Important tips to improve your cloud ROI

Flexibility, agility, scalability, and lower costs are just some of the reasons that companies are moving their systems and applications to the cloud. However, in spite of these benefits, companies face several challenges, when it comes to garnering the expected return on investment (ROI) when they move to the cloud. Ironically, while most cloud providers highlight cost savings as a huge benefit of moving to the cloud, it is the one thing that can make the cloud journey a slippery slope.

To realise significant ROI from transitioning to the cloud, companies need to have a robust cloud strategy that aligns with business goals. While moving applications, data and systems to the cloud, companies need to relook at the associated processes as well. The failure to do so results in several process-related inefficiencies which in turn leads to higher operational costs. The cloud journey is a process, one that requires several tweaks as you go along.

Get the best possible ROI from cloud deployment

  • Define goals and objectives: Before embarking on the cloud journey, there needs to be clarity on the objectives and business goals of moving to the cloud. Identify the applications to move to the cloud in a phased manner, rather than a lift-and-shift approach. Identifying gaps in applications and processes beforehand ensures that required changes are budgeted for
  • Consider cloud environment: With a cloud-agnostic environment, the business is not tied-in to a vendor, making the applications portable and flexible. While this protects the business from pricing vulnerabilities due to vendor lock-in, there may be  several higher upfront costs for building the applications. Being tied in to the vendor in a cloud-native environment improves application efficiency, and is cost effective initially, with the potential downside of vendor lock-in. To optimise ROI, companies need to arrive at a suitable architectural approach based on business needs.
  • Build cloud capability: For a cost-effective cloud migration, identify an owner who will champion the cloud transition. A cloud governance framework is necessary to manage the cloud deployment. The team should be brought up to speed  with  training and certifications as needed. Establish standards and identify work environments for teams to plan for workload and storage.
  • Ensure cloud compatibility: Existing applications and systems would typically be designed to function for an on-premises architecture. Moving such applications directly without optimising them for a cloud platform may result in possible downtime and unplanned costs related to rearchitecting such applications. By reworking applications to make them cloud-native, companies can avoid unforeseen expenses after moving to a cloud platform.
  • Build a cloud roadmap: Cloud transformation requires a strategic approach so that it delivers the perceived business value. Companies need to create a product roadmap for the cloud platform, where requests are prioritised based on customer need. Internal processes need to be changed, so that infrastructure teams are not overwhelmed by ad hoc requests for application changes. Not doing so would result in technical staff working towards solving problems that are not necessarily problems of customers.
  • Understand licensing: Cloud spend can rapidly balloon if companies fail to consider the cost of licensed software running on their cloud instance. Even though companies may already use specific services from cloud providers, such as database services, the enterprise agreement may or may not include the licences of such software for the cloud platform. Most software vendors have different pricing models for running software on a public or private cloud instance vs. on-premises installation.
  • Optimise storage: Unlimited storage is one of the most obvious and attractive propositions of cloud-based solutions, however, it can prove to be costly. Companies must invest in cloud data management tools to archive  and manage data, so that storage usage is optimised, and costs do not spiral out of control. Hidden outbound data transfer costs can create major dents in the budget as well.
  • Budget for compliance and security management: Most cloud providers have some measures of security in place, but many-a-time, they may not be enough to protect your data and applications. By investing in shared responsibility of data security, data protection and compliance with the cloud provider, you avoid nasty shocks at a later point.
  • Optimise resource utilisation: Keeping track of cloud assets and analysing how they are being put to use is essential for cost-effective cloud management. Use monitoring tools to gain visibility into cloud spend and usage of resources. Accurate tagging of resources avoids redundant effort and spend. Automated detection of inactive resources helps to eliminate unnecessary spends.
  • Plan resource purchase: Analysing cloud utilisation rates helps to make decisions regarding purchase of  instances. Significant analytical work is required to achieve cost-saving when it comes to purchasing instances, as you need insights into computing power and memory required by each application. Cloud management tools can help right-size instances, as well as minimise dormant or underutilised instances.

Businesses often overspend on cloud computing, without realising significant return on investment. Investing in cloud management platforms* helps to plan, monitor and optimise cloud spend, leading to a cost-optimised cloud strategy.

*For organizations on the digital transformation journey, agility is key in responding to a rapidly changing technology and business landscape. Now more than ever, it is crucial to deliver and exceed on organizational expectations with a robust digital mindset backed by innovation. Enabling businesses to sense, learn, respond, and evolve like a living organism, will be imperative for business excellence going forward. A comprehensive, yet modular suite of services is doing exactly that. Equipping organizations with intuitive decision-making automatically at scale, actionable insights based on real-time solutions, anytime/anywhere experience, and in-depth data visibility across functions leading to hyper-productivity, Live Enterprise is building connected organizations that are innovating collaboratively for the future.

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