31-12-2018 Door: Lyndsay Wise

Expanding the Cloud

Deel dit bericht

Within many organizations, cloud is considered the new platform of choice. At the same time, most companies are starting to ask themselves where they should store their data moving forward, whether they should leverage the expertise of Amazon Web Services (AWS), create a hybrid environment, or keep their data within their firewall.

All of these technical and platform oriented questions defeat the purpose of what the cloud can offer organizations within today’s marketplace. The reality is that questions that relate to how data is leveraged should not be based on the type of platform required, or whether to adopt a Cloud First strategy. An organization needs to look at their business and data requirements, identify their goals, and evaluate the technologies that can be leveraged to support what they want to achieve. This does not mean that technical expertise or the decision to select one type of platform over another are not important, but the reality is that too many organizations focus on leveraging specific platforms and technologies based on their technical requirements without considering the business implications.

For instance, instead of developing a cloud first strategy, an organization should identify why this type of approach works for their organization. Is it easier for them to manage and maintain their data assets in the cloud? Will they benefit from managed services and third party expertise? Are there competitive advantages to leveraging cloud first? What about their current on-premises infrastructure, hardware, and support costs? How will service level agreements (both internal and external) be affected? Will cloud really be less expensive over time, and what are the payoffs by looking at shifting focus to the cloud? Are there business benefits that can only be realized through a cloud first approach?

Based on these questions, it might sound like I am not a proponent of the cloud. Actually, I believe that cloud platforms offer many benefits and that moving forward it will be easier for organizations to manage complex data ecosystems by leveraging the cloud. At the same time, I have seen too many businesses adopt the cloud for cloud sake and not because they can tie adoption to business outcomes. And this is a mistake.

There are many benefits to the cloud, but organizations require an understanding of those benefits before deciding to rip and replace their current infrastructure or take a cloud first approach. Being strategic and leveraging the right approach will and should look different within each organization. This means that, in most cases, an organization will have a mix of on-premises and cloud-based solutions, both on the operational and on the analytical side.

Three Initial Cloud Considerations
Here are three considerations to evaluate to help identify what will work best within your organization:
• What are desired business outcomes? If a logistics company wants to integrate supply chain data with an understanding of customer demographics, multiple data sources will need to be consolidated and/or accessed. Depending on where they currently reside, the types of technologies used (IoT, location intelligence, etc.) may provide the need for different delivery tools that may or may not be better in the cloud.
• What gaps exist within the organization? Focusing on gaps in information visibility can identify either data silos or lack of access. The way information is used and how it is connected requires understanding how things currently work and what is needed to address identified gaps. Addressing a lack of information access or modernizing the way data is stored and how it is leveraged within the organization is a good time to evaluate the benefits of cloud expansion – this includes platform, data, and services to gain a holistic view of operations and to provide greater analytical insight.
• How will new cloud-based initiatives affect data? Many solution providers have APIs that make complex data ecosystems easier to build and maintain. At the same time, organizations should evaluate where data is coming from and where it needs to end up in order to support business needs and value-driven processes.

Why Cloud Matters
Cloud is a tool, just like data. Its use supports organizations and can help them leverage data, services, expertise, and broader ecosystems to realize business value. As data volumes and complexities increase, organizations will have to leverage diverse platforms and data management solutions to ensure that information assets can be used to their potential. Cloud, for many organizations, will be a part of this journey. How much or how little will depend on many factors, but businesses need to understand that cloud options will continue to grow as the market makes room for more expansive use of IoT, machine learning, and autonomous things.

Lyndsay Wise

Lyndsay Wise is the Solution Director, Professional Services Division for North America, responsible for helping customers align their business strategy successful data management. Before joining Information Builders, Lyndsay worked as an industry analyst for 12 years, founding WiseAnalytics in 2007 and covered research areas related to data visualization, analytics, BI in the cloud, and implementation strategies for mid-market organizations. She provided consulting services as well as industry research into leading technologies, market trends, BI products and vendors, mid-market needs, and data visualization. In 2012, Lyndsay wrote Using Open Source Platforms for Business Intelligence: Avoid Pitfalls and Maximize ROI to help provide organizations with the tools needed to evaluate open source business intelligence and make the right software decisions.

Alle blogs van deze auteur