Siva S Founder & CEO – Powerupcloud Technologies
The Covid-19 virus pandemic has changed a lot of things forever or at least that should be our best assumption now. As Sequoia quotes, this is the Black Swan of 2020 which may very well extend into most of 2021. While some are still trying to understand the impact this will have on the global economy, we need to make up our minds and accept that this is here to stay for a longer period. I find a lot of merit in the endgame possibilities of the Covid-19 virus highlighted in an article by The Atlantic. Of the 3 possible endgame scenarios, the best option sounds like this – “the world plays a protracted game of whack-a-mole with the virus, stamping out outbreaks here and there until a vaccine can be produced.”
As the CEO of Powerupcloud – a global leader in cloud consulting space and the global cloud practice head of LTI – one of the largest technology solutions and services providers in the world, I interact with several CIOs, Business Leaders, and Technologists on a daily basis and I am privy to the thought process and technology decisions being made by these global enterprise businesses in this period of volatility.
Having strategic conversations with more than 50 top CEOs, CIOs, Business Leaders of Fortune500 companies and public cloud OEMs, I am convinced that at no other point in time has there ever been such a need for the instant availability of technology than now. And the public cloud has emerged as the biggest enabler during these uncertain times. If you are an organization that is still considering the move to the cloud, stop procrastinating and start your cloud adoption process immediately. With the fast-changing economic scenario, you need to act fast and act now.
The 11-Point Cloud Plan for Covid-19 Pandemic Economy
These discussions with CIOs and Cloud Leaders have helped me to build the 11-Point Cloud Plan on how enterprises should prioritize and execute their cloud adoption & optimization plan over the next 3 months (ultra short term) and the next 12 months (short term). This is not the time for drafting a 3-year or a 5-year plan as we are not sure of the outcome even after the next 12 months. And if you are in the middle of executing such plans, please stop and revisit your priorities immediately.
The 11-Point Cloud Plan has 3 purpose tracks.
A. Business Continuity Planning
B. Cost Savings on Cloud
C. Short Term Cloud Initiatives
A. BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLANNING
With more and more enterprises moving to a remote working model where employees connect from home, I see that a good amount these businesses are grappling with a viable business continuity design which will allow them to continue their operations. Remember, keeping your business moving is the best outcome the world economy needs today.
There are 5 key areas which the organizations are adopting on the cloud to support their business continuity. I have prioritized them based on the feedback we received from the market.
- Virtual Contact Center on Cloud – Employees doing ‘work from home’ are struggling with their traditional contact center software which doesn’t allow them to answer customer support calls effectively. Cloud-based Amazon Connect allows you to bring up a virtual contact center in just 45 minutes and with an additional 8 hours effort, you can also automate the customer care responses by integrating Amazon AI services like Amazon Lex & Amazon Polly.
- Virtual Desktops on Cloud – Another major request coming in from companies with remote employees is the virtual desktop solution. Both Microsoft Azure’s Windows Virtual Desktop and Amazon Workspaces are sought after technology offerings on the cloud which solves this problem. You can launch these virtual desktop solutions using automated templates for 1000s of employees in matter of hours.
- Support Chatbots on Cloud – Be it customer support or internal employee support, there is no better time to be proactive in responding to their queries. Chatbots enables an organization to route at least 50% of the customer queries away from customer support agents. Cloud technologies like Google Cloud’s DialogFlow, Amazon Lex, Amazon Polly, Microsoft Bot Framework, Azure QnA Maker, Microsoft Luis helps in designing your chatbots. Powerup’s Botzer platform also helps you in integrating with the above-mentioned cloud APIs and launch & manage your chatbots in a day.
- Risk Modeling on Cloud – Several organizations in industries like Insurance, Stock Trading, Banking, Pharma, Life Sciences, Retail, FMCG are running their risk modeling algorithms on an almost daily basis to reassess their risk in the current market scenario. This requires additional compute power (Amazon EMR, Azure HDInsight, Google Dataproc and machine learning platforms (Google Cloud AutoML, Amazon Sagemaker, AzureML) on the cloud.
- Governance & Security on Cloud – For organizations with a lot of applications on cloud, governance, and security becomes a tricky part to handle given that most of their employees are connecting from home. Cloud Governance Products like Powerup’s CloudEnsure.io helps organizations to enforce a zero-trust security model across their multi-cloud environments and ensures that the security vulnerabilities are addressed in real-time.
B. COST SAVINGS ON CLOUD
6. Cost Optimization on Cloud – We will witness a spending crunch by a lot of organizations across industries and IT departments in these organizations will come under severe pressure to reduce their cloud costs. From our experience in helping a lot of organizations reduce their cloud spend, I have identified 6 key methods using which you can save cloud costs.
- Downsize your cloud resources and plan your cloud inventory to the bare minimum that is required to run your business.
- Shutdown unused cloud resources and free up storage & network. This might require you to revisit your new initiatives and data retention policies.
- Adopt reserved instances pricing model for a 1-year or 3-year period which will allow you to save up to 60% on your compute spend.
- Explore spot instances for at least 50% of your cloud workloads which will help you reduce your cloud spend by 80% for the workloads where spot instances are enabled.
- Explore containerization for a minimum 1/3rd of your large applications on the cloud which will help you save up to 75% on your compute spend.
- Schedule your non-production instances/servers to start and stop on a daily basis which can help you save almost 50% of your server compute bills.
- Intelligent tiering of objects stored on Amazon S3 or Azure Blob to lower storage tiers will help you save a lot of storage costs. Amazon S3 Intelligent Tiering and Azure’s Archival/Cold storage options can be leveraged to save costs.
- Explore the possibilities of moving some of the workloads to other cloud platforms where variable pricing is possible. This can also help you save costs. For eg: some companies leverage flexible hardware configuration options of Google Cloud.
- Migrate your applications and databases from enterprise licensed platforms to open-source platforms. Eg: migrating from Redhat Linux to Amazon Linux or from Oracle database to PostgreSQL.
- Finally, it comes to the good old Excel sheets. The old school way of analyzing cloud usage and billing data by experienced cloud architects cannot be matched by cloud cost analytics tools. Roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty if it comes to that.
Powerup’s CloudEnsure.io has tailored modules that help organizations track their cloud spend by departments, applications, users, etc and help them with a detailed (resource level) cost optimization plan for their cloud environment.
C. SHORT TERM CLOUD INITIATIVES
Now that the long-term initiatives by organizations will go under the scanner and potentially recalibrated to suit the larger financial goal of the organization, there are still a lot of things that the organizations can do in the short-term to help them prepare themselves for the next 12-18 months. These ‘Short Term Initiatives’ are designed to help you make measured but important progress in your cloud adoption journey and will fit very well into your long-term plan when the situation gets better.
I have listed 5 key short-term initiatives that are being adopted by several medium and large enterprises across industries globally.
7. Data Lake on Cloud – It is during these times, several organizations realize that they don’t have enough hold on their data to make some critical business decisions. They see that their data is spread across various applications, in various formats and in various database technologies which restricts them from correlating the data and gain valuable insights. A centralized Data Lake on the cloud solves this problem. You can launch a full-fledged Data Lake that can be built in less than 60 days using cloud-native data lake technologies (Amazon Redshift, Azure DataLake) or some leading 3rd party data platforms like Snowflake or Databricks. It is the best time to start building your organization’s central data lake on the cloud if you don’t have one.
8. Fast-Track Application Development on Cloud – These uncertain times requires organizations to try new business models and introduce new processes to handle their business. I see large banks building specialized apps for payment holidays on buy-to-let mortgages in record time. And I am sure you might have similar requirements for building specialized workflow-based apps. Cloud is the best place to build these apps in a very short period of time and if you use serverless functions like Amazon Lambda, Microsoft Functions, it will help in less overhead in managing the availability of these apps. Please remember, managerial bandwidth is super key in the coming days and you should plan to free up your employees’ time for high priority tasks.
9. Outsource Cloud Managed Services – Cloud support or managed services is a human capital intensive division of IT departments and it is the right time to outsource the managed services scope to cloud partners like Powerup who can deliver the cloud support in a shared capacity model. This would greatly reduce your human capital overhead cost in managing your cloud environment.
10. Move Critical Applications to Cloud – Large scale enterprise data center migrations will help you to move to an OPEX model and reduces the stress on the cash flow which is highly recommended given the volatile economic outlook for the next 2 years. But the best way to begin this is by looking at your business-critical applications and migrate them to the cloud. This will allow you to migrate in a phased manner to the cloud within the next 12 months. Please don’t consider the big-bang cloud migration approach for the next 12 months. Conserving cash and spending them in a planned manner is going to be key for any business to survive.
11. DevOps Automation on Cloud – DevOps process automation is another key aspect that the companies are executing to reduce the dependency on their technical resources. ‘Work from home’ model has its own challenges w.r.to coordination, network connectivity, etc which leads to highly delayed DevOps deployments. This might be the right time for you to look at automating your DevOps process for your applications running on the cloud or in your on-premise setup.
Like I mentioned earlier, the 11-Point Cloud Plan was devised based on the market observations and feedback from our global enterprise customers. Will the plan change in the near term? Absolutely Yes. But for now, this seems to be the best bet for us. This 11-Point Cloud Plan should get you started thinking/acting in the right direction and trust me this will help you follow the footsteps of several leading organizations in today’s economic scenario caused by Covid-19 pandemic. The plan will continue to evolve and I will keep this updated as I learn more from our partners and customers.
Stay safe with your loved ones.
Take care of the community around you.
And keep the business rolling.