Unearthing the Real Value of Multi-Cloud Strategies
“Cloud journeys over the last three to five years have been driven by ESG.” These executive technology leaders discuss the real value of multi-cloud strategies, its challenges and opportunities, what’s worked and how it is expected to evolve in the near future.
Multi-cloud strategies: an overview
In the multi-cloud era, where most organisations collaborate with up to eight different cloud providers, the multi-cloud strategy has become a reality for most CIOs and CTOs.
However, despite the clear benefits, such as increased resources, improved functionality and wider platform choices, deciphering multi-cloud strategies is still a work in progress for some. This is often complicated by cost control, data management, connectivity complexity, security, platform interoperability, skill acquisition and system visibility concerns.
In this insightful Studio roundtable debate, executive technology leaders critically evaluate their organisation's multi-cloud strategies. This involved an in-depth examination of not just the financial implications but also the intrinsic value scale and the transparency necessary for successful implementation and operation within the complex landscape of multi-cloud environments.
Multi-cloud strategies: meet the panellists
With Mark Chillingworth moderating this roundtable discussion, the speakers included:
- Lee Fulmer, Chairman, Digital Transformation Board, Bank of England
- Caroline Carruthers, Chief Executive, Carruthers and Jackson, and Data Leader
- Neil Trevains, Solutions Architect - UK Data Center Architecture Practice, Cisco
Watch the roundtable highlights for Unearthing the Real Value of Multi-Cloud Strategies
Key takeaways: multi-cloud strategies
- Navigating multi-cloud costs for business success
- Embedding the multi-cloud strategy value scale
- Multi-cloud strategies: gaining visibility
Navigating multi-cloud costs for business success
Mark Chillingworth asked “Are organisations struggling to match their cloud costs to the value that their businesses expect technology and IT to be delivering?”
“The short answer is yes–people are struggling.”
Considered a technology veteran, Lee Fulmer has been listening to the cloud journey for more than a decade. Throughout this time he has noticed that CEOs have thrown “blanket statements,” promising to remove the majority of their workload into the multi-cloud.
For Lee, the reality is that large migrations to the cloud are complicated and do not add any sizeable business or client value. “You're basically re-skilling your workforce who in many cases then go off somewhere else and make more money.”
Commenting on the strategic imperative of the multi-cloud transition, Chief Executive of Carruthers and Jackson, Caroline Carruthers, presented the ‘why’ factor. She argued that organisations “want to have your data and your systems flexible and be accessible.”
On the whole, Caroline wants technology leaders to think about the purpose of what they are trying to do with the cloud, commenting that this is often forgotten.
In agreement with Caroline, Lee recalled use cases where completing tasks on the cloud was much more cost-effective. On the other hand, he noted: “I think a lot of the cloud journey over the last three to five years in particular has been driven by ESG.”
Downsizing data centres and bringing down the organisation’s footprint is beneficial for an organisation’s overall image, but Lee explained that in doing this “you're just passing on the problem because… you're just feeding an immense data centre somewhere else.”
“The visibility of what that ESG position looks like from a hyperscaler's perspective is still pretty opaque.”
Cisco’s Solutions Architect for UK Data Center Architecture Practice, Neil Trevains, reasoned that while the shift to the cloud is often environmentally motivated, it becomes increasingly challenging to estimate an organisation’s carbon footprint compared to managing a local data centre.
Embedding the multi-cloud strategy value scale
“Is that part of the challenge, that CIOs are being asked to get more value from money, but actually what they need to be extracting and trying to get across to the organisation is business values and how IT is helping deliver those?” Mark asked the panellists.
The real problem here is that technology leaders need to embed the value of scale within the business in his view. “I think there is a lot of value in cloud as a service offering but I don't think we treat it as a service offering. I think we just treat it as a tick box,” said Lee.
Whenever the organisation has a technology problem and they are looking for a solution, Lee argued that this almost always ends in the wrong business decision. Caroline agreed with this view, saying that “The fact that IT and technology is not part of the business… that almost creates a separation or a distance.”
Going back to Lee’s point on treating the cloud as a service, Neil said: “I'm not a fan of the journey to the cloud because it implies that there's somewhere else that you've got to go.” When it comes to becoming cloud-first technology leaders need to be more pragmatic about their choices.
Multi-cloud strategies: gaining visibility
“Navigating that and understanding the value of the cloud is a new challenge for business technology leaders, isn't it?”
Gaining visibility is central to tackling these challenges–Neil explained that this concept has evolved over time. What once started as a “bunch of data points” has now progressed with the help of big data analytics and AI.
However, this new and evolved visibility lies in successfully demonstrating back to the business the costs associated with achieving certain outcomes. Determining the ROI of cloud services can only be achieved by looking at things from a transactional level, rather than the application level in Neil’s view.
“We need to recognise that all IT is not created equal as well.”
In one of her first jobs, Caroline recalled the times where she was asked to justify certain expenditures to stakeholders, writing a business case for a new email system. She prompted the panellists to draw a comparison: “Can you seriously imagine a situation now where a business made you justify keeping their email system up to date?”
This roundtable discussion, "Unearthing the Real Value of the Multi-cloud," was created in partnership with Cisco.
Join the community
To join the HotTopics Community and gain access to our exclusive content, events and networking opportunities simply fill in the form below.