By Greg McDonald Director – Systems Engineering at Dell Technologies South Africa
Mobile working is now more than a progressive signifier of a modern business. It is a critical need, and it relies upon the cloud for continuity and productivity. Cloud strategies are rightly in the spotlight and in the current global environment small and medium businesses will need to tighten up how they approach environments with multiple clouds – and fast.
As countries around the world continue to review and revise their business strategies, there is one certainty for organisations: businesses will need to remain both flexible and agile. For small and medium businesses this means addressing key challenges like cloud complexity in order to boost efficiencies and get the full value from their multi-cloud approach.
Multi-Cloud is working, but…
Today, organisations are in many stages of their cloud journey, and nearly all are working with multiple clouds – be it private and/or public clouds. A multi cloud approach allows businesses to benefit from the unique capabilities that different clouds offer. According to IDC figures, 93 per cent of organisations are deploying workloads across two or more clouds, leading to organisational complexity and incompatibility across multiple cloud platforms.
Businesses striving for digital transformations choose multi-cloud for a host of reasons – to get the best of breed solutions, avoid vendor lock-in and to suit global cloud strategies. As Dell Technologies’ new research demonstrates, ‘The Cloud Complexity Imperative’, most European businesses are using at least three public cloud providers – and that number is expected to increase to two thirds within 36 months.
Business needs are changing in response to evolving application requirements. Today, growing enterprise architectures support virtualized, containerized, and as-a-service approaches to traditional applications. The best way to face the challenge of managing multiple clouds and operating environments is by creating a single operating environment that allows organisations to deliver applications and services where they are needed regardless of the cloud platform and operating environments. A consistent, hybrid cloud approach is the best solution.
SME Challenges: Complex cloud environments
Small and medium businesses play an important role in the growth of our economy. While it’s fair to say that the mid-market largely experiences the same challenges as larger enterprises – the intensity with which they are felt differs. With smaller businesses the finances will likely be more limited and often flow from the owner’s pocket. This puts more pressure on investments, making performance and return on investment even more critical.
Globally, Dell research has found that more than half of organisations have cited seamless compatibility across their cloud and on-premise infrastructure as the most important consideration in formulating hybrid cloud strategies. Yet, currently only 5 per cent of organisations are truly maximising the benefits of multi-cloud – largely due to the added complexity to IT operations. Using more than one public cloud provider inevitably leads to more complex cloud environments, increasing fragmentation – and this can negatively impact business’ bottom line when inefficiently managed.
It seems that cloud adoption has outpaced the ability to manage these new, more complex environments and for many this has led to spiralling workflows and costs. Indeed, nearly all surveyed (95%) felt that they had a fragmented cloud environment and almost three thirds (73%) say they are using at least four management tools for their cloud infrastructure. These findings highlight the importance of tighter, more tailored multi-cloud strategies that put simplicity at the heart of cloud operations.
For the majority of companies it is widely acknowledged that simplification of these complex cloud environments is the path towards multi-cloud nirvana, reducing costs and security breaches, as well as shortening workflow timetables. Nearly 7 out of 10 IT decision makers anticipate increased cloud management consistency will drive down overall costs by an average of 19%. Meanwhile, IT decision makers most often felt that increasing consistency would result in improved collaboration between IT and line of business stakeholders (78%), according to Dell Technologies’ research.
Underpinning SMEs with simplicity
Getting the true value from multiple clouds should be a certainty, and it can be. By taking three key considerations on board, businesses can achieve cloud consistency within three months, by reconnecting their hybrid cloud environments.
- Firstly, by keeping private cloud compatible with a modernised on-prem infrastructure.
- Then, ensuring that transformational skill sets – from soft skills like critical thinking, creativity and flexibility, to hard skills like programming, digital design and data science – are nurtured. This will enable the workforce to adapt to new and innovative technologies like AI and ML development.
- Finally, leaning on the experts who specialise in creating this consistency – collaborating with third parties to help super-charge those multi-cloud strategies.
Dell Technologies removes cloud complexity by enabling consistent infrastructure and operations that can extend customers’ applications and processes seamlessly across public, private and edge deployment options—creating a truly agile hybrid cloud strategy. It provides a set of cloud infrastructure solutions combining Dell EMC cloud infrastructure and cloud software from VMware, backed by global services and flexible consumption financing capabilities. For SMEs the flexible consumption models enable a tailored approach based on business needs.
For many businesses there is work to be done, every journey towards a cloud-first approach is unique, but in times of uncertainty simplifying cloud complexities will boost efficiencies and provide a reassuring foundation for a mobile-working environment, which is now an essential part of business.