If the above subject line has caught your attention, the word ‘NOT’ has served its purpose, and I can drop it now. The intended subject line is ‘Adopting Cloud is most definitely the New Normal.’
Being in the country-wide lockdown for the last four weeks, I got a little time (yes, just a little because of the household chores) to ponder over the idea of “Cloud after COVID-19.” Thecase for cloud adoption has been discussed, debated, and thrashed multiple times, and hence I am not reasoning that. Either you believe that Cloud adoption is needed or you don’t believe it. In this blog, I am addressing the believer community (enterprise) who is looking to increase its cloud adoption pace during and post COVID-19.
In my learning and observation, organization structure and behavior has a substantial impact on Cloud adoption apart from technical issues. Any large enterprise has two key groups/parties playing a role in Cloud strategy, infrastructure, and apps teams. The more they align and collaborate, the faster would be the rate of cloud adoption, and lesser will be the cost of operations if we encounter the next similar event in the future.
What MUST change in ‘organization behavior’ to speed up cloud adoption post-COVID?
Once the enterprises return to their usual course of corrections and formulating next BCP or COVID-xx strategy, my recommendation is to bring app and infrastructure teams together to drive this necessity. Businesses should pause on feature additions and spend time in realigning application KPI’s to offer greater ‘flexibility’ (not value alone. Organization leaders should take an integrated view of app and infrastructure and prioritize your application strategy around three additional points:
To date, cloud adoption discussions have been around cost reduction or digitization or scalability. All these are relevant; however, I would suggest considering application flexibility as a critical objective of the new normal. It’s not challenging to come up with a measurable KPI for app flexibility. Here are some of the benchmarks one can consider.
- Can my app scale down to zero and reduce the cost of operations when needed?
- Can I bring it up quickly? Like right before the time it’s needed.
- Can I provide selective access to users/APIs on the internet?
- Can I seamlessly move the app between On-Prem private Cloud and public Cloud?
Well, these are critical questions, and when business demand is low, it’s time we prioritize and build these capabilities into our IT systems. These will add immense flexibility to business operations with the ability to quickly finetune the fixed cost of IT operations.
App Infrastructure Consumption
Applications (application owners implied), need to monitor their infra. Application owners have not been vigilant about how much infra they consume. In most embedded & RTOS systems, every extra byte of memory consumption gets questioned. Similarly, application owners must be held accountable, and one of the indispensable KRA should be to reduce infra footprint. The below can be used as a handy checklist for examination.
- Can I downgrade my app to the lower version of servers if needed?
- Can my app go serverless?
- If not an entire app, can I move 30% app functionality to serverless?
- Can I move my batch processes to event-based design? Or on spot Cloud instances?
- Can I design data to move between cheaper storage options seamlessly?
Work from Home (WFH) as a New Normal
With WFH as a new normal, it’s the responsibility of application owners to make it user-friendly to drive productivity for WFH users. WFH alignment will have a secondary impact on HR costs, as this will enable contractors to work effectively and remotely. These are some useful pointers to be considered by app owners to facilitate WFH.
- Can I add some basic voice interface to my application?
- Can I integrate my app with voice assistants on mobile devices?
- Can I add AI/ML capabilities to recommend intuitive options to users?
These above parameters will bring app and infra teams together and persuade them to take a holistic view of the needed transformation.
Even if 25% of applications align with the discussed considerations, the new normal will be far more flexible and agile from an IT standpoint.