Microsoft Office 365

3 best ways to IT transformation on the cloud

3 best ways to IT transformation on the cloud

Transform IT on the cloud for better productivity and efficiency.

Cloud drives modern technology, and many businesses are yet far from achieving the true potential.

In this article, we share our first-hand experience to make your IT transformation on the cloud by opting three best ways.

IT transformation is the process of reassessing your IT assets for improvement and modernizing to address the changing business requirements and goals. Moreover, a step forward to adopt new trending technologies.

The very purpose of IT transformation on the cloud is to enhance performance, additionally optimize costs.

To bring in the cloud to your transformation strategy, analyze the business function that requires transformation on to the cloud, and classify and group the whole IT under Software, Platform, and Infrastructure.

 

Transforming the software – Productivity Suite

 Software is vital for one or more business functions to support daily work. 

Productivity suite, business email, mission-critical applications for project management, sales, and marketing, human resources, estimating, designing, accounting, and the list can go on.

Let’s begin with business email as a reference case.

Microsoft Office 365 suite or Exchange online and Google suite offerings are both excellent for businesses. Pick the right one that suits your business.

From a 2017 survey by Osterman Research Inc, 64% of respondents say that the drive for the use of Office 365 is to streamline IT operations, 53% user productivity and 54% to reduce the cost of delivering services.

Microsoft’s offering has a large install base and comes with familiar desktop options, whereas Google lacks desktop options.

However, if cloud transformation is to start at the software, give a try with your business email first.

 

Transforming the Infrastructure - Backup

 The second option to IT transformation with a cloud-based solution is the backup.  A critical task of an IT is backup, and it falls under the infrastructure classification.

Your backup solution should help you simplify restore procedures during an emergency. It must be flexible, secure, and cost-effective.

Azure backup gives you a great cloud experience.  You can configure backup with your existing systems on-premise and later extend the capabilities to combine a hosted site.

IDC’s recent survey claims that organizations utilizing Azure backup services and Site recovery see an average annual reduction in their total cost of operations (TCO) by 46% per year improving overall IT staff productivity, backup performance, and data recovery operations. 

The respondents also claim that they were able to minimize unplanned downtime and reduce expenditures for backup related hardware and software.

 

Transforming the software – Line of Business Applications

 Line of business applications is an increasing part of IT consumption.  Assess those that are running within your office or out of your data center and determine which ones you'd need to offload to the cloud.

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a choice if your vendor offers you for the present software, or, go for a new SaaS type.

An alternative is to migrate the applications to a managed cloud hosting model, or a self-service public cloud.   You'd save costs by not reinvesting on software licenses.

SaaS and hosted software, both are a delivery model that satisfies the NIST cloud definition. Choose the one that fits your business requirement.

If you prefer to host all your applications, Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, Google Cloud are the top players of Infrastructure as a service provider (Iaas). Nevertheless, you'd need a technology partner to help set up and transition.

We assist our customers on Microsoft Azure hosting applications providing anywhere access. 

 

Conclusion

 As change is unavoidable, so is cloud transformation.

Begin your cloud transformation with either one, or all of these - business email, line of business applications, and backup. 

Do a phase by phase transformation, gain control on the overall migration, and learn along with the changing trends.  IT transformation on the cloud is a steady process, and it will enhance productivity and efficiency.

Work with a technology partner to guide you through the transformation process and help achieve your IT goals.

AEC Industry Cloud Transition Cost Management: Part 5/7, Value Engineering and Quality vs. Cost

Welcome to part 5/7.  Once you start to flush out your model with products you have or want to use, you will likely start to see a few trends.  After some option analysis, if you end up with costs being the same, you will be left with analysis of quality.  This Cost vs. Quality ratio may not be a new issue for the seasoned buyer but the model we developed will help anyone make more seamless parallels between traditional and cloud offerings. To better illustrate, let’s park Quality for a minute and use 3 scenarios to paint a spectrum of what the cost allocations of your IT solution might look like today.  For organizational purposes I will use the Deployment Models (Public, Private, Hybrid, Community) from the NIST Cloud Definition to line out the options.  Remember the NIST Deployment Models are referring to how many entities the solution is provisioned for (across all 3 layers of Software, Platform, and Infrastructure) vs. where they are located.  So whether your solutions are on or off premise is not relevant at this time.  Hybrid is simply a hybrid and Community is just a limited number of entities somewhere in between so we will leave it out for now.  I have also put a ratio of Human:Non-Human costs.

Scenario 1: Private

Let’s assume all your solutions are managed by your staff and you own/license/manage all the products used.  For example you pay for Software Layer licenses of Microsoft SharePoint, Oracle JD Edwards, Oracle Primavera Unifier, Autodesk Revit and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  You also pay for/maintain all the Platform Layer licenses of Windows or Java Servers  and perhaps you use VMware products for Infrastructure.  This is fairly traditional, and while not the definition of NIST Private Cloud, it is a private solution.  Your ratio of Human:Non-Human costs may be something like 3:1, 4:1 or higher.

Scenario 2: Hybrid

Let’s assume 50% of your solutions are owned/licensed/managed by your staff and 50% by a 3rd Party.  For example you pay for Software Layer licenses of a financial application like Viewpoint V6 and enterprise content software like Viewpoint Construction Imaging as well as all the Platform and Infrastructure required to run the solution.  This is the Private half. Then for example you pay for some other Software Layer solution like eBuilder for Project Management and Aconex for collaboration.  These are SaaS offerings so they also include the Platform and Infrastructure layers.  This is fairly common and again, while it does not define NIST Hybrid Cloud, it is a hybrid solution.  Your ratio of Human:Non-Human costs may be 1:1.

Scenario 3: Public

Let’s assume 100% of your solutions are managed by a 3rd party and you do not own/license any products.  Basically you are using 100% SaaS only offerings.  For example you pay for Software Layer solutions like Quickbooks Online, Salesforce CRM, Box.com and Office 365 all of which include the Platform and Infrastructure costs as well.   This is not very common yet in the AEC Industry, but of the 3 scenarios is more likely to be synonymous with the NIST Public Cloud definition as these solutions are generally not provisioned for your organization’s exclusive use.  Your ratio of Human:Non-Human costs may be the opposite, say 1:5.

With all likelihood Scenario 1 will be least expensive, Scenario 2 in the middle, and Scenario 3 the most expensive.  When this is the case, the Private solutions generally lack some expertise/breadth or meeting NIST Cloud Essential Characteristics but make better use of Resource Pooling across the solution layers.  The Public offerings may be better automated, but they are generally not sharing the Platform and Infrastructure layer costs across the entire solution.  And so the fun begins.

If you are an in house IT team gunning for Scenario 1 you might cross your arms and say I told you so.  If you are a Consultant or Managed Services provider (like my company is) then you may lean toward Scenario 2 and say but let me give you the best of both worlds. If you are are a SaaS provider fitting into Scenario 3 you may say sure, but there’s no IT headaches, we take care of all that.  Perhaps this is all true, but it can be extremely confusing and the reality is until you get the Software, Platform, Infrastructure and related Human Resource costs organized in a way that you can actually make an intelligent comparison between past, current, and future options, decision making is a fairly futile endeavor.

So you may ask, what has this got to do with the Cloud Transition Cost Management again?  Well the model we have developed here makes all the costs transparent, at each layer of the solution.  There is no more guess work unless Vendors will not provide you the information for comparison.  This is rapidly changing with more Software Only licensing models being offered which enable you use a deployment model (Public, Private, Hybrid) of your choice.  With the right information plugged into the model, you can understand exactly why one solution cost differs from the other.  With costs uncovered, you can spend more time on analysis of quality, features, and value engineering the right mix with a very modular model that can be used throughout your organization, not just for IT.

Stay tuned for Part 6: Lab Exercises and Tools where I will provide some visuals that embody what has been discussed in order to get you moving if you have not already taken off down the run way.