Businesses across the spectrum have, at the very least, been eyeing a multi-cloud strategy. But the path to multi-cloud is not an easy task. Mature industries have years of investments in technologies alongside complex requirements. Think of government, healthcare or retail environments, whose organizations are a web of advanced needs and require flexibility, global access, and security.
Other businesses that have made the shift tread the waters with caution. They are in the game of careful investing but, in the throes of tinkering and integrating cloud solutions, organizations have found that they’re burning through a lot of budget and time to find and implement the best fits for their organization.
Research shows that 79% of organizations are struggling to see the benefits of multi-cloud. The reasons are rampant across the enterprise, according to the research from IDG, which include “increased complexity, increased cost of training/hiring, and increased cost due to cloud management and security challenges. They also state challenges when it comes to the ability to take full advantage of their public cloud resources. On average, they identify four challenges, with the top being controlling cloud costs (40%), data privacy and security challenges (38%), securing/protecting cloud resources (31%), governance/compliance (30%), and lack of cloud security skills/expertise (30%).”
Why are businesses transitioning to multi-cloud and what should they consider in their path to this strategy? Any healthy IT strategy will consider the following.
A Respite for Redundancy
Vendor lock-in is no longer an issue with a multi-cloud approach. An open architecture reduces risks on many levels and provides organizations with the ability to choose where and how they want to deploy it.
But the plethora of tools out there can seem never-ending. In my background of managing products, I’m fully aware of watching and interacting with tools that tend to evolve, and eventually work their way into the other competitive spaces. My team can be using tools for task management, development work, and more. Where one tool may excel in one area, another tool may also offer similar services but will excel in another completely different area.
Let’s take Lucidchart as an example. LucidChart started as a process mapping tool that was competitive to Visio. Lucidchart quickly began to evolve its strategy around process mapping and recently launched LucidSpark. The key difference between the two offerings is that LucidSpark helps you work on the fly with others with its virtual whiteboard capabilities built with collaboration. LucidSpark recently took a step with multi-cloud and now offers plugins that enable your teams to plan and collaborate on designs, but now also can give you the capability to create work items in Jira. Jira is just one plugin that is supported with LucidSpark.
As we unfolded the story of LucidChart and how they began and where they are now, they have evolved into a company that is now competing with Asana, Trello, and Google (Jamboard). Most companies that enter the multi-cloud space will end up pivoting from their original strategy and eventually enter new markets.
Better Business Processes
If we think about budget and where to allocate budget across tools, businesses should consider ones that could serve multiple purposes. For example, we use Spekit, which is a software tool that can be used for employee onboarding and training, sales enablement, and helps with Salesforce training and adoption. Spekit has several integrations and can be embedded into many web-based applications, which provides savings for us since it can be surfaced into multiple apps for training purposes. Instead of buying a separate training tool per application, we have been able to consolidate our toolset into one.
The market has been so crowded with solutions, which is a good and a bad thing. This influx means that some tools and systems don’t know how to integrate and talk to the tools we already love and use on a daily basis. This can reduce some of the silos we see on the business side. Not only are there business benefits, but definitely revenue savings by consolidating tools.
A Response to the Shifting Skills in the Labor Market
It can be difficult to find success in a multi-cloud environment because organizations need to bring in specific product knowledge for each type of cloud. Many enterprises are vying for hiring domain experts in-house with the goal of these experts supporting their multi-cloud strategy.
From a product and engineering perspective, this can be time-consuming, costly, and also seen as a huge risk if it is a new market that you are trying to enter.
Domain knowledge is critical, and filling this gap opens a lot of opportunities for services firms. One strategy is to partner up with smart and strategic services firms that can fill this gap in the throes of finding the right talent. Another strategy is to partner with an ISV or technology partner to co-develop or collaborate with you on the development for a domain. Working with the channel provides so many benefits from a cost, risk, and GTM perspective. Honing in on the right strategy that works for your company is critical as you invest in a multi-cloud environment.