Many organisations that were slow to undertake transformation and move to the cloud found themselves having to do so rapidly over the past 18 months. There was simply no alternative to deliver the kind of business resilience that would allow them to continue operating as productively without it.
Now, with the transformation complete, these organisations are seeing strategic opportunity in these new environments, and with good reason. According to KPMG, organisations that have successfully transformed can expect that as much as 80 per cent  of new revenue opportunities will come from digital sources.
The challenge is getting new cloud environments right, and this is what Microsoft is working with its partners to deliver to enterprise.
In a Microsoft fast study on Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure (HCI), Lenovo’s Hybrid Computing Infrastructure lead for Australia and New Zealand, Daniel Morris, said that part of the challenge is in shifting the focus of the technology from simply tallying up the computing power, storage and memory needed, and instead focusing the energy on the business outcomes that they are looking to achieve.
“This is where HCI comes to the fore,’ Morris said. “There are situations where the cloud is the best solution. But there are other use-cases where retaining systems on-prem is best. For example, a business may need a solution where low latency is critical. By retaining systems on-prem they can guarantee the latency levels they need while keeping costs manageable and predictable.”
The result of adjusting to this approach, is that environments become better tailored to meet the exact business needs. For example, with a hybrid cloud environment, it becomes possible to enable edge computing operations, that function with zero latency but can also feed back to an enterprise-wide network that goes well beyond the edge.
To highlight this, in the fast study, Morris recounted the experience of a supermarket: “If you think about a self-service checkout at a supermarket, there may be dozens of sensors such as scales and cameras as well as point-of-sale systems and payment gateways. Each register is an enterprise workload,” Morris said.
“The data is collected and processed locally but can then be sent to a cloud-based application that may service hundreds of stores to facilitate ordering and tracking so that each store’s needs are met. It is about processing and dealing with the information where it is relevant and where it is needed.”
Remember: the cloud is a journey, not a destination
One statistic that continues to trip enterprises up is the rate in which transformation fails. According to BCG research , only 30 per cent of transformation projects meet or exceed their expected value.
According to Glenn McPherson, Senior Regional Director, Modern Data Centre, Asia-Pacific and Japan at Dell Technologies, the secret to success is in understanding that cloud success is a journey, not a destination.
“A decade ago, everyone was saying let's all go into the cloud. And a lot of us were thinking back then that was one place. It’s an interesting theory, but not appropriate in practice. There are many different cloud operating services and models. You need to choose the ones that suit you,” McPherson said in the fast study.
One of the challenges facing many enterprises with modern cloud environment is the challenge of sprawl. As noted in the fast study, when the cloud started gaining popularity, businesses started to see applications, services and data spread out across cloud services and on-premises systems. That has resulted in many challenges, such as data kept in silos that cannot be easily brought together.
“We are solving that problem. We can put a harness across all those applications. That is the advantage of working with large, trusted providers like Dell Technologies and Microsoft,” McPherson said.
Despite these challenges, the allure of the cloud is impossible to resist – not just as a response to the current working and social conditions, but beyond, as businesses look to new strategic opportunities and for competitive differentiation. The ability for businesses to juggle cost control against the capacity to scale and innovate relies on mastering the sometimes complex, but highly flexible and powerful potential of the hybrid cloud.
“How do you set yourself up so that you can be extremely agile and innovate?”, McPherson said in the fast study. “The aim is to have systems that let you continually improve, take cost out of your business, and be more efficient in the service that you are providing to your customers.”