Mastering the World of Clouds
By Seb Hills, Vice President, BT Advise, Asia, Middle East and Africa
In the future, no business will be successful unless it makes the most of the cloud. With a myriad of benefits including cost savings, flexibility and accessibility, clouds form the foundation of any company’s digital transformation journey. It therefore makes logical sense that companies must first master clouds to achieve success in their digital transformation by adopting a strategy that takes advantage of the agility, reduced costs and innovation that the cloud can bring. However, managing today’s cloud infrastructure can often be as challenging as managing your digital transformation teams. In both cases, you have to deal with a group of disparate personalities/technologies, which possess different skills sets/functionality, and are able to collaborate/integrate to varying degrees. Just as team members are selected and matched to fill skills gaps, companies will also continue to mix-and-match cloud services and spend on IT in a hybrid way; leveraging both private and public cloud. Like the internet, the cloud isn’t owned or managed by any one organisation. Instead, we operate in a world of clouds, one that continues to expand as more and more applications, functions and services migrate to the cloud.
The complex challenge of managing clouds
In the case of managing a growing team of talented people, additional resources and time would need to be invested. The same principle applies to managing the wide range of applications and services that companies use, most of which are likely to be based in the cloud eventually. As your company evolves and grows over time, the applications and services, as well as the volume and level needed, are also likely to change.
To succeed in a world of clouds, companies need a “cloud of clouds”, which aims to reduce the complexity of managing multiple clouds in a global environment
In such a dynamic environment, how can companies exert greater control and direction over the multiple clouds that drive their business, and the entire digital transformation process? The challenge becomes even more difficult when you factor in fundamental concerns such as ensuring the right levels of security while maintaining an agile, easily scalable framework. There’s also the need to ensure a great user experience, since a tangle of autonomous cloud services could frustrate employees, even as it ties up network resources. The perfect cloud environment is one that allows easy and secure consumption of internal services and external solutions. Not so easy in practice when you think that you might have a whole host of cloud services from multiple vendors, offering variable degrees of support and security. Managing this disparate group of services, applications and vendors would be a complex and time-consuming endeavour. Poor management would also result in difficulties with establishing the ideal infrastructure on which your company’s digital programmes would rely on. This was a key concern for 86 percent of CEOs in a recent survey jointly conducted with the Economic Intelligence Unit.
A cloud strategy that delivers control and choice
What companies need is a cloud strategy that delivers control and choice, flexibility and security, in one package. To succeed in a world of clouds, companies need a “Cloud of Clouds”, which aims to reduce the complexity of managing multiple clouds in a global environment. “Cloud of Clouds” allows users to easily and securely access the applications and data they need, regardless of where they are hosted, giving companies the flexibility they need to make cloud work for them. For further guidance, companies can leverage the innovative ‘hybrid cloud landing zone’ comprising an integrated set of cloud deployment tools and designs, as well as ready-made blueprints for best practice hybrid cloud deployment. The ready-made blueprints will draw on our global network scale, security expertise and managed services capabilities to give customers much greater visibility and control across the entirety of their estate, while further reducing the complexity of managing multiple hybrid cloud environments. The blueprints will also utilise virtualised components for flexible connectivity and pre-embedded security, increasing speed to deploy for customers and optimising overall cloud performance. The goal is to help companies establish virtual networking between multiple geographic regions, and maintain the highest levels of security across hybrid cloud environments, at scale. Through BT’s “Cloud of Clouds”, customers and companies around the world can now remove complexity from their digital transformation journey while accelerating cloud adoption. That’s something we believe most organisations would be able to easily manage.