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Business Continuity Series: How a Cloud-Smart Strategy Provides Agility to Thrive in Times of Crisis

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Cloud consumption has spiked as large swaths of employees are forced to work remotely. Multicloud architectures provide the flexibility organizations need to be more agile and maintain business continuity during times of crisis. A WWT Senior Multicloud Consultant talks about the important distinction between cloud first and cloud smart, and how companies can develop long-term multicloud strategies to thrive when the next business disruption occurs.

Read transcript below:

Brian Feldt:

Hi there. Brian Feldt from World Wide Technology here and I'm pleased today to be joined by Arnel Sinchongco, senior consultant on WWTs multi-cloud team. Today, we'll be talking about the role multi-cloud architectures are playing in maintaining business continuity as the global workforce continues to adapt to the fluidity of the COVID-19 pandemic and how a cloud smart strategy can provide organizations the agility and flexibility to thrive in times of crisis in the future. Arnel has worked in the technology field for the better part of the last 25 years in a variety of roles involving application development, infrastructure database and now multi-cloud.

Brian Feldt:

Before we dive too deep in with Arnel, just a reminder to all of those viewing that any of the resources we talk about today are is on our wwt.com platform along with a host of other resources relating to business continuity. Arnel, good to have you here.

Arnel Sinchongco:

Thanks Brian. I'm glad to be here.

Brian Feldt:

So Arnel, I've heard you say a number of times cloud smart strategy. I've heard a lot about cloud first strategy, but cloud smart strategy seems to be a rather new term, so walk us through what that means.

Arnel Sinchongco:

In the early days of public cloud, organizations began to adopt a cloud first strategy, which meant that the public cloud would be the default platform for deploying all of their services. Although over time they started to realize that not all of their applications and workloads were meant for the cloud. Instead, organizations started to fully assess their workload requirements to either retain them on prem, re-host them to other platforms or architect hybrid solutions if full migration to the cloud wasn't optimal. The smart way to provide the best of breed solutions was to be cloud smart, not cloud first.

Brian Feldt:

So the disruption that we're all experiencing right now as it relates to COVID-19 is increasing the amount of cloud that we're consuming. And the key lesson that a lot of organizations are learning right now is they need that flexibility to scale up or down with demand. Why is that agility so important and how does multi-cloud specifically help deliver that flexibility?

Arnel Sinchongco:

Great question, Brian. Traditionally, when enterprises needed to increase capacity, they had to make capital purchases for equipment and buy enough to accommodate for peak utilization. That procurement and provisioning process alone could take weeks or even months to complete. When utilization was low, it resulted in wasted resources just sitting in their data centers. By adopting a multi-cloud approach, businesses can empower themselves to be flexible to changing demands. To clarify, World Wide Technology defines multi-cloud as any combination of on-prem, colo and public cloud platforms.

Arnel Sinchongco:

Note that a multi-cloud approach is really driven by business objectives and operational transformation than just technical considerations. So when it's done properly, the combination of improved governance and processes and the resource flexibility and automation that multi-cloud offers, it allows for rapid response and pivoting when needed.

Brian Feldt:

So you talk about the agility and that flexibility and the response time, but I imagine there are plenty of other benefits to the multi-cloud smart strategy.

Arnel Sinchongco:

Absolutely. Public cloud providers built their data centers across the globe, which gives you that geographical dispersity that provides physical redundancy to meet business continuity and disaster recovery needs. You can also deploy services closer to users wherever they are to provide optimum performance and user experiences. Another way cloud helps is cloud services also have built-in and enhance reliability and durability. Their offerings include technology such as clustering, containers and other native services that provide SLAs exceeding 99% up the time.

Arnel Sinchongco:

Another benefit is the hardened and pervasive security offered in the cloud today. Public cloud providers can now provide support for regulations like HIPAA, GDPR, Sarbanes, Oxley and others. Another adjacent benefit to the flexibility that we've discussed is the automation and DevOps capabilities to optimize the internal deployments and go to market speed. The software defined nature of cloud really allows for rapid deployment of services in response to events. And lastly, organizations can experience improved cost management and control as you only pay for what you need in the cloud because of the flexibility that it offers.

Brian Feldt:

So those are all great and I'm sure organizations would love to tap into all those benefits right away. But when it comes to multi-cloud implementation, it's not exactly a rapid fire strategy here, can take years to get to the desired state, I guess, so the question is what can companies or organizations do right now to start delivering those incremental wins, but while also keeping an eye on the future and make sure they're on the right path?

Arnel Sinchongco:

Great question, Brian. It's very common for a lot of organizations out there. But while not ideal, organizations can make progress toward becoming a mature multi-cloud enterprise. Note that this journey is an iterative process where you can make improvements over time while reducing risks and roadblocks in the future. Businesses can achieve incremental wins by deploying tactically, but with considerations of the overall strategy in mind to prevent rework in the future. In parallel, organizations should prepare themselves for the transformation realized as a result of adopting a multi-cloud strategy by identifying their people process and technology gaps and creating a roadmap to fill those gaps.

Arnel Sinchongco:

Again, a multicloud strategy is really a holistic transformation that could take multiple years and iterations. It truly is a journey.

Brian Feldt:

Are these strategies specific and unique on a customer by customer basis or is there a broad set of definitions that they all kind of rely on?

Arnel Sinchongco:

Well, there are some baseline frameworks and patterns that are common across all entities, but the strategy should be unique for each organization. The goals and business plans, the organizational structure, business culture, and their capabilities differ for each organization. So the strategy should explicitly reflect the needs of the business.

Brian Feldt:

So if they need to be unique and accomplishing those specific business outcomes, what types of resources might we have available to organizations to really leverage and tap into?

Arnel Sinchongco:

Well, World Wide has a deep technical expertise and the wide breadth of partnerships with major OEMs and independent software vendors or ISVs. But we also have a consulting arm that allows us to deliver the continuity from vision and strategy through delivery and even ongoing optimization of processes and infrastructure. Our resources include the WWT digital platform that includes use cases, articles, videos, and white papers and also our services include briefings and workshops to full consultation and delivery engagements to provide the end to end services that most organizations are looking for.

Brian Feldt:

So Arnel, what does the long-terms landscape look like here? Clearly, some organizations were better positioned than others to operate in these types of environments. How do we see cloud strategy evolving over the next few years or even longer?

Arnel Sinchongco:

Yeah. Actually, recent trends show that many organizations were already leaning toward multi-cloud architectures to increase their efficiencies and time to market. I believe the move to multi-cloud strategies and architectures will actually expand and accelerate even more to better prepare businesses for crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses actually are now focusing on business objectives and user experiences and are realizing to achieve that it involves a cloud strategy of some sort. Today, quite frankly, cloud is an inherent part of modern enterprise it.

Brian Feldt:

Well, Arnel, I appreciate the time today. Those were the only questions I have for you. I know you have a very busy schedule and thanks to the viewers for taking an interest in the topic. Would encourage you also to check out the other resources we have on the wwt.com platform as it relates to business continuity. You can get there by doing a simple search for business continuity in the search bar. Arnel, thanks again for the time today and we'll talk to you soon.

Arnel Sinchongco:

Thank you, Brian. It's been a pleasure speaking with him.

 

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