In 2017, when Hurricane Irma was closing in on the Florida panhandle, owners of Tesla cars were surprised to discover that the batteries that powered their vehicles suddenly had 40% more range than normal, which proved to be extremely useful for escaping the storm. The unexpected boost in power was thanks to an upgrade feature that Tesla temporarily allowed on cars in that area which was sent electronically to each vehicle.
This boost was a welcome development for Tesla owners, some of whom, despite the overall quality and reliability of the cars, still suffered from what is called range anxiety, since the car-owning population as a whole, still hasn’t quite come to terms with cars that operate without petrol. There was also some concern expressed by those who saw the invisible hand of Tesla passing over the privately owned cars of Florida citizens as some sort of breach of individual liberty.
The point here, though, is one of scalability. Tesla, as a product of the Agile age serves as a compelling symbol of car ownership, in a number of ways that can all be brought back to a discussion of hybrid cloud. Successful deployment of a cloud platform that is both agile and hybrid will likely be a key success factor for the growth or recovery of organisations throughout 2022.
Size is not as important as flexibility
Organisations have had to learn that in a high-speed, always-on economy, size is not as important as flexibility. The capacity to respond to opportunity or crises in an instant is what customers want and expect, and nothing more will do. Customer loyalty is fleeting and hinges largely on the most recent experience.
This sets up a challenge for organisations that may have grown up and built their infrastructure around longer timelines. In the last two years, for example, every company has had to learn a great deal about how to keep working and selling with employees based from home and a marketplace that has had to essentially shut its doors. Some companies pivoted from manufacturing their main products to creating equipment such as PPE in support of pandemic relief efforts. As they contemplate a possible end, or at least a diminishing of the pandemic’s spread, many of them face the prospects of reducing their office space, some of which may be on multi-year leases – on account of a changing workforce.
“Migration to hypercloud such as Microsoft Azure is no longer a problem, there’s a multitude of tools that help to automate the process.” – Jakub Wolinski, Cloud Services Manager, Dicker Data
Cloud technology has been written and talked about extensively, of course, but what is key to any organisation’s strategy may be the invisible as opposed to the visible. It might be easy to calculate compute and data storage needs based on day-to-day activity, but what about an unexpected surge? Peak demand based on a social media event, a cybersecurity incident or even an outage? What about recovery from a ransomware attack? What strategies are in place to not only recover from ransomware, but to do so in a timely basis (MTTR)? These might not sound like the most immediate cloud-based priorities, but so long as a company runs on its data, they are.
Being able to scale up or scale down on demand in a manner similar to the Tesla example ensures that peak demand for data and management can be addressed without wasteful spending on fixed allocation, cloud sprawl, or transfer costs, as discussed here. This kind of dynamic ability didn’t exist in earlier eras – we worked with what we had. But now it exists and is a key imperative for establishing a well-managed hybrid cloud, ideally in conjunction with a service provision company.
The SME opportunity
So how does a SME or small enterprise business make the most of the opportunities of agility? Primarily by ensuring the platform upon which it operates can support agility, and this means going to hybrid cloud. By pairing the security of on-premises with the versatility and scalability of a managed public cloud, the business is much better positioned to make changes such as setting up a new location, a new manufacturing line, or a new product.
The physical potential that hybrid cloud delivers subsequently impacts thinking and strategy at board level. Business expansion decisions, for example, should start with the CIO who is able to dictate the pace of change based on an IT infrastructure that is now quick and easy to deploy, rather than having IT hold the organisation back due to legacy systems, attitudes, and abilities that are hard to change and which throttle the business. Having the capacity to scale up or down, open a new location, or move to another market isn’t a reactive feature. It forms part of a business strategy that should involve all layers of an organisation, including the executive. Its security and its functionality are critical business issues and not just an IT problem.
“Cost and security are always the top concerns but planning cloud migration has to be seen as a key business decision.” – Harris Schneiderman, Enterprise Sales Director – Hybrid Cloud Practice, HP Enterprise.
This mindset should be the fuel of SMEs, who have neither the size nor the age of larger organisations that can simply state, “that’s how we’ve always done it.” When one looks at Tesla, or SpaceX, another Elon Musk creation, you see companies that went up against extremely large, century-old organisations and by approaching a problem with a better idea, and by not accepting a tradition that relied on process over productivity, was able to surpass them or at least make a dent in their market share. This is the advantage that SMEs have – they are small enough to remain agile and innovative, and have access to the technologies, including hybrid cloud, that will enable the vision to become a reality.
But one further point to make about Tesla, SpaceX, and thousands of SMEs around the world, is that they didn’t do it alone. Their management knew to partner up with companies that could deliver necessary products and services as well as operate as a trusted advisor. This is a type of synergy that large companies cannot do quite as well, given their labyrinthine procurement and vendor management processes. It forms a triangle, a rule of three for business success: agile technology (hybrid cloud), agile thinking (internal) and relationships with agile vendors who bring tools and advice to the table.
For more information about how Somerville can play a significantly beneficial role in your organisation’s agility, please contact us.
Download our white paper “Proactivity and Planning: the key to cloud and IT modernisation” to learn more.