Not all public cloud services are the same, and different cloud vendors have their own strengths and weaknesses. Choosing what is right for your business is critical in achieving the business outcomes you want. A poor cloud strategy and inaccurate cost estimates during the discovery phase can be the death knell for a cloud project.
The complexity of multicloud means that companies can be surprised by hidden costs, such as those involved in reworking applications for a cloud infrastructure, if required.
Here at Orange Business Services, our consultants provide end-to-end support for your cloud project from evaluation to operation, guaranteeing the security of your data on every step of your cloud journey. We can help you with key areas such as workload assessments and performance optimization.
Infrastructure audit and assessing cloud readiness
Mapping and evaluating your infrastructure is the first step in creating a dedicated cloud strategy. This includes a technical mapping of your existing infrastructure and components, and carefully analyzing data flow exchanges between services. This way the business criticality of each of your applications can be defined.
We advise undertaking a cloud readiness assessment of your infrastructure and applications. This will help you support your decision making by choosing the ideal cloud services and providing an overview of how the implementation will work. It will also give you an idea of costs and how much financial support will be required for the transformation.
Not all applications are suitable for cloud migration. From the cloud readiness assessment, you can identify applications and data that are eligible for the cloud and the best way of migrating them. Here, any issues around data sovereignty and regulatory issues can also be addressed.
Finding the right cloud provider
At Orange, we are agnostic in our choice of cloud technologies, so we can integrate and orchestrate applications in an end-to-end multicloud environment that best suits your specific business needs. We have partnerships with the big players including Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud. We also have our own offering in the form of Flexible Engine.
As part of your due diligence in evaluating cloud service providers, you will need to ask questions such as: Where will your data be stored? How are your data and applications protected from other users on the cloud platform? What security tools are in place? How are compliance requirements handled?
The role of cultural change in cloud adoption
When you have your migration strategy in place, it is essential that you bring the entire organization on board to support the migration. Our consultants can help you identify the risks and impacts that adopting cloud will have on business leaders, departments and users. They can help to refine processes and make sure they are fully aligned with business needs.
Organizations need to prioritize time and resources for cultural change activities to succeed in their cloud journey. This includes putting together the right teams for transformation, training and providing intuitive tools in areas such as collaboration.
Don’t forget the network
Optimizing the network to support cloud-based applications is the bedrock to achieving a smooth cloud transformation. There is, after all, no cloud without connectivity. Yet so often our consultants see it overlooked in cloud strategies they have been engaged to assess. Robust connectivity is essential for accessing cloud services securely, effectively and remotely. If it is ignored, it leads to poor performance and an inferior user experience.
When you migrate to the cloud, make sure you take monitoring tools with you
When you move from on premises to cloud, you can lose some application visibility as you are no longer managing the infrastructure. Application performance monitoring (APM) tools are essential here to provide insight into how they are behaving. Consultants at Orange help with agile methods and innovative tools to proactively monitor the availability, performance and security of a company’s cloud estate.
Monitoring the user experience is also an area that you are well advised to look at as part of the business goal to deliver powerful digital experiences. By 2023, Gartner forecasts that 60% of infrastructure and operations leaders will be required to report on users’ digital experience, up from less than 15% in 2019. Gartner recommends monitoring the end-user experience proactively and enabling digital experience monitoring (DEM) to track the most critical transactions and customer journeys to mitigate the impact on users.
A cloud-native approach
Our consultants can also help you get ahead of the curve by adopting a cloud-native approach. Cloud-native applications are built specifically to take advantage of some of the benefits of cloud including flexibility, performance and scalability.
Cloud-native development incorporates several technologies and methodologies including DevOps, platform as a service, microservices and containers, which can all help to boost business outcomes. Moving toward cloud-native application development and delivery is far more than a change in technology, processes and architecture. It also requires a cultural change. Internal teams, for example, must learn how to use cross-functional methods to ensure software is continuously improved to meet business outcomes.
Organizations looking to go cloud native, however, must understand that it is a continuous cycle of change that requires commitment. Consultancy is invaluable in helping companies through this new, evolving cloud environment. The benefits of cloud native will make it worth the effort, however. They include faster release dates, superior customer experiences and easier management.
Taking a consultative approach to cloud
All too often organizations take an ad hoc approach to their cloud migration and wonder why they don’t get the results they expected. A consultative approach works to define your cloud infrastructure from the outset and provides technical expertise customized to your business to avoid any disappointment in cloud investment. This includes knowledge of best-in-breed solutions and services.
Regardless of your IT team’s proficiency, getting help from experienced cloud consultants provides you with a smooth migration path, guiding you through the entire process from planning to implementation, and helps you build an efficient long-term roadmap.
Read how a multinational technology group boosted its business productivity with cloud connectivity.
Jean is Head of Solution Consulting, Europe at Orange Business Services. She leads a team of professional services consultants based throughout Europe who consult and deliver unified comms-collaboration, APM, security and SDN/SD-WAN solutions for global multinational customers. Over the last two years, her team has been driving the SDN/SD-WAN journey transformation of Orange customers.