For Cloud Agility, Be Agile

August 9, 2018

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Say “agile” to IT professionals, and the first thing that will come to mind for most  is the project management/software development methodology. Unfortunately, a lot of us in the IT industry forget that the term “agile” has a much broader, yet in many ways, simpler, definition.

Agile - marked by ready ability to move with quick easy grace; having a quick resourceful and adaptable character, nimble, having dexterity.

If you think about it, that definition fits the cloud. With its ability for rapid provisioning of computing resources and scaling those resources to align with changing business needs, it’s the epitome of agility.

The Scalability-Agility Connection

Consider the cloud’s scalability. Organizations can provision the infrastructure and computing resources they need, when needed, and then scale back when they are no longer required. That helps reduce costs as organizations don’t have to pay for and maintain resources that aren’t needed all the time. 

The cloud’s agile nature also helps companies deploy new solutions and products more rapidly and with greater ease. They can quickly test ideas in the marketplace, gather feedback, and make necessary changes to meet customer demand. That means they can deliver results sooner and be more responsive to market changes. And if they’re employing public cloud services, they can operate more cost effectively since there aren’t any capital expenses required with that model.

Updates and patches can be implemented quicker and more efficiently as well, saving the IT staffs charged with implementing them significant time and energy. Freeing up their time also enables them to focus on more strategic, often revenue-producing initiatives.

In addition, the cloud helps make organizations more agile themselves, and not just in terms of being more responsive to the needs and often-changing preferences of their customers. There’s the increased flexibility and productivity the cloud’s agile nature offers organizations’ employees. Drawing on cloud resources, employees can easily work remotely and engage in greater internal and external collaboration. The result: more productivity and efficiency and, quite possibly, happier employees.

And let’s face it. There’s a lot of talk about the importance of digital transformation. It’s not going to happen without the cloud.

So why aren’t all companies taking advantage of the cloud? And why are those who are using it to some extent not taking full advantage of it?

The Agility Obstacle

For as much agility as the cloud has, companies—and the people that comprise them—aren’t quite as flexible. It’s easy to get locked into the mindset of “we’ve always done it this way so why change.” It’s also easy to understand why some in the IT industry think that way.

They’re busy people, faced with constantly changing security threats, new application roll outs, day-to-day operations, and more. Taking the time to research the benefits of the cloud and its agile nature, much less take on a cloud migration, isn’t a top priority.

Despite evidence to the contrary, many IT professionals also fear that the cloud will eliminate their jobs. What they don’t realize is that mastering cloud technologies can make them more marketable and valuable.

So, where’s the tipping point that will help more companies, and their IT staffs, embrace all that the cloud has to offer? How can YOU become agile enough in your thinking and behavior to take advantage of the cloud?

CSPs: Your Agility Partners

One solution is to work with a knowledgeable cloud services provider (CSP), particularly one that employs a consultative approach and can customize its cloud solutions.  

CSPs are in the “cloud” business. They possess the expertise and experience in cloud technologies that you and your staff may not have. They can explain the options and their advantages and disadvantages. That alone is a time saver.

CSPs that take a consultative approach make it a priority to understand your business, so they can steer you towards solutions best suited to your organization’s needs. That will save you time as well.

Some CSPs offer technology assessments and IT service portfolio reviews. It’s worth the money to have someone knowledgeable, yet objective, evaluate your IT practices, processes, infrastructure and more to help you determine what’s working, what could be better, and what it will take to help your organization achieve greater value from your IT resources.

Also important is to partner with a CSP that can customize its cloud offerings. Some off-the-shelf cloud products work just fine for some companies. But most organizations have very complex needs, and complicated, disparate infrastructure. One-size-fits-all solutions seldom fit. A CSP that is agile in how it builds it solutions to fit your needs will better serve you. 

It’s an Agile World

The IT industry is continuously changing, particularly in terms of cloud technologies. Staying on top of the changes —and leveraging them—requires the ability to move quickly, to be nimble yet adaptable, and to be resourceful. It requires agility. If you don’t have it, find a trusted CSP that can help you achieve it.