Business challenges begin once the technology is running
Dev and test are all about getting new functionality to run to spec. Once it’s running and doing what it should, it must move to Production and get delivered to the intended customers and users. This is where the business challenges begin as the costs issues and workloads emerge, risks become clearer, and the changing needs of customers and the business shift and develop.
Good technology can actually be delivered from almost any Cloud
The major Cloud providers all have services that meet the needs of most technologies – they have to because competition is so fierce. So it’s rare to find a technology that, on its own, actually dictates the Cloud provider required. Cloud choice is more often a matter of preference, familiarity, or some other factor, rather than a matter of technology.
|The strategy and ambitions of the business need to dictate the way Operations delivers technology services in the Cloud, and these things are best factored in early in the planning of service architecture, the structure of delivery and the organisation required.|
Getting locked in to one provider creates business vulnerabilities and risk
That said, each Cloud provider has extra add-on services to make deployment fast and easy, but they do these things differently, which makes it almost impossible to change provider without a re-write. A cynic would say that this is intentional so that switching is harder. Getting locked in makes the business vulnerable to all sorts of risks of changes in pricing, services and availability, as well as specific policies that future customers might have, even the attitudes of acquirers if the business is considering an exit, one day.
Cloud costs are dynamic, hard to predict, and often hide traps for the unwary
Cloud costs vary significantly with different kinds of usage, and this can make business models unwieldy as scaling takes over. The dynamics of cost variations can make a solution overly costly or even unviable unless these things are used to drive decisions about how the Cloud set-up is structured, and which provider is used for which workload.
Supporting Cloud services creates new workloads and cost centres
Operational Cloud support for services in action with customers is a matter of business. Major brand name Cloud providers have a reputation for being hard to reach unless you’re one of their big accounts. Shifts for extended hours and round the clock cover all add cost and management workload. Support needs a different mindset from development, too, and the skills-mix is different, so it can be disruptive and ineffective to look to dev teams for routine, lower level support.
Customer needs and regulation changes can be hard to predict
External change and unexpected factors can’t be ignored in making potentially long-lasting decisions. New customers may emerge with different preferences, even policies, and past decisions can cast a very long shadow. The world is increasingly mired with competitive data regulation. These are business implications that should help frame and inform decisions about Cloud and the way services are delivered, quite apart from any technology considerations.
Delivering Cloud operations is down to business ambitions and strategy
The major drivers of Cloud delivery decisions, and most long-lasting implications are for the business, not the technology. The strategy and ambitions of the business need to dictate the way Operations delivers technology services in the Cloud, and these things are best factored in early in the planning of service architecture, the structure of delivery and the organisation required. Flexiion is one of a new breed of independent specialists, who help decision making and operational delivery of Cloud services.
Peter is chairman of Flexiion and has a number of other business interests. (c) 2021, Peter Osborn