Raconteur

Cloud for Business 2019

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R A C O N T E U R . N E T 05 to the organisation. Aligning an organisation's cloud strategy to a business imperative makes much more sense." Microsoft Azure's business lead Michael Wignall acknowledges the progression along the market's "maturity curve" and explains: "Organisations big and small tend to start with cloud migration. They take existing applications and pro - jects that are traditionally run on-premises and move them to the cloud because of cost efficiency, scalability, security, reliability and flexibility. "They quickly look to gain further competitive advantage, though, by innovating on the cloud and gen- erally that means modernising existing applications or building new applications." In the financial services indus- try, much of the decision-mak- ing revolves around risk, so it is no wonder organisations are increas- ingly lured by performance over brand. "As more services move over to the cloud the decision should be based on minimising risk, providing longer-term flexibility and value," says Mr Williams of YellowDog. His organisation's research finds that "the cloud provider itself is the least important aspect for decision-makers when selecting their cloud providers" with an insight and data-led approach preferred, and return on investment also a crucial factor. According to the 2019 European Insight Intelligent Technology Index, published early this year, UK busi - nesses are on average frittering away £8.8 million annually on unused cloud services, equivalent to £24,000 a day. "An enterprise's priority is to ensure they receive the maximum return on their cloud investment," says Ozioma Uzoegwu, lead cloud architect at Insight, a software solu - tions company. "This means under- standing where their workloads need to be placed, whether in public, private or hybrid cloud, and choos- ing providers to match." Top cloud providers are realising they need to set themselves apart from rivals through better serving customers. However, as Mr Williams says: "This focus on performance means the barrier to entry is high; new entrants need to be extremely well funded." Ms Roscow at Accenture concurs. "The good news for the big players is that this shift in the dynamics may work in their favour. Moving further up the value chain by offering ser - vices on top of their infrastructure is a natural next step. Several key provid- ers are already creating data analytics tools and plug-in industry solutions, which will attract organisations look- ing for long-term value," she says. "It will always boil back down to the business problem. The provider that can best answer this, and in doing so ensure their customer's success, will win the next leg of the cloud race." Jostling for position, Adrian Poole, head of financial services at GCP in the UK and Ireland, claims "the pace of innovation we bring to cli - ents is second to none". He says that, while return on investment isn't where it should be in the cloud mar- ket and needs to change, his teams are always focused on trying to solve customers' problems. "It's not a case of saying to a cli- ent, 'We want to move your work- loads to the cloud'. They need to understand why we would do that, how it solves their biggest prob- lem, what the benefits are," says Mr Poole. "We're moving into an age of assistance. As cloud providers, we have to anticipate what our clients' needs are. Using artificial intelli- gence we can put forward appropri- ate propositions." Microsoft's Mr Wignall is simi- larly bullish. "At Azure we talk about being inventive with purpose. We ground ourselves in Microsoft's mis- sion statement, which is to empower people and organisations around the planet to achieve more. Our success is our customers' success," he says. With the International Data Corporation predicting 90 per cent of large organisations will adopt hybrid and multi-cloud strategies by 2020, the battle lines have been drawn. RightScale 2019 PUBLIC CLOUD ADOP TION Percentage of global IT professionals who use the following Amazon Web Services Microsoft Azure Google Cloud Platform 2018 2019 64% 61% 45% 52% 18% 19% Commercial feature y 2025, each human being is predicted to produce around 34 terabytes of data during their lifetime, ten times the amount produced in total up to 2016. Given the rapidity in which this landscape is evolving, it's both understandable and necessary that businesses look for expert assistance when it comes to cloud optimisation. Thankfully, a previously common iner- tia concerning cloud has been well and truly replaced as a consequence of the data revolution. However, placing change in the correct hands – either your own or an external provider's – brings about its own challenge. "There are so many facets to consider and most can be mitigated by putting cloud and data decisions into the hands of experts so you can instead focus on your own core competencies," says Hiren Parekh, senior director of cloud services at OVH. A top-ten cloud provider world- wide and Europe's number one, OVH leverages its smart – simple, multi- local, accessible, reversible, transpar- ent – solution to assist clients in their increasingly complex data journeys. Outsourcing cloud management is the smart thing to do Difficult cloud and data decisions can distract companies from their real business, so call in the experts "These facets, first and foremost, include the agility to deploy and manage data," says Mr Parekh. "Cloud is now a central point of strategy for all compa- nies, even those that were tradition- ally more hesitant as concerns around cybersecurity and the ability to manage so much data push through." He also cites aspects of operational expenditure and financial control as a sometimes problematic consideration for companies trying to negotiate the new landscape. "Managing costs and outlays for some- thing that's developing as quickly as cloud utilisation isn't easy when it's not your core specialism," says Mr Parekh, referencing an August 2019 study OVH commissioned on cloud service adop- tion with Freeform Dynamics. "As cloud provision is an integral part of our supply chain, our cloud infrastructure becomes more manageable via monthly billing and an operating-expense model. "It sounds logistical, but it's an apt con- sideration given the complexity of inte- gration and how companies can strug- gle to manage this. It's where our focus on reversibility comes in, where open cloud with open standards can facilitate not just a lift-and-shift approach to data transfer, but also a turnkey, all-in-one house to store this data." GROWING IMPACT OF DATA OVH recently worked with a data analyt- ics client to help them handle such large volumes of data, including the integra- tion challenges that derive from merg- ers and acquisitions. Leveraging OVH's differentiating industrial model, the datacentre con- solidation exercise ensured a requisite level of agility to deploy and manage data through one centralised platform. "Our integration capabilities helped them downsize and optimise what was a previously fragmented infrastructure, bringing together all their data in one safe place," says Mr Parekh. "Our industrial model is a differentiator in this respect as we can own and manage the supply chain from end to end. "No matter how capable companies think they are at managing this data in-house, they can never have the same scope as outsourced specialists." This scope incorporates owned and operated servers, datacentres, water cooling technology, a dark fibre network and international, or multi-local, reach in the case of OVH. In fact, such is the company's acknowledgement of the growing significance of cloud optimisa- tion that the business is transitioning to the OVHcloud brand. "It's a direct reaction to the shift we're seeing," says Mr Parekh. "OVHcloud will have dedicated universes for spe- cific market segments to fulfil cus- tomer needs in the right way. OVHcloud Enterprise for enterprise and business customers, OVHcloud Marketplace as an internal ecosystem for the OVH network and our OVHcloud Partner Program will educate clients while allowing them to focus on their own core competencies." For OVHcloud, it's a tangible recog- nition of the growing impact that data is having in both public and private spaces. For prospective clients though, it's as clear a sign as ever that this rev- olution more often than not requires expert assistance. "Success for us is facilitating other companies' successes," Mr Parekh con- cludes. "And in the era of data, success will largely be determined by how com- panies deploy and manage cloud." For more information please visit www.ovh.co.uk B There are so many facets to consider and most can be mitigated by putting cloud and data decisions into the hands of experts Our cloud service costs are difficult to manage HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP THE FOLLOWING POTENTIAL PROBLEMS WITH CLOUD SERVICE ADOPTION AND USE? Cost transparency is a particular issue with some providers We are spending more on cloud services than we need to Unfavourable contract terms represent a current or future risk Integrating cloud services with on-premise systems is a challenge Integrating cloud services with one another is a challenge for us Operating our cloud service estate takes too much time and effort 23% 18% 14% 13% 27% 17% 17% 18% 25% 24% 10% 24% 17% 12% 24% 21% 24% 29% 22% 29% 25% 30% 29% 30% 37% 27% 36% 42% Encountered but dealt with Current challenge Emerging or expected challenge Not expected Unsure Cloud Provider Temperature Check [166 respondents] Freeform Dynamics, August 2019

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