Is the cloud on your IT horizon? Consider this first.

Josh Klein
By Josh Klein

Divisional Client Solutions Leader – North East April 4, 2017

In my role as Dell EMC’s consulting services leader for the East, I routinely get all sorts of questions from customers and clients about the biggest challenges and threats impacting IT.

Among the most common question is this: “How can I leverage the cloud to solve my IT problems?”

A common refrain is that public cloud environments can deliver numerous benefits to IT departments seeking to transform or even get out of the data center business altogether. Amid the drive toward digitization that is happening in many industries right now, IT departments have an opportunity to utilize the cloud as both a platform and a catalyst to help streamline their costs and operations and drive innovation through an array of services that benefit the entire organization.

While the public cloud does offer substantial opportunities, it’s also new territory for most companies with some key questions and concerns that need to be addressed before a business jumps into a cloud based IT model hook, line and sinker.

While the right cloud solution can be a powerful way to help IT departments to start thinking and acting like a service-based organization within the larger company, implementing a cloud solution should be approached wisely. If the public cloud is on the horizon at your IT shop, here are some simple but important issues to consider first.

Avoid the “lift and shift” urge.

Much like traditional IT outsourcing, the temptation to simply shift all existing data center workloads over to a public cloud solution may seem faster and easier at first. It’s not. The long-term reality is that this approach often just makes it harder to properly consolidate, integrate and streamline IT infrastructure, because you haven’t really made the tough choices necessary for improvement prior to moving the workloads to somewhere or someone else.

Get the lay of the land.

From better performance, to easier maintenance, to increased cost savings, the benefits of cloud solutions are many. But not everything in the data center should go to the public cloud. Before you start a cloud migration strategy, it’s important to decide what should stay and what can go. In my experience, things like test and development environments make a lot of sense to move to the public cloud, as do things such as email solutions or backup environments. Mission critical items or the “Crown Jewels” of the company, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems meanwhile, may make more sense staying in-house in an internal or hybrid cloud environment.

Inventory your apps.

Today’s IT infrastructure essentially exists to serve up applications and related information to their end users. As noted in the January edition of Cybertrend, internal customers want applications made easy. They want to be able to utilize a service center approach with offerings like analytics as a service. They want it delivered in nimble fashion to deliver a maximum return on investment. The resulting sprawl of various applications must be inventoried and understood before a decision can be made about where they should reside. Some applications may serve the entire organization; others may exist for a single employee. Understanding the best approach to this application transformation is key to making an informed choice.

Ask for help. Really.

I hear from IT departments every day who are trying to crack the code on cloud, all by themselves. It’s true that IT has always been the group that solves other people’s problems. But the cloud is different, so ask for help. Implementing a cloud strategy correctly is just too important as it opens up a new world of options, possibilities and risks that didn’t exist before. You will benefit from working with a trusted partner like Dell EMC to get some counseling and guidance.

The cloud is a powerful tool for today’s IT leaders, but it’s not a one size fits all solution. It takes a great deal of planning, savvy and care to effectively deliver a cloud solution that can provide clear, compelling and responsive value to the larger organization.