Optimizing Business Outcomes in Multi-cloud Environments

Written By: Fabio Gori, Senior Director, Head of Cloud Marketing at Cisco

Second Wave of Cloud Adoption Continues to Advance

An optimized multi-cloud strategy can accelerate an organization’s hybrid IT transformation. The good news is that cloud adoption is an expanding part of IT organizations’ strategies, and companies around the world are growing more sophisticated in the ways that they think about the cloud. However, few companies have optimized cloud strategies in place today.

Your organization can be further empowered when the entire IT ecosystem and community work together to remove many of the hurdles that may be encountered in navigating the multi-cloud maze. As of 2016, enterprise adoption of cloud environments has truly moved into the mainstream, with 68 percent currently using a public or private cloud for more than one or two small applications, a 61 percent increase over last year’s figure. These are some of the results of a cloud adoption study that IDC independently conducted in 2016 and that Cisco sponsored[1]. The study has incredible scale and includes over 6100 organizations in 31 countries.

The findings demonstrate the increasing strength of the second wave of cloud adoption. The cloud initially was perceived primarily as a way to reduce capital expenses and achieve operational efficiencies. Now these benefits are taken for granted by a growing number of cloud adopters. Organizations are beginning to look at the cloud differently. The cloud is now perceived to be a powerful platform to support innovation, growth, and digital transformation.

The IDC study shows that as companies achieve greater cloud maturity, business benefits do increase. The more mature cloud organizations have greater revenue and can more strategically allocate their IT budgets to keep more focus on innovation and less on the activities necessary to maintain the status quo. IDC has identified five stages of cloud maturity: Ad Hoc, Opportunistic, Repeatable, Managed, and Optimized. There are immediate benefits even from moving one step up from Ad Hoc to Opportunistic; however, the benefits accelerate as you move further up the adoption ladder. In fact, organizations with mature cloud strategies are realizing US$3.0 million in additional revenue and US$1.0 million in reduced costs (on average) per cloud application on a yearly basis.

Current/Near-Term Cloud Adoption Plans

Private and Hybrid Clouds Are Critical Parts of the Mix

As two companies that are known as thought leaders in the technology landscape, Cisco and Intel have a long history of collaboration. Our significant alignment on the importance of private and hybrid clouds in the mix is yet another example of this collaboration and can be seen in our joint solutions portfolio. The study supports this viewpoint, with 73 percent of respondents pursuing a hybrid cloud strategy, and on-premises private cloud spending projected to grow by 40 percent over the next two years. We are looking forward to continuing to partner with Intel and our vast partner ecosystem to provide choice to our customers as they build their multi-cloud environments.

What motivated us to sponsor the study was also the need to better quantify on a global scale the business outcomes that organizations have been able to achieve as a result of progressive adoption of cloud services. More important, for those organizations with optimized cloud strategies we wanted to understand what traits they share. The most mature cloud organizations are defined by their use of DevOps, hybrid and multi-provider clouds, microservices, and containers. They are also more likely to consume cloud-based Internet of Things (IoT) and security applications. 

69% of organizations don't have mature cloud strategies in place

Few Companies Are Achieving Full Value

Unfortunately, fewer than 3 percent of the organizations that IDC analyzed have cloud-optimized strategies in place. What are the barriers that are preventing the rest of the organizations from progressing on their journey? What is challenging their ability to get more from their cloud environments?

IDC has identified a number of barriers, including:

  • Line-of-business (LOB) and information technology (IT) misalignment. For example, over 91% of the enterprises without “managed” or “optimized” cloud strategies indicated they struggle to define a process for IT to reach out to LOB stakeholders or a process to collaborate on defining SLAs.
  • Insufficient monitoring, measurement, and management tools for a range of hybrid
    cloud environments.
  • Lagging processes, procedures, and skills. For example, 93% of respondents without “managed” or “optimized” strategies lack the necessary processes in place to support a hybrid cloud strategy.

Our plan is therefore to work with our partners (including Intel) and customers and the rest of the IT community to remove many of these hurdles. We can empower our customers to optimize their multi-cloud strategies so they can accelerate their hybrid IT transformation. In conjunction with our partners, we can deliver:

  • Simpler architectures for the Cisco® data center and cloud infrastructure: This infrastructure is the foundation for your transformation.
  • Smarter choices for cloud automation and orchestration to simplify your navigation of the multi-cloud maze. To do that, you can use our Cisco CloudCenter capabilities gained as a result of our mergers and acquisitions strategy.
  • Faster innovation through cloud-native environments to support our customers’ digital transformation: Our solutions include Cisco Metacloud™, which is a private cloud as a service offering powered by OpenStack. Our solution includes the Cisco Unified Computing System™ (Cisco UCS®) platform (based on the Intel® Xeon® processor product families), software, and expertise delivered in a data center of your choice.

Take the First Step

The question we get at times is “How do we get started?” Most customers we talk to want to improve their cloud environments, but how? A first good step is simply to determine where you are in your multi-cloud journey. Use the IDC methodologies we packaged in our online Business Cloud Advisor (BCA) Adoption Report and continue the conversation with our Cisco and Intel teams. You will receive a personalized report that you can use to re-imagine what is possible with the cloud.



[1] Source: IDC InfoBrief, sponsored by Cisco, Cloud Going Mainstream. All Are Trying, Some Are Benefiting; Few Are Maximizing Value. September 2016