By Bronte H. Lacsamana
Given the tremendous growth of the cloud computing market over the past year, driven by lower costs, data security awareness, and emerging technologies, enterprises in the Philippines need to try harder to improve their hybrid, multi-cloud approach, according to IBM Philippines President and Country General Manager Aileen Judan-Jiao.
“The pandemic has highlighted the importance of adaptability. Organizations must now be able to adapt their operations and customer offerings at an unprecedented pace – but all too often, legacy systems, processes, and methodologies hamper them,” she told BusinessWorld.
In the Philippines, enterprises plan on spending half of their cloud budget on hybrid over the next three years, based on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform advantage survey in 2020. Findings also showed the value derived from hybrid, multi-cloud platform technology is 2.5 times the value derived from a single platform or cloud.
The executives surveyed for the study showed awareness of how much business performance can improve from a hybrid multi-cloud approach, said Ms. Judan-Jiao.
“We’ll see more businesses leveraging a secure, interoperable, open, and free from vendor lock-in hybrid multi-cloud platform technology that embeds AI (artifical intelligence) to achieve successful business transformation,” she added.
The four main challenges that come with adoption of this technology are skills, processes, adjusting to client experience, and scalability.
For IBM, the agility of cloud environments comes with a flipside — the need for a lot of automation in a hyper-fast and mega-large scale.
“This means, from managing monolithic architectures to microservices by the hundreds. It requires different skills and a different mindset of management,” said Ms. Judan-Jiao.
To avoid failing due to this challenge, her suggestion to mitigate this is to prioritize workloads that need to be moved to different cloud environments based on the skills currently available.
The processes that support these environments, when overlooked, become a challenge, she also warned.
“The service delivery management fundamentally changes, including those that deal with stakeholders and users who are now more empowered and on self-help mode,” she said.
This means not any multi-cloud approach will do, as organizations have to ascertain how the development of enhanced cloud capabilities aligns with the transformation of processes and the wider operating model.
Ms. Judan-Jiao stressed: “They should determine the cloud environment that makes sense based on external and internal business processes.”
3. CLIENT EXPERIENCE
On the client experience, IBM’s advice delved into barriers like hard and soft infrastructure and technology limitation, especially during the pandemic where enterprises have fully remote working models.
“As we shift to the ‘anywhere workplace’ model, the IT (information technology) teams need the flexibility to adjust the deployment of their apps where it runs best yet build once,” she explained.
Finally, with limited resources and funding capacity, questions are raised on how to scale across deployment locations, whether it’s the shift to online transactions and managing unpredictable increases in volume, or maintaining both online and physical channels.
Ms. Judan-Jiao emphasized the security of the channels involved: “Businesses should combine the power of hybrid with the flexibility of open standards. In addition, they must also focus on security mechanisms that protect them from existing and emerging threats while helping them gear up for data explosion and regulatory compliance.”
Open-source and security are key pillars to bring an effective hybrid cloud strategy to life, she added.
ROADMAP TO SUCCESS
According to the same IBM survey on the advantages of hybrid cloud platforms, Philippine organizations expect to be using an average of six clouds by 2023, but only 28% of businesses have a holistic multi-cloud management strategy in place.
The reality is that executives are investing already, to which Ms. Judan-Jiao advised: “As [an] organization begins their hybrid cloud journey, it is important to choose the right platform for the hybrid cloud design where it can be built once and deployed anywhere. Software intelligence in the tools is needed to enable dynamic delivery.”
A simple way for hybrid cloud adoption to be failsafe is to follow five steps, she explained — strategize using business objectives as a point of departure, design infrastructure to be competitive on desired processes, move workloads based on risks and skills availability, build cloud-native applications to modernize the portfolio, and manage costs by improving server use and identifying unused storage.
“Hybrid cloud is the enabler for business transformation and growth to create enterprises of the future beyond the COVID times,” Ms. Judan-Jiao said. “The success or failure of cloud deployments are not technology stories — they’re business transformation stories.”