Companies see IT modernization as a means to compete in an increasingly crowded business landscape. For many, migrating workloads to the cloud has played a key part in technical modernization and helped deliver ROI – especially while managing distributed workforces and customers, and/or navigating fluctuating demand.
While migrating to the cloud is often a first step, organizations frequently see it as an end state and struggle to think beyond that first black diamond on the Gantt Chart. What comes after the migration is complete? Who will be responsible for the ongoing maintenance and what do those roles look like week in week out? Chances are it’s not the project team. As they move on to the next priority… who’s left to love & cherish the “Enterprise Cloud Platform”? Does the company have the right people & processes in place to manage this?
These questions should be considered when structuring the initial migration business case. But it can quickly fall over, or be forgotten, when organisations dive in with a project focused mindset rather than one focused on platform longevity. They then struggle through scope management and the constant tension of scope creep and cuts, in order to deliver on their goal(s).
Too often organizations forget that cloud migration is the first step in this ongoing journey. Once it’s complete, there’s a suite of continuous improvement activities required to forever maximise the value of a steady-state cloud environment. Without this view, there’s partial benefits realisation, erosion of ROI and procedural gaps can quickly lead to deprecation, drift, and atrophy.
The pitfalls of a project-based view
Many enterprises treat cloud adoption with a short-term focus and fail to set a precedent for ongoing “business as usual” and/or managed services – which means they’re missing out on adopting the benefits of technical modernization on an enterprise-wide scale.
This outlook often overlooks the platform or product and its long-term financial AND non-financial benefits. As a result – after migrating a particular workload or environment to the cloud and assuming a business-as-usual approach – the care, focus and diligence of the project team is diverted to the next project. The “set and forget” pattern takes hold; a mindset that ignores the need for continuous improvement to reduce complexity, enhance financial performance and maintain freshness across the environment. It quickly leads to “air gaps” and the team loses match fitness, as the configuration of the production environment drifts away from the non-production environment. Your cloud environment won’t perform as you need it to, and friction abounds. It becomes a thorn in your cloud acceleration plans and team members get stuck fixing the issues rather than delivering higher value work. Business confidence erodes.
Can it affect any organization?
Deprecation and drift can emerge in any organization but they’re particularly challenging to deal with in medium-to-large enterprises or companies with global customers. These organizations are often required to collaborate between sizeable product and engineering teams and to constantly pass on information from testing to production.
Organizations of this nature need to be doing intraday changes and intraday updates. They need to leverage APIs and micro-services, and ensure they have smaller teams taking ownership. Of course, without the right checks and balances, these elements can lead to increased complexity and undifferentiated heavy lifting. They can also cause much bigger problems like elevated security risks, delivery risks and higher costs – in turn forcing you to take your eye off the ball and potentially inhibiting business growth.
Of course, automation seems like the best way to manage these processes, but that requires a solid, evergreen foundation to work well. If the foundation of the cloud environment isn’t continuously updated; if it doesn’t leverage the latest and most appropriate tools and services from the selected cloud vendor; if it doesn’t have the right guardrails and cost and compliance features to help you turn off unused components and avoid budget blowout; and if it doesn’t offer complete visibility across the cloud environment, then automating these processes creates a weaponised problem.
Ensuring your cloud computing environment is constantly updated and configured needs a long-term living and breathing cloud engineering capability. This means fixing the problem before it becomes one by proactively pre-empting it. A task like this requires a small upfront investment to realise long-term gains. An organization could consider sharpening the skills of existing employees or hiring a dedicated team to manage the cloud platform and fix such problems. However, this would also mean a considerable investment of time and resources, and by extension, capital.
Switch to an expert cloud management platform
Far too often, organizations start a cloud transformation journey and want enterprise-wide capability, but don’t have the skills, time, or budget to deliver this. A cost-effective cloud management platform like Stax can help organizations reduce worry by creating a centre of excellence from which to drive a living and breathing cloud engineering capability. Stax can manage all the undifferentiated heavy lifting, keeping your cloud environment evergreen – giving you the time and space to deliver against your ongoing technical modernization goals. Stax ensures automation, up-to-date documentation, security, and access management. In other words, Stax fixes the challenging or time intensive engineering side of things, so your developers / IT team can focus on the application side of things.
As the only native cloud management platform for Amazon Web Services (AWS), Stax also helps companies align with AWS’ frequent updates, and ongoing maintenance and reporting – ensuring this freshness also gets transferred to the organization’s cloud environment.
It’s a great option for those starting out their modernization journey, but it can also be leveraged by those already running some or all workloads in the cloud. Think of Stax as an add, and something you can test new or different workloads in rather than a complete re-imagining of your cloud environment.
The Stax cloud management platform understands your cloud environment. You can retain your old infrastructure while constantly improving it at your desired pace instead of completely replacing it. It offers a completely secure and risk averse endplay environment with the help of guardrails, rules, real-time alerts and customised risk and compliance checks. This helps organizations ensure the safety of customer data and critical infrastructure while still enabling teams to deliver at pace.
Are deprecation and drift challenging your technical modernization goals? Get in touch for an obligation free demo and see how Stax can help.