To become a “digital and data company”, more and more companies are undertaking the famous “journey to the cloud”. The stakes are multiple: cost reduction, rationalization of existing infrastructures, simplicity, agility, innovation … But how does the cloud work? What tangible benefits can the cloud bring? And above all, how to manage this type of transformation within a large company?
The “Journey To The Cloud”?
first response elements of our digital advisor John Reynolds …To complete John’s comments, it is important to differentiate between the 3 main types of cloud:
IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service. This is the most common practice today. We are talking here about access to a “virtualized computer park” consisting of virtual machines on which the consumer can install an operating system and applications. The consumer is thus exempt from the purchase of computer equipment.
PaaS: “Platform as a Service”. Here, the operating system and infrastructure tools – the operating system such as “Windows 10”, and “middleware” such as IOT, IA, SQL Server, etc. – are under the responsibility of the supplier. The consumer therefore has control of the applications and can add his own tools.
SaaS: “Software as a Service”. Here, applications are directly available to consumers. They can be manipulated using a web browser, or rented on a PC, and the consumer does not have to update, add security patches, or ensure service availability. This is for example the case of the “Office 365” collaboration application or the “Gmail” e-mail application.
The Essential Features Of The Cloud Are:
Self-service resources: Storage capacity and computing power are automatically adapted to the needs of a consumer, which saves a lot of time and money.
Openness: cloud services are made available on the Internet and use standardized techniques allowing consumers to use them on all devices (computer, phone, tablet).
Mutualization: it allows to combine heterogeneous resources (hardware, software, network traffic) to serve multiple consumers to whom resources are automatically allocated. Pooling improves scalability and elasticity and allows for automatic adaptation of resources to variations in demand.
Pay-As-You-Go: The amount of service consumed in the cloud is measured, which allows both (i) to control the activities, (ii) to adapt the technical means, (iii) to bill automatically and transparent according to consumption.
Who Is Concerned?
These conversations potentially involve all types of businesses, regardless of size and industry, but it is obvious that companies with large legacy IT, limited agility, or sensitive data and applications are often less likely to advance on these topics. This is particularly the case of public sector companies and finance for example.
Whatever The Type Of Business, The Main Triggers Of The “Journey To The Cloud” Are:
A major disaster and a search for an SLA improvement: a storage array no longer offering the required level of redundancy, unstable infrastructure and middleware in versions that are no longer supported … This would require investments out of reach immediately or at the expense of very complicated budget arbitrations;
The difficulty to address new services such as IoT (Internet of Things) or AI (Artificial Intelligence): the technical complexity and skills required are not accessible quickly, impose training times or even external recruitments difficult to support on the long term.
A growing dissatisfaction of trades, who have opted more or less quietly for third-party solutions in “shadow-IT” mode, and who then ask that they are integrated into the IS.
These subjects are mainly managed by the IT department. Business development teams, as well as top management, are often involved in these conversations, given the importance the cloud can have on business costs, internal organization, and business innovation.
What Are The Major Benefits?
Three main approaches emerge according to the desired objectives:
- Improving operational efficiency by moving applications to the cloud in IaaS mode. This transformation can be done in seconds, while it takes months to acquire and set up new servers … cost reduction is potentially very important.
- The increase of differentiating innovation through the development of new PaaS services in the Cloud, with IOT, AI, etc.
- The optimization of business agility with the development and provision of new services and solutions in market time.
Regardless of the approach, the cost reduction, simplicity, and transparency that the cloud can provide must also be considered.
What Factors Must Be Taken Into Account?
Several factors must be taken into account by companies:
Organization and skills: “Do I have the know-how? What is the right business process to adopt? What skills do we need to acquire? »; “Should development be done by IT or trades”?
The business case
> IaaS: Number of servers X times of use
> PaaS: Number of calls/queries (more difficult to analyze)
> SaaS: Number of users
Where are the companies in their transformation?
According to a study carried out at the end of 2016 on the basis of 100 European companies of varying sizes, 93% said they used cloud services:
30% in public cloud mode only;
58% in hybrid mode: public and private;
5% in private cloud mode only;
The transformation is on the way, but the road ahead is still long, especially in the public sector and finance companies.
A Concrete Example?
The examples of digital transformation are very numerous, and above all very varied, given the differences in maturity, organization, and objectives that exist between large organizations. Nevertheless, the transformation of
Schneider Electric is interesting since this organization has been innovating for many years to serve its business. Discover how:
How To Start A Project?
To support a company’s data center migration program, it is important to define a strategic plan to switch to the cloud platform. The first three points that will be addressed during this study will be:
- The strategic review of the positioning of the new IT offer taking into account the competitive environment of the host/partner.
- The economic balance sheet of the scenarios identified (Business Plan)
- High-level evaluation of technical, operational and organizational requirements