Cloud Crunch
Cloud Crunch

Episode · 2 years ago

S1E17: 7 Tactical IT Initiatives to Enable Your Corporate Business Objectives


To get a better understanding of how organizations were prepared and continue to plan for the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as how IT leaders’ priorities and initiatives are shifting, IDG CIO conducted a COVID-19 Impact Study that indicated 3 major focus areas - cost control, improving IT operations, and redesigning business processes. We break these down and look at 7 initiatives you can take to enable your business objectives.

Involve solve evolved. Welcome to cloud crunch, the podcast for any large enterprise planning on moving to or is in the midst of moving to, the cloud, hosted by the cloud computing experts from Second Watch, Ian will be cheap architect cloud solutions, and Skip Berry, executive director of cloud enablement and now here, are your hosts of cloud crunch. Welcome back to our show, another episode of cloud crunch this week with my cohost, skip berry. Skip, how you doing? Good? How are you doing in? Fantastic. And I want to welcome back Michael Elliott, who is our senior director of product marketing, back to the show for a more in depth conversation. Thank you. I welcome Michael. Good to see you again. Yeah, we seen. Yeah, yeah, we're recording this in the dog days of summer. Two Thousand and twenty, still in the midst of the pandemic. The pandemic is firing up and I think approximately forty two states at this time. So the landscape is once again shifting, not in a positive way for most of us, unfortunately, and our hearts definitely go out to all those affected by this, both economically and health and life and all those wonderful things. It takes a deep toll, I think, on all of us but unfortunately, you know, and fortunately, business does need to go on. And so what we're going to do today is we're going to extend the conversation that we had from our previous episode with Michael and where we're talking about some of the strategic initiatives going on out there, and extend that into more specifically and how our it leaders out there responding to the pandemic right now. And let's just go ahead and dive into this. Michael, I think you've brought some interesting things up to as prior to the show and I think they're very worthy of sharing with our audience. So let's talk about specifically what some of the ITE leaders are doing right now to respond to the pandemic, and I would imagine that there's a top list of items that that we can probably dig into. So, Michael, what are you seeing out there? Well, I know, let's begin with you talking about the recent IDG survey of how it leaders responding to the pandemic. So, you know, let's take from what's what the analysts are saying, and the really the top three are. There's a lot more focus on cost control. Number two, they're looking to how can I improve my it operations, and that's really directly died to cost control. But how can I improve my it operations? And then the third redesigning the business process. So let's read look at the business process and how it can support and there's always been a focus on these three, but these three have really come into play a lot more laser focus around these. You know. Well, we talked about like a tripling down of the priority you know, and that's what IDG has kind of been talking about. I think you know, IAN and skive up. You're probably seeing this focus even more in the conversations you're having, for sure. Yeah, yeah, it seems to be. This is where we're at right now and I know the big question is when will normal be from a professional services perspective, being engaging again on site with customers and doing what you are accustomed to before? Right, we're a long way away from that, but but nevertheless it's interesting to hear whether it's the the big five or you know, shops like us or others are handling that. And remotes a big part of it, of course. Yeah, definitely remote is part of it and what I'm seeing, though, is an interesting trend. I think there's kind of two votes that people are getting into. One is a little bit of paralysis, and that's understandable. I mean, I truly understand that this is overwhelming for a lot of businesses and people obviously, in general. But secondly, you know, I think you touched on cost controls. That is a huge thing that we're seeing people coming back and looking and saying, tell me, I could say more money. This is a great time to kind of pause take a look at it. But then, secondly, when you're talking about redesign that business process, I've...

...been involved with more conversations in the last few weeks about our three year initiatives inside these organizations and I find that fascinating because, you know, these are the types of conversations that we were trying to drive before, but now they're all coming to the table. I think a lot of people have it depends on the sector. So some people are thriving in this business, some people are steady state, obviously, in some are suffering. The ones that are doing very well, obviously they're trying to keep the lights on and they're staying very busy, but a lot of them. Also, we're just really saying, what can we do differently going forward? Is this the right time to really transform our business? And I think that's that's been a really, really eye opening experience and I applaud those people because I don't know who said it, but it was like, how are you using this time, because we're all stuck at home, and how are you going to come out of this better? Now, some people obviously are dealing with survival till the understand that. But when you get past that, this is an opportunity for a lot of people to really kind of re engineer their business. So it can't be exciting as well. Yeah, I think that paralysis has ended. People now understand I have to do something and what can I do? And that's what I kind of dove into with these seven tactical, i. t initiatives of things they can start doing and executing upon now, versus now the previous of what do I do? Well, the seven guys are things things start to think about now, no matter where they are in that state versus. They're hurting mightily and what they can do versus. This is an opportunity for them. Absolutely. Yeah, and let's let's talk about what some of those seven technical it's initiatives that the stick into some of those, because I think some of them going to be very interesting to people and they may have not seen it. So let's dig in. What do you think the biggest one is? I don't think here is a biggest one. I think it really depends on where you are in your environment, how this covid nineteen is affecting your business, whether it's creating growth opportunities or it's causing you to reduce expenses dramatically, and we talked a little bit about that on the last podcast. You know, one of the big ones I've seen, though, is migrating application to the cloud, and there's been this belief of if it's not broke, don't fix it, when the reality is it is broke now. Your applications are aging, having to bring in new servers. That doesn't exist now, that opportunity doesn't exist. Now you know Os, patching databases, that all these things that are sunk costs. Now is really the time to start looking at migrating those applications to the cloud, in changing from that CAFFEX to an opex model, there's a focus to plan, to Migrate Applicans to not get you out of that maintenance, and that's another look of how can I get out the maintenance of Os, of databases, of security? How do I get out of that? And moving applications cloud enable you to do that. So I think that's the first big one people are starting to look at, of how can I take an advantage of the cloud where maybe I wasn't before? Yeah, that's a good one, definitely, and skip. I think we're seeing a lot of this too, as far as more APP modernization initiatives and then also just a different way of operating even legacy applications in the cloud. Yeah, for certain to thank you, Michael. I guess from that perspective, what we're seeing, as well as the it's almost like gasolene on the fire to close data centers, to get out of that business. The the on prime infrastructure really probably more prevalent than ever before right now. YEA, under there's two ways of looking at closing data centers. One is just getting out of that business, completely divesting yourself of the real estate and everything around that. The other way to look at it, though, is more the positive aspect of closing data centers and report from four hundred and fifty. One group from William Fellows and Millennie Posey really highlighted that. You know, cloud, use cloud as a weapon and bring it to the fight against variables such as uncertainty and rapidly changing market conditions, and cloud enables you to do that, allows you to be responsive. So you can think of closing data...

...centers as cost reduction or you can think of closing your data centers of what the upside of moving to the cloud will provide for you and the ability to taking your human capital, which was around maintenance now to being able to be more responsive to the market. So you know, I look at closing data centers not as a negative perspective but as a positive perspective. That's good point. Yeah, like a tough time to be in data center sales, unfortunately, but definitely is getting rid of a lot of that capital expenditure going on. And what you know, I think it's interesting too, is that we're in the midst of helping some clients with some rather large migrations multiple and we had a plan, and that's always the best thing. You know, how to make God laugh or make a plan right and then suddenly things changed, so we had to go in and help reprioritize that, the ability to return capital back to the business very rapidly, more so and we ever thought we would have to. And you know, it's good to see that that motivation is there. We're able to do it and it's just really the only way we could have possibly have done that is with cloud and a lot of the technologies that around it. There's a lot of new enabling things that we can get into at some point that keep getting deployed by the various cloud companies. Those are just tactical methods, but ultimately what they're doing is allowing it the business to realize a greater outcome much more quickly. Yeah, and you've seen an Ian across the board and skip as well. There's a big movement to closing data centers and it is accelerating. Looking at that and looking at how you can return capital of the company is important and critical, especially from a business driver and abling the business to do some more strategic things, for sure. Yeah, all right, let's talk about it. Once you're in there. How do you reduce spend? What Se Right? So that's the opposite side of the coin, because you know once you've gone to the clown, many companies that have, and especially the ones we went there early, all of a sudden they see that bill continue to tick up and up and up, and a lot of the reasons for that bill growing is not about the applications they're putting in there, but the size that their used to this model of their own data center and how they provision and they just find a server, get a big server, throw the applications in there, not think about it anymore. When you do that cloud, what you're doing is your overprovision being the the compute net capability of these you need and the storage capabilities you need and you're not going back and looking at well, did I really need that big of a compute capability? Is the reduction I can do around that? So going in and re examining your cloudspend and how you could reduce that is something that hasn't occurred in the past. I think something that companies like Second Watch and others are looking at. How can we enable that? I Know Ian you've seen some of that around that skip as well. Well. What are you seeing as far as what are the reductions that you're able to provide people and I think you brought on the point about at modernization is a key area. Just to focus on that from optimizing. Yeah, absolutely, no. I think that is definitely a big one, particularly on a applications that have been intellectual properties owned by the company. I think that's a very, very big way of doing it too. The second part, too, is beyond a modernization, which you know, there's obviously a server cost advantage associated with that and you're truly only paying for what you use in a lot of cases. But secondly it's that operational cost goes way down as well because now you're using a platform as a service as opposed to traditional operating system model in the cloud. So I think that's one big area and sometimes it's hard when we could talk about that maybe a little bit in a future of this podcast, but and how to go about doing that. But the second part too, is data. Data is its expensive. It's not only expensive to store, it's expense at the analyze and if you look at some of the traditional on prom ways that you can, you know, basically unlock the value...

...of your data and you just kind of lift and shift that into the cloud, your truly are probably spending. I don't know. I'm going to throw out at number three to five x more than you'd probably should be while operating in the cloud. Again, you're paying for twenty four hours a day. There are incredible ways now across all the cloud providers to store data and add hoc do your queries and analysis on them and do all kinds of other, you know, data warehousing objectives with that. So those are definitely probably the two biggest areas as far as how you shift your mindset in the cloud. But the second part, two is also just how do you initiate that conversation with the cloud provider and make a commitment to them, either a one or three year and they all pretty much have that same kind of mindset associated with it. And then you start really uncovering more, basically reduction of cost. And again it's a commitment. There's a risk associated with it, but you know, three years in cloud is a long time. Sometimes one or two years might be a lot better. To take a look at a commitment there. Yeah, Nope, completely agreed. And you know, I think following along with and we you talked about kind of that risk, I think risk is kind of that four thing that it needs to be looking at, especially, as you know, we've gone to remote workforce. We haven't really examined our risk profile both within our data centers and within our clouds. So reducing risk is kind of that. That fourth it initiative that I kind of bubbled up, and that could be a risk from just an incursion and having people break into your systems, but there's also the risk of just your applications play. I love what you know, companies like Netflix is done with a chaos monkey and being able to go through and start shutting off applications to say what happens and looking at the risk profiles from around that of and and that'll start to really tell you where do applications need to live and where can they live more and impactfully and more effectively for your organization. So reducing risk and doing security audits, looking at things like that, I think are really critical for coming out of Covid nineteen and the pressure that it's put on companies, because if you get hit or if you have applications go down, that's another greater expense that you don't want to add into what's currently going on. Absolutely, downtime is a huge risk associated the business particular, if you're consumer facing and operating twenty four hours a day, a lot of resiliency could be built in much easier into the cloud. Secondly to is there's so many cloud native technologies coming out now that we're seeing as far as security, so analyzing what's going on and getting a learning associated with that. All cloud providers are truly dedicated towards that and it just that landscape keeps getting better and better. Now I did hear something that I thought was very interesting in the last few weeks. Is VPN is dying, and so this this might get us into the next category. It's why allow your data to really kind of transition out of the data center and go to the remote workforce? Why don't you take the remote workforce and bring them into the cloud? And I think a lot of the virtual desktop interfaces that we have out there now are really satisfying that needs. I think this kind of brings us into the next categories. Really how do you enable that remote workforce both for opportunity to expand in your capabilities and then also do it in a securely way and obviously driving down those operational cost skip. What are you seeing out there and reduced risk. I mean that's the other thing, right. Yeah, one area of concern right now is how do you carry on with the project, that is, taking data out of a data center, colowing some of it and then also migrating to the clouds? So all that, all the while of enabling a remote workforce to carry that through. So it's pretty interesting. I mean this this challenge itself, I'll say, you know, in the era of covid isn't going to solve itself for the next two years. Right, we have to work through this.

So and then I'll take their you know that that's a negative side, but the you know, reduced risk and allowing that, I'll look at that of how that can enhance your business by the exactly of how you can bring in skill set and capabilities by enabling remote workforce. That I think people will reluctant and resistant, just like people were reluctant, resistant to go to the cloud because the security. They don't have that concern anymore, where they were reluctant to have remote staff. I don't think this has shown us that you can be successful with remote staff. So enabling that remote staff for recruitment and retention purposes I think it is critical for it to take on as one of those initiatives. Yeah, they are actually adding value back to the business again, which is the original intention of well, where we are with that? Not The original, but where we are with it right. So, yeah, interesting talk about the opportunity there to whether it's up level your your current staff or find new staff that can work in that kind of means as well. Employee recruitment, retention. How does that affect that, Michael as well? Well, huge one around that for me is retainment. You know somebody that had to go into the office every day because that was a standard. You had to go in the office and set your desk. This this twenty and thirty somethingural generation. They don't that's not how they operate, that's not how they want to work. They want to examine explore that work life balance. So enabling people to work the way they want to work and trusting that they will be able to not only do their job but grow and expand helps from both recruitment perspective but also helps you retain the talent that you want to retain because you know, trying to replace that talent now is getting harder and harder. As especially as we change applications, we change how we utilize the cloud, we look towards more things like Dev ops, we look towards COUPERNETTI's, we look for those type of development capabilities. They don't want to sit in office anymore. So enabling remote workforce, enabling skill sets that people want to operate and you know, people don't want to be database administrators anymore. People won't want to be, you know, hypervisor administrators that they just don't want to do that. They want to learn these new technologies. So embracing that and encouraging that and building that into your infrastructure and how you operate is going to be important to enabling you to grow versus being a hindrance to your growth. Yeah, we're definitely seeing several of our clients encouraging their employees to definitely get more skilled or upskilled in this area and they're asking us how to do that. So I want to take a moment and really kind of encourage our audience at this is something that you want to learn about, you want to become more valuable to your organization and your career. There are many ways. I mean I'm assuming of many of you are stuck at home like we are. And if you go on and you look at some of these these platforms, and it doesn't matter which cloud provider, they're all offering some type of free training these days and free accounts. It's easy way to test it out. There's companies like quick labs that have the ability for you to go in and try to labs out and really do hands on things and to our chunks, your you're learning will go way up you're able to demonstrate your knowledge. They're certifications out there. There's a great way to get, you know, demonstrate your knowledge. You put that on Linkedin people that you're in high demand. I mean, I'm not trying to make sure, you know, people run away and there's a mutiny, but the reality is you got to do it. Yeah, my advantage point, you know, from hiring within you know, ps cloud enablement for us. Yeah, it's open the opportunities even wider, you know, with the remote capability of going into livery and all that kind of stuff wrapped up. So, yeah, that's an interesting new world. But that should actually help employers as well, for your traditional it staff or your you know what would be traditional it staff. So absolutely,...

...absolutely so but once you obviously you get up skilled, there's a lot of things you can do and obviously upskilled in the amphistructure that there's also in the development area as well. There's a lot of new ways of doing things and we talked about at modernization. So kind of coming back into that. How can we increase the application development speed? Well, I think number one you got to you got to commit to increasing your application development speed. Now you got to you got to figure out time to value. So traditional waterfall we you know, we don't talk about that any more, but going to more of a Dev ops model where you bring developers, you bring operations and if you're if you're smart, you bring in security into that as well, as well as testing. You bring all those together to work together instead of having it go through one that it goes to the next, that goes to the next. Bring it all of those together and it develops methodology enables you to increase your application development speed where you're not releasing on a quarterly basis, you're not releasing on a monthly you're not even releasing on the daily. You're doing updates every minute, every fifteen minutes. Would ever make sense, because you've created an organization that allows and enables this to bring out development, to bring out new applications, new updates, to the market that much faster and that was more timely. That work and if they don't work, you have the ability to immediately pull them back make the changes in the bringing forward again. Now that's fantastic there, because they're again the cloud. Companies are definitely continuing to enhance the tooling and the capabilities of doing all kinds of deployments. We've all read various books, maybe the Phoenix Project or whatever else out there. There's concepts of canary deployments, Blue Green, all these technologies exist now and with a minimal, much more minimal effort than ever is existed before, and it continues to get better. So, but often we get asked people like it's a daunting task. How am I going to do this across the board, or like don't start across the board. Start with a small team. Start there, start with an easy win, find that right application and the right team. Success will breed success and that's you know, it doesn't have to be across the whole organization either. We're still probably three models of devops or Sre that you want to kind of contain in there. So it's the very new, you know, hourly, you know on this spur deployments of course, but also how do you manage those steady state applications? It could be down, but a much more agile fashion as well. So, yeah, maybe there's a lot of things out there. SKIP. What are you seeing out there? Yeah, I think every journey starts with the first step. The proverb or whatever that is there. That but that is it. You know, kind of move slowly but with a purpose and with a deliberate timeline to actually execute. On people that try to go out and just flip the switch, doesn't it doesn't work out. Yeah, the last company I worked at they did exactly that. Is, there were three development teams. They took one of the development teams to start to implement where this devops model and it took them about three or four months to get it right. But once they had a right they were then able able to transfer how that process worked to the next development team, got them up and running, and then to the third development team and to the point where they are now actually implementing changes on a daily basis. It was it was really unique and interesting to see that transformation, where before they were releasing every three months to getting to the point where they were releasing daily. Really cool to see that process. Yeah, to customers come to mind. Renamed, nameless. But embrace failure as you're learning and as you're pushing this process. It really is, you know, paramount to actually be successful right and be open and encourage that right the the more that you can actually help, you know, be iterative and finding out things and be inclusive as opposed to exclusive. I think Ian... said, at the best you have success breed success and it's tried and true, and I living two customers at the moment going through the process. So yeah, and celebraty failure. Yeah, it's okay, sure, fantastic. Well, I want to thank both of you for your time today. This has been a, I think, a very interesting conversation and thank you, audience. Thank you always for listening. This episode will wrap up our first season of cloud crunch. will be taken a short break from podcasting and, of course, will be continued to research and continue to educate ourselves on current relevant cloud issues and we will be back in the fall for season two. So please, please rejoin us. So there'll be a little bit of a law and new episodes, but we will be back and if there any issues or topics you want to discuss further, we'd love to hear from you and your suggestions. Please email is at cloud crunch at second WATCHCOM and you'll see those links in the show notes as well. Thanks again, everybody. Have a great week. You've been listening to cloud crunch with Ian Willoughby and skip Berry. For more information, check out the block second watchcom company block or reach out to second watch on twitter.

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