So you’re buying and selling cloud solutions. You’ve built a successful cloud practice, your customers believe in the model and see increased efficiency and productivity, all the while having more predictable IT operating expenses. You’ve even figured out a way to minimize the IT burden on your company. Awesome.
But a funny thing happened on the way to this Digital Nirvana: No one knew where to stop.
In the same vein that we all once used the term server sprawl as a powerful argument to accelerate cloud adoption, now we’re facing cloud sprawl. As the late, great Yogi Berra once said, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.”
From crawl to sprawl
In one respect, we seem to be a victim of our own success. After all, about 70% of the global market now uses cloud, with the majority of companies running multiple applications in the cloud, across different lines of business, according to a new report from Technology Business Research, sponsored by SAP.
Digging deeper, it appears the average enterprise utilizes cloud for three different business functions, and half are running multiple applications for the same function, according to TBR. Complicating things even further, many of the cloud applications in use were never approved by IT and aren’t centralized within the IT organization. In fact, only 8% of cloud customers have fully integrated their cloud applications, according to the report.
Add in the fact that most companies typically have a blend of public and private cloud infrastructure, and it’s easy to see how quickly things can get messy inside an organization. The old image of “spaghetti cabling” comes to mind, only these lines are virtual.
Fortunately, there are steps that solution providers can introduce to their clients, processes to put in place, and applications to streamline, all to help minimize this cloud complexity.
Today’s solution providers have transformed themselves into trusted business advisors, not just trusted IT advisors. As such, they can play a vital role helping their customers’ IT and line-of-business (LoB) departments work closely together to ensure that organizational goals remain intact and on task.
If IT and LoB have different, and potentially conflicting, approaches to cloud, it’s your job to offer an objective opinion, analysis, and ultimately solution. The more you can foster improved collaboration between IT and LoB, the more trust you build—with both parties. Here are three ways to help accomplish that:
- Communicate. A lot. Talk to your customers. Help them navigate through the murky waters that often exist between silos with an organization. Help each LoB identify and then be able to articulate their respective business needs and then work with IT to develop an overarching solution that efficiently and effectively meets everyone’s needs. Don’t wait until cloud sprawl is out of control to address it.
- Start at the Start. It’s important to collaborate with IT at the beginning, even if the LoB owns the funding for a new cloud application. The more in-tune that IT remains with LoB’s processes, the better chance of remaining aligned across the board and maximizing efficiency and productivity.
- Set Meaningful, Appropriate Goals. It doesn’t do a company any good if one of its departments invests in an application or infrastructure that may benefit one LoB, but create more expensive or less efficient results across the company. Developing the right goals and using IT as a broker in the business, especially between LoB organizations, ensures that achieving overall corporate missions and objectives remains the primary outcome.
We’re all living this digital transformation in real-time, vendors, solution providers, end users. Our ability to adapt and adjust on the fly will ultimately help determine our success. Technology isn’t going to slow down, nor will customer demands for greater efficiency and productivity. As the front line with SME customers, SAP absolutely counts on its partners to provide the alerts, the guidance and the solutions to address this cloud sprawl. Together, let’s run simple!
For more on how the cloud can help you simplify your business, see Cloud Computing: Keeping IT Simple.
About the author: Jennifer Schulze (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Vice President of Cloud Partner Marketing at SAP. She leads a global team of marketing experts to ensure partner demand generation, awareness, and go-to-market success. She has more than 20 years of experience in consumer and technology marketing, with expertise in software, services, and consumer and business products.