What Large Enterprises Should Know About Their Move To An Intelligent Cloud

Chris Singh

Part 6 of the “The Secret Behind the Intelligent Enterprise” series

When large enterprises make cloud technology central to their underlying systems, digital transformation moves to a new level. This often involves cloud computing and subscription-based cloud services to integrate digital technology into the business.

Success in the cloud really boils down to the attention that large enterprises pay to eight fundamental factors.

1. Hybrid cloud and multi-cloud

The adoption of hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud landscapes is quickly becoming mainstream, so companies will experience higher flexibility as they are able to add more cloud capability to their on-premise core business system.

One of the key benefits of hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud computing is speed to innovation while maintaining business continuity for key and core business systems. Being able to quickly expand capabilities through business-focused cloud solutions can save both effort and expense through standardization and outsourcing operational costs.

Another benefit is decreasing deployment risks through a focused, step-by-step approach to innovation while adhering to increased compliance in local legal regulations. This allows the enterprise to stay continuous while it begins to or fully transitions to the cloud.

2. Integrated business scenarios across clouds

In a multi-cloud architecture spanning IaaS, platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and software-as-a-service (SaaS), businesses allow for the creation of new, automated, and shared business processes. It is critical to utilize business process management and greater outsourcing, which allows companies to focus more on their core business.

Users expect a smooth end-to-end experience that supports business in the best way possible. For this reason, connectivity across multiple cloud investments is crucial to future IT architecture design. Integration validation also provides data consistency across clouds when analyzing business processes and interfaces.

3. Software change management across clouds

In multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud environments, a single process change can impact several cloud applications, while a single application change can influence the operation of several processes. For large enterprises, being able to leverage technology changes to drive your business outcomes is key.

Business leaders must determine the best practices for standard and release management. They need to create cross-functional alignment between business and IT.   All software change management should follow a tight governance model that includes up front testing, user engagement and stakeholder alignment.  In the cloud, it is all about usage, adoption and consumption.  Software changes must be able to support and drive outcomes that cross many areas within the enterprise.

4. Scalability in the cloud

To respond to a world that never stands still, IT leaders must avoid the capital-intensive burden of IT systems that cannot keep up with changing business demands. Instead, they need a landscape that scales digital capabilities to boost operational speed and agility, help ensure steady and predictable performance, and maintain high asset efficiency.

Hyperscale computing providers want an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud that is able to adapt to increased demand from SAP customers throughout the business cycle. For software providers like SAP, partnering with top hyperscalers and certifying their IaaS clouds broadens the range of technology options that can move companies to the cloud.  It also allows them to provide expertise around cyber security and legal requirements and gives access to additional platform services that allow for extension.

5. Data tiering to optimize storage costs

To optimize data storage, enterprises have the option of migrating “hot data” to warm or cold disk-based, extended storage as the data ages. Extended storage reduces the footprint of large databases and applies cost-efficient storage and processing technologies to your data, depending on its value.

It is important to note that this approach does not mean that you lose insight. Instead, analytics solutions are available to increase transparency across hot and warm data, as well as cold data storage. Consolidating X and O data into a single extended storage source provides the consistent results in analytics that customers are seeking.

6. End-to-end application and system monitoring

All cloud solutions, regardless of where they are deployed, must perform at an optimal level. IT organizations must monitor both at the technology level and the application level. Too often a system is pingable; however, the application running within the infrastructure is down and users cannot access.

Automated health check and heartbeat monitoring exceptions must be checked and responded to with consistency. This process should be incorporated into the standard operating plan.

7. Security architecture

Of all the aforementioned factors, the security of a multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud architecture may be the most critical. By replacing a reactive, threat-oriented approach with a proactive, predictive strategy, businesses can address end-to-end security requirements across their network of endpoints, applications, APIs, and data. Furthermore, they can strengthen their compliance with data-security regulations as required by governing bodies for many industries.

8. IT organizational setup for hybrid IT

The constant evolution happening in most IT landscapes calls for changes in the structure of the IT organization. When on-premise applications are migrated to a SaaS scenario or a data center in an IaaS scenario, responsibilities that were once held in-house shift to external providers.

As a result, new responsibilities emerge, especially related to managing end-to-end business scenarios. This reality requires an adapted organizational model for the IT department. This includes redesigned roles and responsibilities, up-skilling of the workforce, key support processes and operational documentation, and support tools that focus on delivering value-added activities to the enterprise. In addition, large enterprises should have closer alignment between business and IT on goals, budgets, and governance to effectively execute across multiple landscapes because in the cloud, a lot of the decisions reside within the line of business.

A new era of intelligence begins with speed and agility

From the boardroom to the plant floor, cloud technology can allow everyone it touches to think intelligently, work productively, innovate creatively, and act precisely. But more importantly, when IT operating models are highly efficient, agile, and relevant, the cloud can empower businesses to take on change and turn it into an opportunity – today, tomorrow, and for years to come.

And don’t forget to check every week for new installments to our blog series “The Secret Behind the Intelligent Enterprise” to explore best practices for implementing the latest emerging technologies.

Chris Singh

About Chris Singh

Chris Singh is the Global Head of Customer Success at SAP.  His mission is to help customers achieve their business objectives by adopting and consuming their cloud solutions through a guided, expert-driven engagement with SAP Preferred Success. With over 15 years of experience at SAP, Chris has been driving organizational change and innovation for over a decade. Coming from an acquired company, Chris has held leadership roles in support, software development, retail, custom development, and consulting. In 2015, Chris moved from Toronto to Philadelphia as the Global Head of Innovation in DBS and in 2017 he assumed his current position as the Global Head of Customer Success in DBS.  Since starting this role, he has helped over 500 customers in 53 countries meet their strategic and organizational goals in the cloud with SAP Preferred Success.   Find Chris on Twitter @ChrisSinghPS