Smarter business through the Cloud
What drives the actual take-off of the cloud? As with all trends, there’s first an element of hype that makes heads of organizations curious, but the hype will not make IT departments move forward. We need to be able to demonstrate and provide real value to our customers and potential customers to make them prepared to take the next step.
As head of sales and business development for Cloud Services, I daily face the requirements from our customers, and I can conclude that they can be divided into a few main groups. We see the large customers with a need for modernization. They have old hardware and legacy software and they want to start over, preferably not taking the CAPEX investment upfront. Some of them have long contractual agreements and they are only able to move to the cloud when these expire, unless, of course, they are with us.
IDC states that 50 percent of applications or services that are built in the cloud today cannot be built on existing client-server technology, due to requirements of artificial intelligence, data analysis and connection to millions of devices and doing that on a huge scale. The building blocks provided in the cloud make it so much easier to build these new applications or services.
We also see customers, often schools, who have a large amount of users and a high degree of collaboration. They typically want us to take them into the public cloud, but they are also open to keeping some data and applications in local data centers, so they need a bit of both.
Then there are other customers, often from the industry and finance sector, but also from the public sector with specific software needs, who look to buy their Software as a Service from us. Big data, analytics, IoT and Devops are drivers.
Finally, we see some very large customers with very specific needs, where we sometimes need to tailor parts of the responses, but increasingly, we can support most customers with a highly automated and standardized offering, which is cost efficient.
While the rationale for moving into the cloud arena differs, scalability, availability, continuous development and pay as you go/grow are key drivers to all customers.
So the trend goes from maintaining and supporting the customer’s IT environment, providing basic capacity, to helping the customer define a grand vision for collaboration and flexibility and bringing them there, while at the same time providing enhanced software and services that will entice their employees and end users or customers.
The challenge is to combine the need for a basic infrastructure which sometimes can be brought into the public clouds, sometimes needs to remain in the local data centers, on the customer premises or our own, with the higher degree of flexibility to support all the customers’ current and future needs for applications and services and no or redefined business models.
In 2015 and 2016, Radar on behalf of Tieto performed a study on cloud maturity, and we found that about four out of five Swedish organizations use some form of Cloud Services, and in Norway, two thirds do so. The penetration of Cloud Services in the Nordic region has increased dramatically in the past two years and the trend is predicted to continue.
To reach the business value, you need some kind of maturity, and we only see a fraction having that maturity today, when it comes to both strategies and operations.
Cloud Services are no longer viewed primarily as isolated or independent solutions for existing needs driven by cost and flexibility. Rather, customers are beginning to perceive them as a different type of business model with strategic consequences.
We need different “clouds” for different purposes, with regional or local as well as global clouds. Smarter businesses need global outreach for business scalability and a regional foundation for e.g. legal compliance and speed. This environment, we call “multi-cloud”, where you need to combine public cloud services from for example Microsoft, Amazon and Google with a solid infrastructure offering from a local data center.
A cloud broker or provider today must be able to understand the customer’s specific needs. This may sound cliché, but it has never been more important. Making the wrong decisions risks placing the customer in a situation that will lock them in. A cloud provider needs to be able to open a wide door to tomorrow’s services by ensuring that today’s choices be future proof.
As a cloud provider, you need to be big enough to be able to handle SLAs, a service desk, and to ensure that you have the legal and operational muscles to be able to comply not only with the customer’s needs but also with legislation.
You need to be able to integrate and orchestrate the whole delivery including cloud services, software, workspace needs and support. You should also have strategic partnerships with all relevant providers, so that you know what they are planning, and so that you can get their immediate support if their software has an issue.
This is how we can really help transform the customer’s business, whichever it is.
There are five ways to do smarter business, or to improve your efficiency with the cloud:
Use your data - analyse and improve your business through real time analytics, so that you are on top of your benefits, weaknesses and opportunities and you can direct your efforts accordingly.
Increase your flexibility through the scalability that is provided by the cloud, and use the resources you free up to improve your business.
With an IT environment that is always up to date, you will always be the most efficient you can. Your business always has access to the right information, anywhere.
And when the collaboration is improved, all units can cooperate in the ultimate way.
Tieto is about to launch our next generation multi-cloud offering. It will provide a solid and flexible basis for new and existing services, and we are proud to be able to safely and proactively bring our customers, new and existing, to a cloud infrastructure that will continuously transform into the ultimate platform to bring them their best business value.