How to manage the complexity of multi-cloud environments
As enterprises move their workloads (applications and data) to the cloud, hybrid and distributed cloud environments have become the norm for most companies. Eighty-five percent of respondents to a new Harvard Business Review-Analysis Services survey say their organizations use at least two clouds – and a quarter of respondents are using five or more.
Many enterprises have moved to the cloud to accelerate innovation, agility and growth and realize cost savings with the cloud’s on-demand usage model. But some are holding themselves back with the increasing complexity of multi-cloud operations and out-of-control cloud costs.
Managing the increasing complexity and run costs of these hybrid, distributed cloud environments is now a big focus for enterprises. They want to reduce the complexity of cloud operations (cloudOps) to accelerate innovation to meet growing customer expectations.
But not all organizations manage multiple clouds effectively or economically to achieve these goals.
Some organizations use cloud services inconsistently across child business units, risk the cost of unwanted services, lose opportunities to optimize performance, and look for gaps in managing and securing internal and customer data. While 77% of survey respondents say their organizations need to improve cloud management, only 27% have created a cloud center for excellence in organizing and sharing best practices.
A Way Forward
Organizations that are now looking for ways to manage multiple clouds are finding that engineering-led operations offer the advantages of refining their cloud-workload management strategies.
Management of multi-cloud complexity requires new approaches to information technology operations that increase automation and simplification. You will need to implement development, security, and operations and site reliability engineering practices on how you design, build, deploy and manage your applications and workloads for the cloud. This requires having the right skills and policies in place — and implementing cultural change in how you develop and modernize applications for the cloud.
Without a consistent way to determine where, when and how to run their cloud workloads, organizations can be challenged to capture all the benefits they expect from their cloud investments. But by placing CloudApps and Cloud Financial Operations (FinApps) at the center of the business strategy, the organization can more fully realize the potential of its cloud investments through increased agility and efficiency, lower costs and improved data protection.
Implementing modern autonomous cloudApps and FinApp strategies into application design, build and run processes helps to share and collaborate on all functions, increase agility and efficiency, organize costs and secure company and customer data.
CloudOps for integrated cloud management
When managing multiple public and internal cloud environments, decision-making requires balancing technology with business strategy — the goal of data collection and analytics, employee interactions and productivity, artificial intelligence / machine learning (AI / ML) automation, customer relationship management, or any other outcome.
Companies surveyed who have not yet fully embedded CloudApps say they are working on overcoming cloud-management challenges, hiring the skills they need, implementing standards and practices as they upgrade, improving cloud usage, improving security and maintaining data consistently. . When asked to choose from a list of challenges they face in managing their clouds, 51% of respondents report that they are struggling to keep up with technology skills / talents, which is the most cited answer.
While different functions and practices have competing interests, the critical step in managing multiple clouds is to prioritize and focus on the organization’s goals, such as operational efficiency, cutting costs, accelerating digital transformation, increasing productivity and enhancing security.
When organizations organize their cloud management and free up their IT resources and talents from dealing with the daily challenges of managing cloud complexity, they can accelerate digital transformation by focusing more on automation, AI, data analytics and new insights.
FinOps for Cloud Cost Management
For many organizations, the cornerstone of innovation is high-speed decision making to drive cloud computing and keep pace with business agility and changing customer demands and market trends. But without proper inspection and balance, cloud investments can easily become a runaway train.
To address these challenges, more than half of respondents surveyed by HBR-AS say their organizations have integrated their methods into FinOps to streamline their spending and use.
Establishing FinOps practice within the organization encourages cross-functional collaboration of technology, operations and finance teams to increase financial accountability on cloud investments. This collaboration aims to improve processes, reduce business risks and deliver contributions faster while reducing costs and increasing business performance.
Establishing the FinOps practice requires building a cross-functional team of finance leaders, engineers and dedicated FinOps practitioners into the Cloud Center of Excellence – critical functions including calculating costs, allocating cloud resources and negotiating vendor pricing.
Some organizations require a culture change to establish a FinOps practice, change the traditional leadership responsibility of technology to make all purchase decisions, and share investment decisions to ensure coordination over business strategy. It also requires developers to consider more cost-related issues, such as the impact that product enhancement or transformation can have on cloud investments.
As cloud use models become more sophisticated and data-rich, opportunities for FinOps will only multiply as cloud quality and overall business performance improve. Once it establishes the Center for Excellence in FinOps, the firm can make more balanced cloud investments and strengthen the business by strategically redistributing cloud spending in a fast-paced digital world.
Learn how Hitachi Vantara can help your organization Apply CloudOps and FinOps to refine and grow your strategy.