Across every industry, executives are adapting their IT to embrace constant change. The current blend of unexpected events, growing remote workforces and increasingly sophisticated technology is forcing all businesses to look ahead and carefully chart their way forward.
This urgency is amplified by reports that the coming years will be dominated by those that digitize the end-user experience, and scale data and analytics. More and more, transforming into the new is not a case of “if” but “when.”
We’ve already covered some serious ground with our series on the IaaS partner journey. While Optimize and Secure are undoubtedly vital steps for any partner on the cloud transformation path, step three—Transform—is where we enter into game-changing territory. It’s at this moment where partners move beyond the foundation and begin to advise on architectures that set both partners and customers up for unlimited scaling potential in cloud.
The ultimate goal is about building added value with services. Although immediate benefits can be realized at the very early stages of cloud adoption, itsfull potential will always be limited when legacy systems exist in parts of the IT infrastructure. Transform is an ethos that encourages partners to build cloud solutions in their fullest form and proactively identify and address database opportunities so customers can extract the most value from their cloud services. Let’s dive in.
Database management is king
As partners delve deeper into their cloud transformation journey, the importance of a well-managed database cannot be understated. This is because the benefits of cloud infrastructure will always be limited when innovative technologies are applied to networks that contain on-premises data, legacy infrastructure or disparate systems.
To put this in perspective, let’s look at the rapid shifts across retail during the pandemic, which left both e-commerce sellers and physical retailers trying to keep pace with changing demand and disruptions to the supply chain. Any B2B company in the industry faced a sink-or-swim moment, and those with legacy systems and manual IT infrastructure lacked the data at their fingertips to make agile, strategic decisions.
Cloud adoption is an ongoing process, particularly for already established businesses with existing IT and digital networks. Therefore, it’s up to partners to identify any gaps that exist in the infrastructure and advise their customers on pure cloud solutions that will serve them with business stability in the long term.
There can be many reasons legacy systems remain in an infrastructure. Data may be stored on-premises because it's highly sensitive and has been deemed unsuitable for cloud storage. Or, it could be built using a legacy framework that isn’t simple to migrate. Partners should liaise with customers closely to ensure that these reasons can be fully understood to guide them toward a relevant solution framework.
In short, business resilience is hard to achieve with disparate legacy systems and data silos. Therefore, it’s up to partners to champion forward-facing cloud strategies across the channel to prepare for the next make-or-break moment of disruption.
Building an agile infrastructure
Partners at this stage of the cloud transformation journey must be ready and raring to break down any data silos, enable data to move as freely as possible within the security considerations of the framework, and ideally achieve a scenario where customers have a data lake of insights to draw from.
When gaps and legacy systems have been identified, partners can then utilize new technologies to address the specific challenge. For example, virtual machines can allow an area of the network to live on the cloud and yet maintain independent structure code. Further, containerization technologies are also increasingly popular due to their lightweight frameworks that support agility within the cloud and a reduction in overall storage costs.
Serverless apps and microservices are also trailblazing technologies that provide significant value in helping to plug in all areas of the data network, tailor specific use cases, and support free data movement. At the same time, platform as a service (PaaS) continues to show huge potential for those ready to take a pure approach to cloud adoption by offering a complete development and deployment environment.
These technologies not only help build robust, agile infrastructure, but also give partners the ability to rapidly develop and launch new applications if and when the need arises. The increased efficiency is possible thanks to their ability to connect to the overall cloud network yet still function independently. In this way, developers can use containerization, serverless apps and microservices to focus on specific use-cases, test quickly and deploy without disrupting other workflows on the system.
Stepping up as a strategic partner
This is crunch time for businesses all over the world. Companies are looking to extract greater value from their data to build more engaging customer experiences and, as cloud solutions only grow, partners have the unique opportunity to deliver such digital transformation. In response, partners must evaluate their position and strive to become strategic advisors for their customers.
This means offering customer access to an ever-expanding range of transformative tools and services that allow partners to build agile, connected and high-performing architecture. In this way, customers can apply innovative technologies such as AI and ML to harness the full power of their data, and partners can continue to increase profit margins and improve the quality of service by helping to deliver hybrid and multi-cloud solutions.
The result is, for lack of a better word, transformative—with the flexibility to work across platforms and vendors, the support to carry out a multi-cloud philosophy, and solutions and services tailor-made for any business.
At this point of the IaaS partner journey and their shift to PaaS, partners are strongly encouraged to access the latest technology and services from leading cloud providers while retaining control over their cloud strategy. For those who are ready to successfully achieve this, you’re invited to join me for part four: Innovate.