Financial Services businesses are under increasing pressure to turn data into a strategic business advantage while meeting ever more stringent regulatory and compliance demands. This raises the stakes even higher for companies to ensure they are architecting the right cloud strategy for their needs.
Leading Cloud Transformation advisor Christian Chichkine gives his expert opinion on how to approach creating a cloud strategy that will drive innovation while safeguarding security.
With so many things to consider, business decision makers in financial services first need to understand where to begin.
There are three main areas that are critical to start with.
First, examine your businesses level of maturity. Start an assessment from both a human, process and a tech standpoint.
Second, look at the existing environment. What type of legacy do you have? Do you have any planned projects already in place? If so, these will probably guide the type of transformation that you’ll need.
Analyse the legal and tech restrictions of the business. This will depend on your sector and constraints with data, locality and security.
These all provide a good starting point on your cloud journey and should help you avoid falling into the trap of doing something purely because it’s on trend and is what companies around you are doing – trust me this happens more than you would think!
Keep an Open Mind About Cloud
Many people I meet simply associate Cloud with Public Cloud.
This is not the case. Cloud is really about changing the way a business can deliver its service and accommodating the ways that its customers will consume these services.
Within this there are then three main types of Cloud option:
Private – a cloud-enabled IT infrastructure running in a corporate datacentre or privately hosted by a third-party service provider.
Public – infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings from third-party cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.
Hybrid – a combination of private and public cloud environments, with some level of interoperability between them.
The one that is right for you will depend on the specific circumstances of your business and should not be dictated by a top down or bottom up decision making process.
Be Objective and Follow the Facts
Unfortunately, what I see most often in determining an IT deployment strategy is either pressure from the top of a business or a decision-making process from the ground up.
With the top down scenario, it’s often driven by a C-level person entering the business and wanting to apply their own footprint. With a bottom up approach, it’s usually a
technical person or their team wanting to promote their own technical mantra.
Both are wrong and have dangerous implications. The only right course of action is to determine the cloud strategy based on the business needs.
You should be analysing the expectations and constraints regarding IT consumption and all the related requirements around each use case.
Then once you have this information you can determine which technical solution is going to deliver these requirements.
Design is Everything
A worrying trend I see is businesses thinking that Public Cloud can be a one-stop solution. This can lead to huge spiralling costs.
A couple of examples: one company I know had a clear view on their monthly costs which were around $350,000 per month. However, they predetermined they wanted to move to Public Cloud without reviewing the business case and their monthly costs spiralled to over $2m.
A second example saw a company decide to move the majority of its workload to the Public Cloud. They started with a small scope of work on two applications which ended up costing them over £2m. They then realised they had another 625 applications left!
There’s a misconception that Public Cloud can be a magic solution, allowing you to move everything from A to B, but that’s not how it happens.
Any service that you move will never be smarter than the way it’s designed. That for me has been my biggest lesson over the last 10 years.
Design is everything
If you don’t design properly you won’t have the right understanding and awareness of your requirements, your business constraints, your legal issues and everything else, meaning that you’re highly likely to design your service poorly. Simply putting your services into the Public Cloud won’t make the design any better.
Christian Chichkine is Cloud Transformation Advisor, EMEA at Nutanix.