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​Why you need to constantly validate your cloud strategy

​Why you need to constantly validate your cloud strategy

Stuart Speers of Enterprise IT shares lessons learned on managing digital strategy disruptors.


To be successful you must plan the journey, and at a minimum, you must understand your own data - Stuart Speers, Enterprise IT (Photo by Jason Creaghan)
To be successful you must plan the journey, and at a minimum, you must understand your own data - Stuart Speers, Enterprise IT (Photo by Jason Creaghan)


Enterprise IT’s CEO, Stuart Speers offered to do a billing review for an organisation that is a large user of spot pricing with a public cloud provider.

Speers was told that the organisation did not need help as four years earlier, the previous CIO had created a ‘cloud first strategy’ which provided significant value. But this strategy, he notes, did not include operational management and cost control.

He asked the organisation: “If we can save you 10 per cent per annum, would you consider changing your billing model?”

Enterprise IT found $80,000 per annum savings for the company in less than a week.

The lesson from this? “No matter where you are in the cloud or as a service journey, it is evolving in such a rate you need to be validating your strategy,” says Speers. “Is it delivering your requirements or has it actually become heritage already?”

Speers talked about ‘cloud strategy considerations’’, based on his work with organisations in both the public and private sectors at the 2016 CIO100 event in Auckland.

We need to understand our cost in detail to support change and more importantly, measure the actual value they are returning.

Stuart Speers, Enterprise IT

He says the goal for organisations in the digital era is this: “Design it right, do it once, automate and continuously revalidate.”

“In the past 25 years I have not seen a level of disruption that is going on, and it is only just the beginning of a journey for us,” he says.

The importance of having a business led digital strategy is critical in this disruptive era and CIOs and their teams have a unique opportunity to lead with digital strategy, he says.

Read more: CIO Upfront: The terror of the 'Frankencloud'

“To be successful you must plan the journey, and at a minimum, you must understand your own data – and what restrictions exists,” he says.


He says some of the questions the organisation should answer are:

•What business challenges are you trying to solve or improve?

•What enablement will cloud provide for the business?

Read more: The 2016 CIO100 report: Full speed ahead

•What is your app vendor doing? Is SaaS an option?

•How will you manage operations and contain cost going forward?

Software-as-a-service has significant potential value but only if there is a strategy for integration and what this means for your business, he says.


‘Identify your server huggers’

Read more: Digital champions
Courtesy of Enterprise IT
Courtesy of Enterprise IT

Organisations have what Speers describes as “server huggers”.

“They are the digital strategy disruptors,” he says. “You must identify these people in your organisation or even worse, your vendors.


“These individuals are disruptive because instead of aiding change, they constantly try and derail your strategy by creating fear, uncertainty and doubt.”

Read more: ​Prepare to be disrupted - and to fight back

However, these server huggers can be the trusted architects in your business; subject matters experts who own your current design and delivery and project with passion, he says.

Some of the comments he has heard from this group include:

“We have just refreshed some hardware so it does not make sense right now for us to consider cloud” or “we will look at it in another two or three years.”

Speers says he can guarantee within 18 months, they will run out of SAN storage.

“I am told giving your data to the cloud is cheap but you get whacked when you retrieve it. Security is too big a risk for us,” he says. “This is also a reference to data sovereignty where the fear is anyone can get access to the data.”

Security is being used as a scapegoat, Speers says. He asks, who has the most certifications, the security specialists in a public cloud provider, or the three person internal security team?

“Through all these, I did not hear a single thing about why your business IT strategy supports or does not support cloud.”

For mundane tasks, it does not make sense to own them anymore, he says.

Leave the majority of traditional IT operations to specialists, he says. “Why pay your team to design, build and support commodity type services? You are just paying for the same expensive lesson every other customer has already paid for.”

He concludes: “We need to understand our cost in detail to support change and more importantly, measure the actual value they are returning.”


'Design it right, do it once, automate and continuously revalidate' - Stuart Speers, CEO and founder, Enterprise IT (Photo by Jason Creaghan)
'Design it right, do it once, automate and continuously revalidate' - Stuart Speers, CEO and founder, Enterprise IT (Photo by Jason Creaghan)

Send news tips and comments to divina_paredes@idg.co.nz

Follow Divina Paredes on Twitter: @divinap

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