for most enterprises,” says Rob Robinson, head of Telstra Purple EMEA, which provides technology services to enterprises. “To mitigate against spiraling costs, organizations must recognize that reducing cloud costs is not just a one-time, tick-box task. It requires continuous assessment to identify precisely where overspend occurs.”

As the cloud’s speed, scale, innovation, and productivity benefits boost business opportunities, tunnel vision can stop companies from achieving the best value. “CIOs and CTOs need a coherent and sustainable roadmap that captures continuous value from their multi-cloud investment. Without these, enterprises will be continually disappointed by their cloud results,” says Robinson.

To mitigate against spiraling costs, organizations must recognize that reducing cloud costs is not just a one-time, tick-box task.

Once an enterprise creates a cloud strategy, it will first migrate the applications that take the least effort: the “low-hanging fruit,” says Sascha Giese, head geek for technical product marketing at Solar Winds.

“Essentially, the most obvious one is a mail server – there’s little reason to keep a mail server on-premises today,” says Giese. “Databases are next, as it’s not too difficult to migrate data from an on-premises database to a cloud-hosted, possibly even a cloud-managed, one.”

He adds that human resources, customer relationship management, and data warehousing are easy wins when transferring functions to the cloud.

Persuading supply chain-based industries such as, for instance, manufacturing, distribution, and building supply to shift to the cloud has been a work in progress since the middle of the last decade. There is considerable activity in this area. Volkswagen Group this past year announced it had been working together with AWS to launch the industrial cloud, bringing together production data from 124 factories on a single digital platform. The aim is to use the data in real-time to boost productivity by 30%, for example, by optimizing the use of machinery and the flow of materials.

A long-term aim is to use the cloud platform to create an open marketplace for industrial applications. “On that type of platform, everyone involved would have the ability to swap, acquire and use each other’s applications. It will be open to all companies, from suppliers through technology partners to other car manufacturers,” says Nihar Patel, Volkswagen AG’s executive vice-president for new business development.

However, a number of the most critical processes in manufacturing systems are “literally bolted to the factory floor,” says Summa. He says that manufacturing execution systems (MES), which control production processes, are unlikely ever to help make the jump to the cloud. “It’s those MES systems that I suspect will remain inside the factories for a long time because if there has been a network breakage, it would mean that you could not manufacture anything. That’s not just a risk worth taking, even if the cloud is cheaper and better.”

One good thing about moving manufacturing processes to the cloud lies in predictive maintenance of machinery, says Tobi Knaup, chief executive of D2iQ, which advises businesses on their journey to the cloud. For example, a report mill could have massive paper-producing machines costing an incredible number of dollars that require continuous operation. When they break down at any point, and parts need replacing, this creates lost revenue.

A D2iQ customer is deploying 80,000 sensors across its factories to ingest sensor data in real time. The information is stored in the cloud and runs through machine learning software to analyze unusual vibrations. The system predicts which parts need replacing in the next maintenance cycle. This minimizes disruptive breakdowns.

“The old-school way of avoiding unscheduled maintenance has experts physically listen out for unusual vibrations in the machinery that suggests something might break,” says Knaup. “The newest and far better method is to place cloud-based sensors all around the machines.”

Some think a cloud-first strategy – by which cloud solutions are looked at first when it comes to new or existing processes – is not always the best way ahead. Many large companies happily run some applications in their data centers because they allow us stable applications that are customized with their needs over time. They know the workload to procure and quickly provision the proper hardware and infrastructure.

CIOs and CTOs need to have a coherent and sustainable roadmap in the position that captures continuous value from their multi-cloud investment.

“In these cases, businesses could find it attractive to complete it via a capital expenditure model, where they could choose the hardware and write it down over three or five years. This financial model is sensible in certain situations,” says Arend.

Raj Sukumar is head of Europe at Persistent Systems, an Indian technology services company. He says there’s a “common misunderstanding that moving to the cloud means every single organization moving all their data to the cloud&rdquo. Depending on individual business requirements, that’s not always needed.

This view is echoed by Álvaro Verdeja, chief operating officer at Making Science, who says moving far from legacy systems should not be considered a single step but managed in stages. “Businesses should tailor their cloud implementation and consider the top strategy, whether a variety of cloud and on-premises, cloud as a sole solution or multi-cloud usage – to supply optimized results.”

A carefully considered cloud strategy, then, could provide huge benefits. But enterprises should have a definite idea of the appropriate services to migrate and keep a watchful eye on the costs.

By Mia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *