The Seven ‘Deadly Sins’ in a Multicloud Estate

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When asked to name the seven deadly sins, most people can only recount three or four of them. I usually forget wrath and sloth, but if you want the full list, you’ll have to overcome your sloth and read the entirety of the article. When it comes to multi-cloud implementations, there can be many “sins.” Thankfully, most are just wounds that leave scars; they are not deadly, and enterprises usually find some silver linings as they build out their cloud estates.

Here are the seven deadly sins that can occur in multicloud implementations. This is by no means an exhaustive list of things that can go wrong on your cloud journey. I am sure you could easily add your own sins to this list.

Insufficient multicloud strategy: The root of many organizations’ issues can be tied to the lack of a clear strategy. Many firms claim to be “cloud first,” but what does this mean? Leveraging technology in business today is no longer an option. In fact, in most cases, technology is the business. Public cloud and private cloud implementations will determine winners and losers in the years ahead. A sound cloud strategy must be declared by the CEO and executed by the entire c-suite. The strategy also must be supported by disciplined governance and careful, ongoing management.

Inadequate security plan: All firms must have a robust security plan that supports their multicloud estate. The rapid growth of public, private and hybrid clouds in an enterprise environment increases the attack surface for cyber criminals. Plans must address cyber, testing, monitoring and disaster recovery. Best practices like the “zero trust” framework should be implemented to protect the business.

Lack of financial accountability: Cloud implementations and cloud services contracts are often executed with poor linkage or oversight from a financial perspective. “Cloud creep” and excessive storage/network costs can result from poor planning or communication across the enterprise. Financial accountability can be implemented using cloud financial operations – more commonly known as FinOps – practices. It is the practice of bringing financial accountability to the variable spend model of cloud, enabling distributed teams to make business trade-offs between speed, cost and quality.

Failure to build a healthy ecosystem: Multicloud implementations are complex and complicated, and the rate of technological change continues at a rapid pace. Hyperscale cloud providers, IaaS, PaaS and SaaS can all make for a tangled web of connections and deliverables. Firms often choose to perform their cloud journeys by using in-house resources versus system integrators, service providers and advisory firms. But using external firms for industry expertise, speed and scale is critical in a multicloud world.

Weak approach to data: The benefits of technology depend largely on data. The ability to effectively store, retrieve, analyze and curate data to gain insights and make decisions is what drives successful companies. Multicloud estates must have a clearly defined data strategy to drive efficiency, lower costs and rapid innovation. Lacking a clear data strategy and management system is a major sin that will increase the odds of dysfunction in a multicloud model.

Cultural sluggishness: Companies that implement cloud strategies do not buy multicloud estates; they become multicloud estates. Multicloud implementations take years to complete and undergo continual change. To drive success, the employee culture must know how to innovate by leveraging cloud capabilities. Implementing organizational change management (OCM) and strong governance will greatly impact the efficacy – and return on investment – of a multicloud environment.

Taking your eyes off the prize: All cloud strategies that aim to ensure a superior customer experience require a maniacal focus on driving innovation and value. Cloud success metrics must include client-based KPIs that demonstrate high client satisfaction.

Though these seven deadly sins are common, they are avoidable. And, in most cases, they can be fixed. However, the penance for your transgressions may come in the form of unhappy customers, negative financial impact and – even worse – loss of market share.

For those who made it all the way to the end, a small reward: the real seven deadly sins include lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride.

The 2021 ISG Provider Lens™ Public Cloud – Services & Solutions Report sees a new focus from companies on tracking cloud spending and increasing efficiency while using multiple cloud services. The 2021 ISG Provider Lens™ report on Multicloud FinOps Platforms explores the growth in the FinOps market. Read more about our research on the cloud market in this recent ISG press release.

ISG helps companies build, coordinate, manage, govern and improve their multicloud estates. Contact us to find out how we can help.

About the author

Bernie Hoecker joined ISG in September 2021. His role is to leverage ISG’s core competencies to expand and grow ISG’s presence in the cloud market. His focus will be to implement a cohesive cloud strategy across the ISG firm that results in incremental revenue and EBITDA growth. This also includes fostering strong relationships with service providers, hyper-scalers, and additional firms in the cloud ecosystem.

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