Cloud Crunch
Cloud Crunch

Episode · 2 years ago

S1E08: Advising the VP leader for cloud transformation

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

 What are the most common drivers for business transformation? We look at how to mold and adapt to cloud transformation, areas of challenges and acceleration in that transformation we're seeing due to the COVID 19 environment, key considerations to prepare for your transformation and the phases of transformation from planning to ongoing optimization.

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, Jeff Aiden, cofounder and Executive Vice President of marketing and Business Development, Ian will be chief architect cloud solutions, and Skip Berry, executive director of cloud enablement. And now here are your hosts of cloud crunch. Well, hello, good morning everyone. Thanks for joining cloud crunch. Jeff Aiden, cofounder, sech Wat cheer, and I'm joined, as always, by cohost Ian Willoughby and skip Berry. On today's episode we're talking about business transformation. What does that mean? That means companies moving from traditional, old school ike to be more competitive in today's marketplace, more digital, more reactive to customers and more automated. So in and let's start with you. What are some of the common factors that you hear from customers prior to getting into the delivery process for their reasons for transforming their business? Also, we get a questions from people saying, you know, we really got to get to the cloud, we got a transform. And when you start digging any say so let's causing that that need, and often it's it could be a board is putting pressure on them and so there's kind of a frantic motion to try to get to the cloud. And one of the things that we really want to make sure with a lot of our clients has, before they just start doing things, that they take a step back and really say what is the outcome that we're trying to achieve? It's not going to be just telling the board that you've gotten to the cloud or you're transforming, but you know, what are those end objectives? And I think when we spend time with our customers and, you know, our friends out there in the industry and saying what are you trying to do, and often it's not really you know, it's I don't want to run my instances in the cloud, that's not really the conversation that takes place. It's going to be more we need to be more competitive, we need to save cost we need to, you know, be more just modern overall. Well, no, that's a great, great starting point and I think he touched upon sometime we'll just dive a little deeper. Oftentimes the customers that we work with may not understand the business needs or the business drivers. Right. So companies may not be fit today to compete from a technology or digital standpoint. Right. They may not be agile enough to meet the customers demand. Sales might be shrinking in certain areas, or new ways to interact customers, and that's what the business and the board is driving towards and down the line around central it. Their job is to be able to deliver services faster, and cloud as one of those solutions. Right, definitely, absolutely, yeah, for sure. Yeah, and then experience on the delivery side, right, it always shows up the real challenges organizational. How do they mold an adapt to the new way of dealing with the cloud? Right. So we see that all the time and it's a constant reminder that, you know, keep your eye on delivering value. Back again to what you're saying again, Jeff, being innovative, quicker to market and what have you. The cloud will enable all that, but the organizational change has to come as well. So right, and you know, we can't ignore today's environment. Worth covid nineteen. Right, and this is kind of put a spotlight on everything from, you know, remote working to Dr in a new sense, you know, as well as when we think of transformation, especially within specific industries, they are struggling to adapt, where other industries, technology, media entertainment are able to adapt and actually do well during these times. So, you know, I think of banking as one very traditional type of business, very traditional...

...type of technology, and they're so used to working with paper and they're not able to be in the offices, they're not able to push that paper around, whether it's notarizing. You know, many banks don't even offer electronic signature right. So transformation is taken to a new level in these times and and interested what you're hearing from our customers today in and skip on on some of their challenges as covid nineteen really takes off. Yeah, I think some of the challenge is that we're seeing as I think there's really kind of two areas that we're seeing. There are some hold on some projects if there's not a lot of clarity on what the business value is, nice to abs but then there's acceleration. Equally on the other side, where it's there's a profit pressure that they need to accomplish. It's an opportunity to use this time to really kind of clean house in some cases, making sure that the assets that they're running in their digital area are the right ones and really kind of refactor those things as well. So, you know, we're definitely seeing acceleration on certain projects and then also kind of contraction on some of the other definitely, remote worker enablement is all the rage right now, but you know, there are other things as well. Yeah, I would stuck at that. It's the rapid enablement capability is really what's really the appeal at the moment. You know, that's seems to be the biggest drivers. To your point, Jeff, about the legacy industries, if you will, with all due respect, where they weren't really predominantly enabled for a remote workforce. Here with the you know, such things as aws work spaces, when thows virtual desktop on Azure and what have you, that's what these kind of clients are looking for to enable now so they could wrap a deploy and be ready for whatever is next. Well, let's let's maybe, you know, take a step back and say hey, as we start to engage with customers and transformation over the years, obviously we've seen some very successful ones and we've seen some unsuccessful ones. You know, at the beginning of the projects. What are some of the key things customers need to do early on to be prepared in this transformation, because it's not overnight. It sometimes takes years. You know, new roles are created. So let's just kind of talk about the starting point in these transformations. So I think one of the biggest areas that we really like to help our clients with when they get started as first start with a business case. Really really start there and think that through, and it could be multiple elements to it. It could be competitiveness, speed to market, cost savings. Again, you know that never goes away as well. But then once that business case is developed, there's a lot of opportunities there to really truly understand, at least directually, what their total cost of ownership is going to be in the cloud and also analyzing this compelling events. Maybe there's a data center contract that's going to expire in six months. There's an opportunity to quickly move those assets out of there and get them to the cloud and save some money for long term contracts. Secondly, I think it's really important to bring all the key stakeholders together following the cloud adoption framework from Amazon. There's six areas that you really want to bring together and have them equal say in those areas. So those are going to be people from the business, you know, all the people in the central l area where you know you're going to evaluate skills and lack of skills, governance from your C so to you know, whatever other governments that you may have internally. The platform engineers, definitely security. You got to get them in early on because it's going to be a huge learning curve for them how to operate in the cloud. And then your operational team. That maybe something you have internally or contracted out, but it's very important that all these people have a view and to say in concerns and how they're going to get there. Yeah, I would agree and that and...

...that goes back to what I was mentioning earlier. You know, the real challenges organizational more than anything. So it's really leadership is essential. It has to be bought in from top down, like everyone talks about. You know, you've heard that. Or can't be understated. And then it also has to be very inclusive, right, not an exclusive, you know event here. Transformation includes everybody in a company. That's ongoing, all different parts of it, of course, but on an ongoing basis through, you know, through your initial migration assessment, if you will, all the way out to, you know, finalizing and running in the cloud in the new norm. Yeah, absolutely. I'd say half the concerns that we run into, or more people were in the other half is technology. Well, and that seems to be one of the biggest stumbling blocks at the beginning of transformation, is not having that clear business case or the buy in from different groups. Right, there's a transformation under way but the entire ship has not turned. Probably a really good example would be capital one, where they had support from top to bottom and really drove towards transformational change and still are to this day. They're not done by any means, but it's a pretty good example. So, you know, let's look at six months into the project. Okay, on a multiyear project, multi year transformation, cloud being a piece of that transformation. Let's talk about some of the things six months in that companies need to start to look at, think about and realize or areas where they've made some mistakes. I think from my perspective, obviously been through a bunch of these. From a delivery aspect of it is keep listening right listening to the workforce, listening to the users as things evolve. It's really about updating in having the fortitude to update the mental model right of every level that you work with and having a good, solid ce. So ccoe really helps right drive from the leadership on down and then has, you know, various stakeholders across the business. That really helps breathe the environment of inclusiveness and, you know, getting through the whole transformation as things move on. It's also very important that you don't take the eye off the ball. Six months in, you know you're getting some stick time with cloud and you're starting to realize there's a lot of cloud native services out there and maybe suddenly you're going to go wow, there's this new graph database that I've always wanted to use. You know, got to be careful. You know, it continued to meet the business objectives. It's going to be lots of opportunities to modernize along the way and implement new services and monetize data that you may have in there. But you know, you want to get through the first stage first to make sure everybody's getting pulled up and their skills and understanding truly that the it organization is there to enable business and their customers. Are Those business units out there? Yeah, yeah, that's a great point, one that, you know, should not be ablelooked as as the knowledge of the clouds starts to increase within the organization, which is in that six month to the year time frame. There's a lot of spiny objects, right, and you know, it's like handing somebody a Ferrari that's fifteen and a half, sixteen years old. The drive. They're not quite sure how fast it can go and it can be dangerous the time. So that that innovation and when the eyes start to open up and see all the shiny toys and how fast they can go, they need to be disciplined right in order to not try to take on more than they originally did or understand where those cloud native solutions actually fit within their business. Absolutely, and and that's a really good point, because we want everybody to go fast and experiment. That's a very key to that transformation is creating that culture of experimentation. But it can be dangerous, of course, you know, get you off track. So going back to the governance piece, we...

...really need to make sure that our clients and and they'll buy in on this of course it's a let's set up the proper guard rails so that you can go quick and not drive off the cliff and you can allow your teams, as they get their skill sets up, to really kind of set them free and try new things that you probably never would have thought existed or could be done quickly. But again, putting those guard rails in place, integrating it into the larger platforms that you may have for Itsm and just set them free, you know, with the proper knowledge, and I think that you'll be in good shape. But again, guard rails, guard rails, guard rails, and that's everything from security to cost containment, you name it. There's a lot of things that you need to do in there, but once you put them in there, things really will start accelerating. Yeah, and skip. You probably seen this too. It there's a point at which cloud sprawl happens right and and companies that aren't tied around that governance can all of a sudden look month over a month and say, wow, we're spending a lot more on cloud than we budgeted. And that can be caused by a project accelerating or could be caused by clouds prolo and they just need to understand those with governance. Yeah, fortunately, you know from a second watch perspective, we offer some great services around optimization. Right, shameless plug there, but but it is that. Will get to that and minute. Yeah, yeah, but it is a real problem, you know, and it's not you know, we haven't really traded as much as much as the on Prem. The cloud has, as you know, swapped out a lot of things that, once you know that are no longer on prem, there's a lot of stuff that still resides in the cloud if you don't have that strong governance or that really good change con control process to understand who's doing whatever. Now shadowyt is minimized, of course, hopefully, but nevertheless there's a lot of people that will put workloads out there, park workloads out there, they run, they run, they run, no one comes back and sees it. But it's a real thing and and as cloud evolves, of course that problem perpetuates a little bit. Maybe people have been in there for a five, seven, eight years, nine years now or what have you. So we go back and even visits those customers that are really good at it. Yeah, it's a good point too. I think one of the what I've seen over and over again. Is some of the super rises. I would say not positive. Surprise and opportunity to exceed is particularly on that big data transformation, coming from on Pram to the cloud, and suddenly they're looking at some of their storage bills and they're just about to fall over because they did add no idea it is going to cost that much, and it a lot of cases. What it is is that they're got to take that opportunity to really modernize the way you may be doing elastic map, reduce those types of things and those big data jobs, because using cloud native technologies is extremely important. You look at Amazon. You can run things straight out of US three these days. You couldn't do that before, and so you don't have to spin up these very large disks with lots of storage on them and then and then back them up regularly. Those, those costs will continue to increase as you go on. So you know, and also just the whole elasticity and you know you don't have to have things up there a little more transient, so you don't have to have things up and running all day long to you can have these massive clusters processing data at night, getting your financial report ready for the morning turn it off. You know, there's a lot of steps and stages that you can go through and to really analyze those types of things, and it's amazing how much the cost can drop and at the same time, the performance really goes through the roof. All right, guys, you know they're three quarters almost through a transform Asian multi year. What are we observing? What have we observed with our customers at that in state? And then, obviously we'll talk about ongoing management and optimization in order to continue to get value from the cloud. But let's talk about what that last phase kind of looks like in the transformation. Sure, I'll take that. I think what what...

...is happening is it's really becoming less about want to be careful. It's not less less about the technology and the tools per se, but it's about evolving. Now, right, even the really deep technical folks are learning to be more effective and efficient, if you will. So that's what I see out there, you know, smarter workforce, those that have been playing in it and practicing in it for a long time now. You know, they're evolving at a much steeper and rapid rate as well as the legacy ones, legacy folks that came over from traditional infrastructure, you know, as they get more to the tail end of their career perhaps, or what have you. A lot of the younger folks that are in the industry or a cloud native. So it's just a natural thing for them. They have nothing to unlearn. So it's pretty interesting where we are right now in that state. I absolutely it does transform careers along the way. We see incredible effect on People's careers and the directory that they may have been kind of stagnant for a while, but when they dig into this stuff, I mean at the the opportunities come knocking at their door. Well, and that's a good point, and that can work. is a benefit to the customer that we're working with, or it can also be a debt from it, because a lot of those staffers, if you would, that have led the cloud charge over the last year, year and a half, two years, even into three years, are being recruited away to help other companies do that. So they have some knowledge loss, and so it's really important. Going back to your governance piece, diving down a layer, you know, the run books, automation, having the documentation and understanding how those systems and processes work in the cloud is really important as you're training more people within the organization. Absolutely, absolutely, yeah, that it's very important that you document these processes as well. You know, it's funny how you watch it shift from from on prime at the beginning of a project, where they say yeah, we can get vm spun up in two or three days, you get to the point where you're doing it in hours and getting a fully configured platform and then six months, nine months into this, that they're complaining that two hours is just too long, and so you help them get that at down a minute. And what you talk about speed of business, at that point you know you need a full stack of some type of application suite deployed. It's done in minutes. When the time you submit that ticket to it's launched. That give a lot of business. Is the opportunity to just really take this it. We cut the take it for a granted at how fast you could do things now and you know, experiment, throw things away, start over again. You no longer finding rogue servers under people's desks. And I think the other exciting thing is too, and I get kind of excited about this too, is when you start uncovering all their data assets and you start bringing together, there's just a lot of excitement where you can start monetizing that data for some of their customers and it creates a new opportunity for a revenue stream and we're seeing that more and more these days. And you know, with the proliferation of machine learning and other opportunities there in the analytics that you can do in the cloud, fantastic. A lot of a lot of experimentation and speed there well. And you know, maybe we glossed over this or didn't really dive deep on a but in order to do that there's a large amount of automation throughout the transformation right automation in the architecture, automation in the solutions, automation in the management to allow them to pivot react quickly. Absolutely, yeah, automation is the key. It's the underpinning glue to getting all this moving quickly. Everything should be done through some form of automation if you can. You want to stay away from manual processes of logging into portals and clicking on items to launch. You know, that's good for experimentation, for proof of concept, but once you get in into production and you're developing dead test and production environments for the different...

...business units. It should be done in a repeatable fashion, utilizing there's a lot of solutions out there's not one that works for the best that over the other. It just really depends on the circumstances. But do build those infrastructure pipelines and it will ensure that you're going to deploy securely and it will be operationalized from the second that you launch it as well. So that will drive those operational cost down as well. Efficiency at scale really. And then even from a security perspective, you look at it, you mold that in. You're baking in built in security principles that you know where afterthoughts or just always some somewhat cumbersome you know previous generations. So whether it's early stage in the cloud or even on prem obviously. Well, let's talk about kind of post transformation. I guess there's really never any final post transformation from what we've worked with and leard right, but it's outside of scope from that original transformation project. What are some of the areas? You know, the customers have obviously asked us back to do additional work continue to help them. One of those is optimization, obviously to help optimize their environment ongoing basis, and the other is transformation of particular applic cations or workloads to continue to use cloud native tools and innovations. Let's talk briefly just kind of about that post initials transformation, if you would. I think optimization is definitely where you need to start, and that's an ongoing process. It never really ends. It needs to be done on some type of regular cadence. There's always new instance types, new payment models and just new technology that continues to come out with the cloud. So you look at from taking like maybe an instance type to a newer generation that I'll give you, you know, maybe fourteen percent price performance increase, and so that's a great way of doing it. And it's not just, you know, one vector. Usually look at six to seven different kind of ways that the optimize. But then then your optimization continues to transform as well. You really start looking at how these applications are working and which ones are right to be refactored into a completely cloud native environment. And that that's moving towards containerization, it's moving towards serverless and it you know it. You can't do it that. Every application to a lot of more commercial off the shelf software packages. So you're going to lead those alone. But a lot of the assets that you have, like we have a lot of large retail customers where they're doing ordering platforms. Moving that into a serverless, stateless model really gives a lot of speed to the development pipelines and true develops behind that. When you get there. It's really the new speed of change right at the end of the day, pushing things faster and making sure that you're controlling your costs again, making sure that there's nothing out there that's abandoned, astray, if you will. But then, at the end of the day, if optimization is the word of the very similar to continuous improvement right, synonymous to that. Yeah, it's good point. Yeah, it's a lot of those old school manufacturing techniques have not gone away, they've just transformed themselves into the cloud as well. So, you know, it's lean manufacturing to subdigrade. It's just in time and there's a lot of other aspects of it as well, you know. And then we don't want to just you know, I don't want to leave the impression that you're going to jump out and start writing server less applications right after transformation. There's a lot of other opportunities to as the technology continues to change and the features continue to enhance on a lot of these different platforms that a lot of customers that have been very you know, they have every database flavor known to man that the running in their enterprise and a lot of cases at the beginning of the transformation it was unable to take...

...that database. He transform it to a PAS solution. But a year and a half in he start looking at that and then you start going back to all those applications and say now these there's some feature parody that you can use there and really transitioning that the database is off of a managed host onto a platform as a service that continue to optimize the operational experience for the clients and it's just really takes off all takes out a lot of the things that you had to do in the past, such as patching and different types of backups and things along those lines. It's just really drives that operational cost down. Yeah, it's interesting. That last point is another area where we seen transformation struggle right is they're trying to do too much too soon with too many cloud services. Versus that progression to transformation and kind of that you talked about. Right. Maybe they're trying to get their entire or to go to develops, are trying to containerize everything. They're trend these every micro service and cloud nate of and and it almost becomes overwhelming for them to transform that quickly, and so stay and focused on where they're going as helpful. Right. Absolutely, yeah, keep you can keep that eye on the ball and you know you get there through steps. You don't get there right trying to do everything at one time and working with people who have had that expertise and seen this before is I think it's important. You know, whether it be your peers or outside consultants, but you know and try to identify where you're going to get the biggest bang for the buck on those. You know how are you going to provide the best services to your business units, and it's feed them along, don't try to do everything. And you know, as the cloud, you know that what is inevitable in the cloud has changed, just like so much other aspects of business. So something that you may try to build right now and if it's not necessarily think you should be focusing on. There's a chance that there's going to be a service in six months out that does exactly what you need. So sometimes waiting might be the best approach in certain areas and always focus on what's driving the biggest value at this point. Fantastic, guys. Before we wrap up, maybe you know one last thought around, you know, multi cloud in a transformation and some of the advice you'd give on that front, because obviously multi cloud, hybrid cloud, big, big topic of conversation with customers today and Covid nineteen we're seeing the large CSPS coming through, right coming through with capacity and scalability so that we all can continue working. But let's talk about that just before we wrap up. I think from my experience, has to be party a business strategy just like it. You know, again, if you look at from a software perspective inside an enterprise, you know you had multiple software vendors in their multiple back office systems of what have you. Maybe they weren't doing the same things. But now transpose that to the cloud. Today, look at the different various cloud vendors that have different offerings. Or perhaps they're stronger in some areas than others. As well as your staff, perhaps they're more comfortable in certain areas that one of those cloud service providers play out too as well. So again it just has to be part of the business strategy and there's certainly better platforms for certain industries as well. So if you look at some of maybe the media entertainment, you may put some of the assets in one cloud and for your sap workloads into another, and that's a good strategy typically. What we do see, though, is clients are going heavy on one cloud over the other two, but still using all three, and that's a good strategy as well well. Fantastic guys. Thanks as always, listeners. If you have any questions, obviously send those to cloud crunch at psycho watchcom. We're happy to answer that. Appreciate the feedback and thanks for listening. Right. Thanks, Jeff,...

...thanks to you. Thanks, guys. Look forward to talking to you next time. You've been listening to cloud crunch with Jeff aiden 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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