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28th Nov 2021

Architect Africa Online

Africa's Leading Architecture Aggregator

The most striking finding to come out of Covid cloud adoption

By Kim Furman, Synthesis Marketing Manager

“If Covid has taught us anything, it is that we are not using cloud enough,” says Synthesis Head of Cloud Computing Darryl Govender. Previously, we all walked into a bank or shop with ease. Suddenly banks, retailers and industries across the board had to create digital solutions that not only scaled but satisfied new customer needs. Enter the cloud.

“Our clients had to further their cloud usage and implement digital solutions. They had to test, fail fast and fail forward. With an influx of cloud adoption, the most striking finding involved how companies were using the cloud.”

The illusive benefits of cloud

Cloud is the ideal playground for this fast testing, scaling, adapting and agility. The benefits of cloud are many, yet what shocked and still shocks the Synthesis team is how few companies are aware of all the benefits and are actually getting the most out of the cloud.

There are cost savings through the pay-per-use model, but many companies seem to rack up massive bills. There is operational resilience, but many companies are not reaching the potential in this space. Companies are not getting the most out of cloud.

The ultimate benefit

“Companies are also missing agility, the ultimate benefit, because it is hard to measure. Agility seems to be the most nebulous concept that companies attempt to haphazardly navigate.” So how do you access it, measure it and ultimately prove value from going to the cloud?

“We have this concept to fail fast, fail forward. Pre-cloud, if you wanted to test, you had to provision infrastructure, provision services and wait for months for this to happen. Then you realised your experiment actually doesn’t work. You were left wondering what you would do with the hardware or the services you procured, or the people hired?”

“But now, with cloud, you can go and test this in an afternoon or a week or a month and create a minimal viable product (MVP). You can determine if something will work. You can fail fast and forward – learn from the failure, take those learnings and repurpose them to try different things. That is what starts to bring the organisational and business agility into focus. You can go to market faster with new services and new products. You can test them in a variety of ways and see how your customers respond. Paper forms and in-person processes can become things of the past.”

Learning faster means satisfying customers faster and there lies a competitive edge. That is the way to measure agility.

But how do you get the most of cloud?

“Anyone can go to cloud but not everyone goes to cloud right – to maximise benefits, to tap into agility. To do this, companies must marry business and technology. One effective way to do this is through a Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCoE).”

A CCoE institutionalises best practices, governance standards, automation, and drives change throughout the organisation. When done well, a CCoE inspires a cultural shift to innovation and a change-is-normal mindset. This is what many companies were missing when Covid hit and are still missing now. They implemented the cloud but not the culture and processes to make it work for them.

The true benefits of cloud, from a five-year 637% ROI to 94%[1] unplanned down time to the agility factor can only be achieved when cloud ties back to people.

Cloud is a people construct – people from finance to compliance to IT. Implementing a CCoE whether the company is 10 people to 10 000 people allows a company to optimise the benefits of the cloud.

“So as an example, it is imperative to train your employees to utilise cloud right – the finance team can understand the financial implication, the governance team can understand regulations and privacy, etc. It’s really trying to band together a diverse team to understand all the pieces from a business perspective. Then, from an engineering perspective, it’s everything from what types of tooling, what types of standards, what types of services do you use in the cloud and so on.”

“You want to be able to reuse the institutional knowledge. Oftentimes the financial and engineering sides of the business have been separated. So, it’s really trying to marry those two together. Leveraging organisational skillsets to propel the organisation through accelerating the use of cloud to achieve organisational goals – agility, innovation, reduced costs etc. So, it’s trying to pull those functions together into a team to drive the agenda forward. It is repurposing the team that you have to actually go on this type of cloud journey and get the most out of the cloud.”

Any organisation can reap the full benefits from cloud and form a CCoE. Govender will unpack exactly how to implement a CCoE and practically gain the full benefits from cloud (8% cost savings to 47% increased agility[2]) in an AWS Synthesis webinar taking place 11:00 SAST 7 September.




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