May 27, 2015

What is your cloud vision?

Daniel Downing

Head of Microsoft and Productivity Platforms, Tieto

It's clear that both the Nordic IT service market and customer demand for these services are undergoing a rapid transformation. Clients must digitalize in order to offer an improved customer experience and achieve operational benefits that are only available to businesses able to harness the disruptive opportunities new technologies can provide. More than any other innovation, cloud services have become a major catalyst for digitalization.

Moving to the cloud requires a different way of thinking. While there are many benefits and opportunities that come with using the cloud, it requires substantial adjustments to our behaviour. Many people are naturally reluctant to try new things, but it's important to help them understand where they need to go and why. Once people see the big picture, the cloud is no longer an obstacle, but a window of opportunity.

How do you start?

Moving to the cloud is a big change for any enterprise. Without a broader vision, it's easy to struggle. For the first 2–3 years, a clear vision and an overall strategy can reduce or even eliminate barriers to the cloud world.

It's important to understand how the cloud will affect every department. First, explore the benefits, starting with customer needs and developing employee skills, and then consider specific product portfolios and marketing strategies. You may find that roles and responsibilities need to be redefined—the cloud is far more than an IT concern.

For most organizations, migrating in-house applications and data to the cloud requires more than any typical IT project. A move to the cloud must be done efficiently and in an order that suits the needs of the organization and end users alike.

Technology is integral to any transition to the cloud, but preparing your people for change is just as important.

Three perspectives to a cloud vision

The cloud can be considered from 3 different angles: business perspective, employee perspective and technology perspective. Let me share some of the thoughts based on our own experience in Tieto:

Employee perspective

In Tieto, it was clear that our organization needed a change. We felt we needed to start with creating a mind-set change with our employees to signal our desire to transform. Microsoft's "Cloud First, Mobile First" vision is a really good example. When you talk to the people inside Microsoft, you can hear that everything is geared towards the cloud and mobile. For us the mindset change meant getting rid of silo thinking and working across all old boundaries.

Preparing your people is important. The cloud facilitates the unrestricted flow of work and ideas. When people realise that networks, storage and even computers are dissolved by the cloud, the potential for collaboration (through platforms like SharePoint, Lync and Exchange, for example) is only limited by the willingness and imagination of your employees.

We also needed to take care of having the right set of skills among our people. We still need good people to manage the standard ITIL services; capacity planning as well as incident and problem management are as fundamental as ever. But, it is vital to have the right cloud specialists, architects and project managers to get your system off the ground. The good old days of sysadmins that primarily focused on troubleshooting TCP/IP issues are long gone.

Technology perspective

A transition to the cloud requires a thorough consideration of how to move data and applications. How will you keep data secure? Can you keep your old applications or do they need to be rewritten from scratch?

To help make your vision a reality, Tieto offers choices to CIOs and businesses through our hybrid Cloud. Our hybrid model combines traditional IT services with flexible, cost-effective private and public cloud services. This model permits the modernization towards a fully automated cloud environment and supports our customers as they reinvent themselves.

Through the hybrid model, your organization can access the specific cloud solutions that meet your specific needs. Day-to-day operations can utilize tools like Office365 and Azure, while private cloud services are available when security and privacy are paramount or when very low latency is required —the choice is yours. We combine all the advantages of the cloud and deliver unique worry-free full-stack services.

For example, Posti (earlier Itella) uses the flexibility afforded by our hybrid cloud to post parcels and manage logistics across 11 time zones.

Business perspective

At Tieto, our goal is to become the leading enterprise cloud provider in the Nordics. We intend to move 80% of our revenue to cloud services by 2020. Within our Microsoft-based services specifically, we are already well on our way to the goal: in 2014, 20% of the revenue came from the cloud, dramatically up from the year before.

A host of enterprise customers use our hybrid cloud technology every single day. We are committed to the success of our customers through helping them transform, digitalise and excel. Not only can the cloud save them time and money, but it can also facilitate innovation and expand the boundaries of what is possible.

Does your organisation have a cloud vision? What are the first steps toward realising your cloud vision?

The writer is Daniel Downing, Head of Microsoft and Productivity Platforms, Tieto. You can read more about Tieto Cloud services here.

For futher reading: "Making the hybrid cloud work for your business" and  "What is preventing digital transformation"

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