Cloud technology adoption is a journey that enterprises and governments alike have embarked on. Cloud adopters understand that the technology allows for the highly efficient access to technologies such as artiﬁcial intelligence, big data analytics, Internet of Things, and blockchain
As much as the cloud is being embraced widely across various industries and organisations, there still are few who remain adamant due to having to run a vast number of legacy applications on their premises.
Hybrid cloud model presents itself as the best solution to this, allowing for the ease of operations of several business processes on one platform.
This was the main drive of OpenGov’s Breakfast Insight on Thursday, 3 October 2019. It was an insightful discussion on Hybrid Cloud being the catalyst for digital transformation.
The insight session saw various enterprises from the manufacturing, logistics and pharmaceutical industries gathered together to have an exchange of knowledge on the benefits provided by hybrid cloud models and of the competitive advantages they come with.
Cloud is not just backup, it should be daily
Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia gave the opening address.
He said that many businesses lack an understanding of digital transformation and of how technology can aid them in their journey ahead, specifically hybrid cloud for digital transformation.
He stressed that cloud is a highly misunderstood word. Using cloud in the right way to manage Big Data will be able to change the way businesses operate and provide a more competitive edge in the long run.
Hybrid cloud has endless possibilities- allowing for access to both public and private clouds on one platform. The correct placement of data is important to allow for a smooth process flow and transitions between applications on the cloud platform.
Mohit said that the lack of understanding, however, of how to classify the data accordingly poses as a challenge.
He said that successful hybrid cloud adoption is all about planning, quality of execution and attention to detail. “Cloud is not just a backup. It should be used for daily activity,” stressed Mohit.
Consistency is key to managing cloud
Michael Leung, Director of Enablement Datacenter Solutions Group, Dell EMC Asia Pacific and Japan gave the welcome address of the event.
He started off with the question: Has anyone here ever managed a multi-cloud environment before?
Based on a survey, 91% of customers said that their organisation’s cloud strategy will include on-premises data centres. Michael said that organisations adopting multiple cloud solutions almost always include a private cloud.
He also shared that 83% of customers in a recent survey of 1,500 Dell Technologies customers had stated that they value consistency of infrastructure from the data center to cloud.
Since each cloud solution has its own management and operations tooling, own governance and automation frameworks, own application image format, and own set of value-added services, multi-cloud adoption often leads to the development of operational silos.
This is a reason as to why many are pursuing a hybrid cloud model infrastructure.
Michael said that with cloud users having different workloads, consistency is needed for them to know how to manage the use of cloud. The workload determines if a public or private cloud model in a multi-cloud platform is to be used.
Giving the example that mobile phone applications used today are mostly operating on a hybrid cloud system, Michael left delegates with the insight that as the adoption of public cloud and hybrid cloud has increased, businesses too should have their on-premise requirements set.
Hybrid cloud adoption for the journey ahead
Kristian Lee, Chief Technology Officer, Royale International gave a brief introduction about the services of his organisation- from providing courier services to warehousing, to specialised services such as time-critical delivery, e-fulfilment and financial research distribution.
He shared on the ways in which his organisation had incorporated cloud technology into their business processes.
With the goal of the “uber-ization” of capacities, Kristian said that the hybrid cloud model achieves this goal. It allows access and transition of services between anyone, to any location, and at any time.
Compliance is also achieved as privacy-sensitive data can be stored on a private cloud system and the public cloud can be used for the open sharing and communicating of information.
Acknowledging that the hybrid cloud allows users to reach out directly to various other platforms at once,
Kristian said that his organisation is focusing on developing an end-to-end platform that integrates and manages all their services at one place.
They are working on creating on-premise data centres that will be linked to the public cloud and which will ultimately go hybrid. They are currently operating on a public cloud system.
Kristian said that these projects are geared towards enhancing internal and external process managements, operational managements and the tracking of their courier services within their network.
These projects are a commitment to their adoption of the hybrid cloud and for exploiting the benefits of it to enhance their business processes.
Through leveraging on cloud-based AI and data analytics technologies, optimisations and quick decision-makings can be made.
Flex control is needed to scale at speed
Frederic Ducros, an experienced senior digital transformation expert, shared his hybrid cloud experiences.
The foundation of his hybrid cloud journey started with undertaking a comprehensive digital transformation initiaitve to bring coherence to existing processes.
He listed some key aspects of hybrid cloud usage which businesses may be unaware about:
- You are already using hybrid cloud
Frederic said that organisations are already using applications on systems on-premise for their processes.
- If there are any doubts, you are probably doing it wrong
The lack of skills and understanding of the system could be reasons as to why cloud adoption is not producing the best results.
- You want to be able to try, scale and be ready to fail
He said that the transformation process should not be made a difficult one, especially when working with legacy premises where it will be difficult for developers to access the environment.
A key learning that he stressed was that it is all about trying it out. If it works, it works big; If it fails, you learn from it and do better next.
Frederic emphasised that it is important to make the transition as painless as possible.
- None of the cloud providers has the same capabilities:
Frederic said that their services and provision of technologies such as (artificial intelligence) AI and machine learning (ML) are all very different and hence it is important to leverage on all of them.
“Organisations need flex control to scale at speed,” said Frederic.
On the primary definition of the cloud, 58% voted it to be an “infrastructure located outside of the datacentre which is managed by an external party”.
Some delegates, instead, had an opposing view that hybrid cloud as a provider of multi-function applications should be instead defined as a “location independent IT operating model”.
76.9% voted that “concerns on data privacy, security and compliance” is the primary concern when putting workload in the cloud. Cybersecurity was addressed to be the main point behind this.
Delegates from the pharmaceutical industry pointed out that their data requires high security and there are doubts if a cloud platform will be able to provide that.
44.4% of delegates voted that it “depends” when asked if workloads are more secure or less secure in the public cloud.
A delegate shared that when storing of information online, it depends on how the data is secured. That concern was addressed with the insight that security should not be a decision-making factor for using hybrid cloud.
Lack of control of the system, however, is a big contributor to the fear of public cloud not being able to secure workloads.
50% of delegates voted as having a fair understanding and knowledge about public cloud. Delegates shared that with the big providers of cloud constantly enhancing their technology and services, it becomes a race for them to catch-up with the changes while attempting to adopt the technology.
Be forward in your journey
Joseph Smith, Chief Technologist and Advisory at Singtel concluded the event with food-for-thought and questions for delegates to reflect upon. He said that they should now have realised their transformation plan.
They should now be aware of how the transformation to the hybrid cloud will help them. He said that the delegates do acknowledge that skills are needed and are informed about the security concerns surrounding cloud adoption and of how they can be mitigated.
He said that it important for organisations to bring this out and take the step forward. They must ask themselves: Are you being a transformative force for the business?
Joseph said that businesses should understand what the plan is, what is the strategy to be used, and of what skills are needed.
“Be forward and think about it,” he said.
Delegates left the session with a better understanding of what a hybrid cloud can do for their business and of the questions they should be asking themselves during their journey of the adoption/use of it.