How to manage the complexity of multi-cloud environments
As organizations have moved their workloads (applications and data) to the cloud, hybrid and distributed cloud environments have become the norm for most organizations. 85% of respondents to a new Harvard Business Review – Analytics Services survey say their organizations use at least two clouds — and a quarter of those respondents use five or more.
Many companies have moved to the cloud to accelerate innovation, agility and growth, and to realize cost savings with the cloud’s on-demand consumption model. However, some must grapple with the growing complexity of multi-cloud operations and cloud costs spiraling out of control.
A major focus for organizations now is managing the increasing complexity and operational costs of these hybrid, distributed cloud environments. They want to reduce the complexity of cloud operations (CloudOps) to accelerate innovation and keep up with growing customer expectations.
But not all organizations manage multiple clouds effectively or economically enough to meet these goals.
Some organizations are consuming cloud services inconsistently across siled lines of business and risk overspending on unneeded services, missing out on opportunities to optimize performance, and seeing gaps in how internal and customer data is managed and secured. While 77% of survey respondents say their organizations need to improve cloud management, only 27% have established a Cloud Center for Excellence to coordinate and share best practices.
A way forward
Organizations now looking for ways to manage multiple clouds are finding that technology-led operations offer benefits that refine their cloud workload management strategies.
Managing multi-cloud complexity requires new approaches to IT operations that improve automation and simplification. It requires the implementation of development, security, operational, and site reliability engineering practices into the way you design, build, deploy, and operate your applications and workloads for the cloud. It requires the right skills and policies—and implementing a cultural shift in building and modernizing applications for the cloud.
Without a consistent means of determining where, when, and how to run their cloud workloads, organizations can struggle to get the full benefits they expect from their cloud investments. By placing CloudOps and Cloud Financial Operations (FinOps) at the heart of business strategy, an organization can better realize the potential of its cloud investments through increased agility and efficiency, lower costs, and advanced data protection.
Implementing modern Autonomous CloudOps and FinOps strategies into application design, build, and execution processes can help all functions share insights and collaborate, increase agility and efficiency, orchestrate spend, and secure corporate and customer data.
CloudOps for orchestrated cloud management
When managing multiple public and internal cloud environments, decision-making must balance technology with business strategy—whether the goal is data storage and analytics, employee communications and productivity, artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) automation, or to support customer relationship management, or any other outcome.
Companies that responded to the survey and have not yet fully adopted CloudOps indicate that they are working to solve such cloud management challenges as hiring the skills needed, enforcing standards and practices during upgrades, optimizing cloud usage, improving security and consistent data management. When asked to select from a list of challenges they face managing their clouds, 51% said struggling to keep up with the required technology skills/talents was the most common response.
While different functions and practices may have competing interests, a critical step in managing multiple clouds is coordination and focus on prioritizing the organization’s overall goals, such as: B. Operational efficiencies, cost reduction, accelerating digital transformation, increasing productivity and increasing security.
When organizations can orchestrate their cloud management and free their IT resources and talent from the day-to-day challenges of managing cloud complexity, they can accelerate digital transformation through an increased focus on automation, AI, data analytics and new insights.
FinOps for cloud cost management
For many organizations, cloud computing is the cornerstone of innovation to drive business agility and rapid decision making to keep up with changing customer demands and market trends. But without the appropriate checks and balances, cloud investments can easily become a runaway train.
To address these challenges, more than half of respondents polled by HBR-AS say their organizations have coordinated their FinOps approaches to optimize their spend and usage.
Establishing a FinOps practice within an organization encourages cross-functional collaboration across technology, operations, and finance teams to increase financial accountability for cloud investments. This collaboration aims to improve processes, reduce business risks and deliver quotes faster while reducing costs and increasing business performance.
Establishing a FinOps practice requires building a cross-functional team of finance leaders, engineers, and dedicated FinOps practitioners as the cloud center of excellence—with critical tasks such as costing, cloud resource allocation, and vendor pricing negotiation.
For some organizations, establishing a FinOps practice may require a culture shift, shifting the traditional responsibility of technology leadership to making all purchasing decisions and instead sharing investment decisions to ensure business strategy coordination. It also requires developers to consider more cost-related issues, such as B. the impact that a product improvement or modification could have on cloud investments.
As cloud usage models become more complex and data-rich, opportunities for FinOps to improve quality of cloud usage and overall business performance multiply. Once a FinOps Center of Excellence is in place, an organization can make more balanced cloud investments and strengthen the business by strategically reallocating cloud spend in a fast-moving digital world.
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