The last several months have been challenging. We’ve experienced incredible disruption to the economic market that has left businesses in challenging positions financially and competitively. Some companies have seen the challenging times and stopped everything except the most critical “keeping the lights on” activities. This might even seem intuitive to many companies… like, “why wouldn’t you do that?” The outside-looking-in perspective I’ve had over the last few months has been that the pandemic has accelerated the direction that companies were already in. If the company was transforming and looking at engaging their customers differently, they accelerated that transformation. If they were sitting still, they sat still and were further frozen and often failed completely. To understand why now is the perfect time to accelerate the cloud migration, we need to remember why we’re going to the cloud in the first place.
Reason 1: The cloud is where innovation happens
The fact of the matter is that modern capabilities are built in modern clouds and the companies that are meeting their customers new, unmet needs are doing so through the cloud. Application built to engage the massive scale and integrated consumer functions that are being brought to market are rarely built using legacy on-premise technologies vs. cloud-consistent ones. New applications aren’t built on your legacy Windows-Active Directory joined virtual machines that you click and configure. They aren’t built in your VMWare cluster. They aren’t built on your SAN you’ve been holding onto. The applications of today and tomorrow are built on serverless, containers, SaaS, PaaS… anything but a legacy environment. Sure…. you’ve got that boat anchor iSeries… whatever. What we’ve seen the past three months is if a company is armed with a modern cloud they are more likely to be building products that are hitting their customer’s unmet need. If they aren’t, they’re playing catch-up or hoping the market goes “back to normal”. It isn’t going back to normal, it’s changing and we need to change with it.
Reason 2: Look for cost savings in your datacenter
Many companies needed to respond to the pandemic by adjusting their staff, resource, inventory, or selling mix. In many cases staff were furloughed or laid off. This was unfortunate and not something any business leader wants to participate in. With all the people being affected, did your business adjust the utilization of your datacenter and apps? Did they look for opportunity to optimize? The most effective leadership teams used this moment to adjust every cost they could, what happened with the datacenters? The reason so many companies didn’t adjust the datacenters was that they already bought the hardware and assumed that any savings here was inconsequential. What does that tell you about your business agility? It tells you that regardless of if you need it or not, your server infrastructure was the same as when you bought it. The smart companies saw this as an opportunity to cut what datacenter wasn’t needed, at minimum reducing replacement costs, but even more appropriately preparing and executing a move of the remaining resources to the cloud. Why? Because moving to the cloud takes time, more time than you typically have to replace or re-license the environment. Now is an excellent time to start because of low utilization and easy identification of unnecessary workloads. Then, when you’re in the next recession (because this one won’t be the last), you can reduce spend and optimize vs. be stuck with a boat anchor you’re still paying for. Remember… every time you buy on-premise datacenter resources an angel loses it’s wings.
Reason 3: Security
Why is it that things don’t matter until they matter? Well, security mattered yesterday, it matters today, and it matters tomorrow. Every quarter we have a company that comes to us that has been impacted by ransomware. The single best mitigating factors for ransomware are Modern Desktop, datacenter micro-network-segmentation, and conditional access on identity. The move to the cloud accelerates two of these. When we help a company recover from this state we immediately tell them to move to a micro-network segmented architecture and build conditional access as a return to business requirement. The reason is that lateral movement from the workstation, to the datacenter, to the crown jewels is the main way businesses are compromised. Now is the time to address this issue with your datacenter and with your overall ecosystem. Why are you waiting? Just can’t wait to spend hours recovering a datacenter from backups that hopefully work? …. I didn’t think so. There is no better reason to move your legacy datacenter to the cloud than security.
Reason 4: Maturing your team
You can have three types of teams… (1) teams that are pushing the boundary and ready for the next stage of the datacenter (2) teams that are annoyed that you have not pushed to the modern environment and are anxiously waiting and/or polishing their resume, or (3) legacy teams that are terrified of moving to a modern environment… where the good people have gone. Don’t be number 3, which means you don’t want to be number 2, so you better be accelerating toward number 1. The teams pushing the boundary, leveraging new technology, innovating, disrupting and ones that are engaged and desire to do something great. You don’t get that by stifling innovation and trying to maintain the past. The most successful companies are those that are never satisfied being followers on the bell curve and operationalize the standard that others copy. They might run into all the challenges and experience the bumps but at the same time they get a completely different level of engagement from their employees because they are harnessing the passion of each person. If you still haven’t accelerated a cloud transformation you’re either in scenario 2 or 3… you decide but you still have a chance to get back to disrupting, if you have the intentionality and focus to communicate and execute on a vision.
The leaders (not just those in institutional power… but every leader) needs to push the movement to the cloud. This movement will enable us to change the way we impact businesses and positively transform our customers, partners, and employees.