As companies migrate to the cloud, many are discovering that their cloud architecture isn’t optimized for business value. Unfortunately, they realize this only after considerable resources, time, and cost. In Deloitte’s On Cloud podcast episode, “Want higher cloud ROI? Build a holistic cloud architecture,” David Linthicum from Deloitte sits down with Red Hat’s E.G. Nadhan to talk about how collaboration is the key to cloud optimization. The result? An infrastructure that reflects the mission of the entire business.
Keeping an open mind when it comes to tools and solutions
Technology is a journey. Companies are constantly looking ahead to what’s coming next, but there are many different technologies and tools available now. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the choices or succumb to shiny object syndrome, which only solves problems in a narrow scope.
Nadhan believes that an open mind really is the key to finding solutions that drive business value. For Red Hat, the idea of being “open-source” isn’t limited simply to software; the company believes that it’s a cultural mindset within an organization that fosters the type of collaboration that companies need to reinvent their software stacks.
The key driver for technology projects that succeed, according to Red Hat’s experience with customers, is that collaborative mindset. Linthicum agrees. He mentioned a recent survey Deloitte conducted that noticed a distinct difference between ROI for technology leaders and followers. Nadhan believes that it could be a difference in how leaders measure where they are today and where they want to be.
When companies are clear about where they are now and what their goals are for building any new infrastructure, it makes it easier to track changes and understand exactly what value these technology investments are returning. Having an open mind and consistent collaboration means that all stakeholders are available to ensure that these investments are moving the business needle forward.
Looking beyond existing contracts
Companies may also hamper their success by focusing solely on solutions from existing partnerships. This method may seem like the path of least resistance, but it further entrenches vendor lock-in. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance these investments will remain under-optimized for the business use case the organization needs.
Nadhan compares it to moving houses. Companies decide to move based solely on what they have in one room. They don’t stop to consider how everything in the entire house will fit together at the new location. Instead, organizations should remain open-minded and look at what other departments, companies, and even industries are doing with their unique use cases. This helps remove some of the barriers and limitations companies put on their technology infrastructure.
And he is clear: technology should be for the end user—business leaders, managers, and organizational teams—not the IT department. When IT has full collaboration with business departments, it becomes less about “which container,” i.e., the rush to implement specific technologies, and more about how these technology investments will ultimately create a valuable customer experience that relates directly to the business mission.
Call to action: Have the entire enterprise team on the lookout
When the entire enterprise is able to put their combined business experience and industry knowledge behind technology choices, they are far more capable of spotting which of those choices are able to accomplish goals. Even better, those choices should move across different providers. Then, companies would be more capable of building an infrastructure that they can iterate again and again.
In an age of agile work and “fail fast” mantras, technology must be flexible enough to adapt alongside company needs. Both experts believe that the vision for the right technology is going to be ever-changing. It’s not one particular solution or one “do it all” platform that will finally enable business ROI.
Decision-makers must be able to look beyond the specific details of each technology to see the much bigger picture. Business leaders bring these abstract ideas to the table, describing what these solutions hope to accomplish. On the other side, enterprise architecture teams should pay close attention to the patterns they see. Then, deploying these patterns in a sandbox could help the enterprise nail down exactly what they need to improve ROI.
Cloud optimization reflects the enterprise as a whole
As different departments collaborate and share information about business needs and what patterns they see, companies can begin to optimize an infrastructure that reaches the entire enterprise. Enterprises will then be able to achieve a technology vision that remains optimized to the business mission and not simply addressed to each goal and challenge on a case-by-case basis.
Moving forward, companies will begin to take an organization-wide approach to building and deploying technology such as the cloud will ultimately achieve a greater ROI than those who remain siloed into different departments. Ultimately, collaboration will provide a path towards cloud optimization and thus, more value.
Elizabeth Wallace is a Nashville-based freelance writer with a soft spot for data science and AI and a background in linguistics. She spent 13 years teaching language in higher ed and now helps startups and other organizations explain – clearly – what it is they do.