By Dan Lawyer, Chief Product Officer at Lucid
According to research fromFlexera, the average enterprise uses 2.6 public clouds and 2.7 private clouds. The average organisation deploys 110 different cloud applications in 2021, compared to 80 in 2020. Meanwhile, as companies accelerate their digital transformation initiatives,62% of IT decision makers state complexity and abundance of choice are actually hindering their transformation efforts.
While this is a problem in itself, it can get even more complicated for IT teams when they try and communicate any changes to a non-technical audience, which can include powerful decision makers, C-suite members or department heads. If confusion occurs between teams and departments in a business it can slow up business processes, which costs money and credibility with clients, as well as potentially exposing the company to harm if people unknowingly expose some of the cloud infrastructure to the wider internet.
Why is it so important to get the basics right?
Getting the foundations in place is a huge factor that can often be overlooked by IT decision makers. This includes such basics as knowing what they have within their cloud environment, as well as how the hundreds of different applications interact with each other. It can be hard to do if the business is using multiple different cloud suppliers, needing to go through the individual cloud management portals for the likes of AWS, Microsoft Azure or any other platform being deployed. Nevertheless, this remains the method being used by many companies, and while it will give an inventory of a cloud infrastructure, it relies on IT teams to constantly update spreadsheets, which in turn can lead to duplication of tools being deployed, or areas of the cloud infrastructure becoming invisible to the IT team, making the business susceptible to compliance and security issues.
How can enterprises develop resources that are suitable to their needs?
When it comes to managing cloud infrastructure, it is enormously helpful to have tools that can visualise it in diagram form, and will update in real time as new applications are added. Visualisation tools connect all cloud providers and automatically pull the inventory of assets across them, organising the information in a visual way. This in turn gives IT teams a much fuller picture of their infrastructure, similar to a building manager having a full blueprint of a building rather than just a list of rooms and what they are used for.
These tools also offer more flexibility to IT teams, allowing them to see the overall picture, but also zoom in on particular sections of infrastructure, such as a region or type of resource, and see what resources are owned by a particular team. By organising this information in a visual form it also makes it much easier for non-technical stakeholders to understand, and become aware of dependencies and potential problem areas, which lessens the workload on the IT team.
What do you need to be on the lookout for?
Some of the biggest issues with cloud migration relate back to how technical leaders get buy-in from the various departments around the organisation. If leaders are excited and understand the process, there is a greater chance of the whole cloud management process going well. However, if the changes are not communicated properly, teams can become distrustful and frustrated with new tools. This has a knock-on effect of reducing visibility for IT teams as workers rely on their own tools, which can create issues in the future.
To avoid this, it is vital that CIOs communicate as much as possible with teams about what the changes are, and how it affects them. Again, visuals can be hugely impactful here, allowing CIOs to easily show complex changes, demonstrating where firewalls are, which servers should be monitored and much more. They can also improve alignment between teams, allowing them to see the big picture quickly, while not missing out the small details that individual people or teams need to know.
While the management might be optimised, the overall work of digitalisation is never truly going to be complete. Constantly assessing which parts of the technology stack need updating is crucial if businesses want to stay ahead of the competition. By visualising applications, it becomes much easier for CIOs to see which applications are falling out of use or need upgrades, and can then look to see if there are better alternatives available. Likewise, if the application has not been updated for a while, this might pose a compliance or security risk to the wider network which can also be flagged.
Cloud management is a full-time job, but with visualisation it becomes much more straightforward for everyone in the business to understand, which can help in ensuring cloud continues to be a useful tool for the company.