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Adapting cloud operations in the omnipresent cloud era

Image: Adobe Stock / idambeer

Cloud computing is a core underpinning of the business and IT needs of an organisation today. However, the way cloud computing is being leveraged is changing.

The future of cloud activity will be focused on leveraging a variety of vendors, building on traditional cloud foundational technologies while adding technical capabilities.

  • Engage providers outside traditional public cloud

Selecting a strategic cloud provider is not the final step for an organisation in its journey to meet its digital business outcomes and transformational needs. It is therefore essential for I&O leaders to engage vendors besides their traditional strategic cloud providers to meet their organisation’s digital requirements. Consider the technology core, capabilities enhancement, and value enhancement categories during this process as they form strategic alliances and support technology decisions.

Technology core is technology pioneered and heavily influenced by hyperscaler cloud providers. There will be increasingly fewer vendors in this space as it requires major investment in infrastructure, which not all providers are able to support. Meanwhile, capabilities enhancement leverages the technology core but adds additional functionality. Finally, value enhancement leverages the technology core and the capabilities enhancement layers to provide services used directly by the user.

By making these considerations, I&O leaders will expand their pool of possible vendors and technology choices and will allow them to better navigate the cloud.

  • Map strategic vendors against cloud strategy

There are multiple paths toward the adoption of cloud operating models beyond the public cloud alone.  Ultimately, these varying paths will increase the complexity for organisations to define a cloud strategy and associate deployment.

First, it is important for I&O leaders to identify complementary vendors by mapping possible partners against deployment and operational considerations within cloud strategy. Also understand that some vendors will change focus.

For example, a vendor that is not gaining traction with its traditional cloud services may decide to focus on technology and services that leverage core services provided by other vendors. Because vendor focus is predicted to change over time, remain in tune with vendor product roadmaps and strategic focuses and understand the evolving competitive product and service environment.

  • Rationalise technology decisions

Complex technologies will continue to proliferate in the world of multi-cloud, distributed cloud, hyperscale edge, sovereign cloud, and industry clouds. This will create severe navigation challenges.

To combat this, weigh technology decisions based on the cooperative and competitive relationships of the vendors engaged. Vendors must decide what level of collaboration and/or competition they engage with other vendors. For I&O leaders, the decision lies between horizontally aligned enterprise focus and vertically aligned enterprise focus.

Horizontally, aligned enterprise focus is a strategy that commoditises aspects of the cloud provider’s services. They seek the best-in-class technology throughout and have a strong preference for open-source offerings, pressed over vendor-specific solutions. On the other hand, a vertically aligned enterprise focus strategy selects a strategic cloud provider and limits the selection of tactical cloud providers for one-off requirements.

The next few years will pose challenges to businesses that need to navigate the cloud computing environment. Aligning vendor partners and technology decisions against a framework centred around the layers of technology core, capabilities enhancement and value enhancement will crucially support this journey.

Dennis Smith
Dennis Smith
VP Analyst at Gartner

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