Why true 'cloud adoption' requires a change in mindset

Monday, 31 Oct, 2016   /   Soltius

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The benefits of cloud computing are well documented and proven for businesses in every industry, all around the world. However, our experience suggests that many New Zealand businesses are still only 'dipping their toes' in the cloud.

Have you ever thought about how cloud could ‘rebrand’ and reposition IT within your organisation? The cloud has the ability to revolutionise the way your business and customers perceive and experience the services provided by your IT department, and even the way your IT department sees itself! 

So, you know the benefits. But do you find yourself still wondering what needs to be done to ensure success? What are some keys to successfully migrating your business-critical systems to the cloud? Over the next few weeks, we'll be sharing six keys to successfully migrating your business-critical systems and enterprise workloads to the cloud.

Want all six keys now? Download our free 'six keys' eBook for the crucial tips you need to know before migrating to the cloud.

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The first, and most important, key to successfully migrating enterprise workloads to the cloud is to understand that your traditional mindset around IT will need to change. In short, simply ‘lifting and shifting’ everything you’re running today is not true cloud adoption. This approach is ‘re-platforming’ at best and, whilst it may provide a few short-term benefits, you’ll be missing out on the real transformation that the cloud can enable.

Real cloud adoption requires you to look at the cloud journey as a ‘lean’ process. Lean methodology is a leaf IT took out of manufacturing’s book, originally developed by Toyota executive Taiichi Ohno in the 1930s. The central, revolutionary concept of the lean methodology was that quality should be built into the product, and not thought of as something that you check for, and remedy, later on. This manufacturing philosophy incorporated the policy that any fault on the production line would mean halting the entire line. To give you a bit of context, there’s nothing more expensive for a manufacturing company than stopping production. In fact, it can cost millions of dollars per minute of downtime. As a result, the early days of manufacturing, heavily influenced by Henry Ford, saw production managers striving for zero production downtime. If a fault arose, the conveyor belt would keep running and the issue would be addressed later. Continuous production was deemed most important, and errors could be ‘fixed’ later on.

Toyota turned this traditional thinking on its head. These days in Toyota factories, any worker has the power to stop production. It’s this approach of stopping and fixing issues as they arise before starting production again, that has resulted in the Toyota brand becoming synonymous with quality. They’ve also seen a huge reduction in rework as a result.

Does that traditional, ‘Ford-ist’ approach sound a bit like your IT department today? Do you find yourself having to go back and fix the same issues over and over again, without ever fully addressing the root cause? The good news is that the cloud enables you to bring a lean approach to your IT! So what? Focus on fixing the root cause of issues instead of constantly ‘firefighting’ the symptoms. Do things faster and with less risk. Focus on continuous improvement and leverage the cloud’s scalability to try new ways of working and improving quality for end users.

The key to this is not to see cloud as just another infrastructure provider. If you have the mindset, that you’re simply moving “our data centre to Amazon’s data centre” you’ve made your first mistake. That’s not the way to think about it. Cloud is more than a data centre and it enables you to do so much more than this mindset allows. One major transformation cloud brings is the ability to allocate resources as needed, so you no longer need to spend time organising the procurement and installation of new servers. You can do things faster and with less investment up front, which means if it’s not right, you can afford to erase it and start again!

Think of the cloud as a new ‘production line’. When compared to on-premise, it allows a much greater degree of flexibility to ‘stop the production line’, fix the root cause of the issue, and then start again. This approach ensures the end-product is of the highest quality. With cloud you can realistically take a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) approach to your IT, whereas, in the old days (or possibly even today!), you were always focused on the end product. If we go back to the car analogy, you were already thinking about the colour of the seats before you’d even created something that could get you from A to B! With the MVP approach, your customers might ultimately want a car, but you first deliver them a bike, then a motorbike and finally a car – whilst gleaning feedback from them and redeveloping the concept at every stage.What’s the value in that you might ask? You end up providing a product of the highest quality, which is much more in line with their needs, whilst delivering them something they can use in the meantime. This kind of approach was simply impossible before

What’s the value in that, you might ask? Well, you end up providing a product of the highest quality, which is much more in line with the customer's needs, whilst delivering them something they can use in the meantime. This kind of approach was simply impossible before the cloud came about. The length of time required to procure and set up on-premise hardware meant you had to conduct long programs of work, completely focused on the end product. Then you might even come to the end of a two-year project only to find that what you’ve delivered is not what customers wanted, or their needs had significantly changed over that time! 

Our free eBook, 'Six Keys to Successfully Migrating Enterprise Workloads to the Cloud' includes more detail on this point, and will give you 5 more keys to ensure success. Click below to download the eBook now.

Download the Guide

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