What Does it Take to be a Cloud Game Changer?

By Ines Marjanovic
| min

Cloud game changer: Noun. A company that has elevated its IT operations and increased its competitive edge with an innovative, future-forward cloud strategy.

A definition is a start, but what it doesn’t tell us is what it takes to become a cloud game changer yourself. Moving away from the strain of antiquated infrastructure, lost weekends, constant handoffs, and more requires not just personal tenacity, but an IT business partner that enables transformation.

We chatted with several cloud game changers to identify the steps they took to upgrade their IT environment, and we’ve compiled their strategies for success.

Rethink your VDI Approach

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) has quickly become a powerful tool to tackle IT challenges like reducing support costs, servicing remote and branch offices, improving security, and more. With the right VDI approach, businesses are able to optimize the end-user experience at any scale.

Hyundai, Northern Trust, and JetBlue all improved their VDI strategy, with Hyundai adopting a virtual first approach, choosing to virtualize any and all applications they could, and Northern Trust noting that running IT as a business is imperative to staying ahead of the competition. JetBlue pursued a new VDI strategy altogether—they deployed Citrix-based VDI and hosted shared applications, which boosted availability and the user experience.

Opt for a Hybrid Cloud

In the digital era, there’s no room to settle. Making public vs. private cloud an “either/or” situation means sacrificing agility and security respectively. Increasingly, the answer has been to merge the two and realize the benefits of both.

Here’s why: When it comes to time to market, performance, elasticity, scalability, and other criteria, about 50% of respondents from the State of the Enterprise Datacenter report said hybrid cloud fits the bill. Increasing hybrid cloud adoption means that by 2025, it’ll be the norm.

Nasdaq, the world’s first electric stock exchange, realized a hybrid cloud was the best choice to achieve their digital transformation goals. In fact, CEO Adena Friedman says, “We created that hybrid cloud model for ourselves, for our disaster recovery, as well as for our customers.” The flexibility of a hybrid cloud model is not just attractive—it’s quickly becoming a necessity.

Secure a Smaller Datacenter Footprint

Shrink, shrink, shrink. As computing and storage rise, companies are pursuing avenues to cut back on costs, and reducing your datacenter footprint is one key way to make it happen.

Both Empire Life, a life and health insurer, and Trek, a bike and cycling manufacturer, were able to slash their datacenter footprint by implementing a simplified, agile infrastructure in place of their existing stack. For Empire Life, their hefty 192U shrunk to 12U. That’s a 16:1 reduction for all four of their use cases. Trek, too, saw remarkable results: They reduced their storage and compute footprint by 75%, which kept their datacenter costs low and manageable.

Enjoy Less Management and More Modernization

Innovation doesn’t come from tedious, weekend-eating infrastructure management. Nearly every company we chatted with noted that simplified IT management freed their time to focus on pursuing business-critical goals, becoming a hard-hitting competitor, or enjoying their weekends and holidays again.

How did they do it? One-click operations. Short, painless upgrades. Minute-long rather than week-long deployment.

For example, Kinepolis, a cinema chain, reduced their system management time by 5x and now enjoys a single, easy-to-digest dashboard for their entire IT environment. JetBlue also did away with their legacy infrastructure, replacing lengthy and complex management with a unified plane that lets them perform upgrades, deploy applications, and complete other operations in a single click.

Replace Specialists with Generalists

When it comes to unneeded complexity and excess costs, hiring an army of specialists isn’t the answer to effectively scaling infrastructure. Complicating the IT team with numerous specialists means it’s much harder to keep tabs on who’s responsible for which operation, and not to mention, they’re costly to keep on.

The solution comes not from the team itself, but the infrastructure. Reducing your dependence on IT specialists means your infrastructure of choice should be easily workable by anyone—regardless of expertise.

For all of their remote locations, Kinepolis was able to eliminate their need for IT specialists entirely. Plus, Trek was able to scale back the number of employees responsible for infrastructure management by 66%. As a result, their lower IT costs freed up their time, money, and resources to funnel toward more innovative projects.

The Bottom Line

Certainly, being a cloud game changer means more than simply meeting these 5 transformation goals, but with the right solutions in place, you can join the ranks. Use these customer success stories as your guide to find out what your modernization journey might entail.

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