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Three things you need to know to manage multi-cloud

With accelerating cloud adoption in Canada, many organizations are now turning their focus on how to manage hybrid, multi-cloud environments.

“The attitude toward cloud has changed in the past two years,” said Jamie Spiller, Sales Leader with IBM Public Cloud at a recent CanadianCIO Virtual Roundtable. “Hybrid and multiple providers are accepted. The question now is how to manage multiple players, secure IT and put business processes in place.”

Attitudes about cloud security are changing too. “Security was the largest inhibitor to moving to the cloud because of compliance concerns,” Spiller said. “Now, it’s about to become the largest driver to the cloud.” He noted that, these days, providers offer a higher security standard that most organizations could achieve on their own.

Nonetheless, it’s still up to the organization to pull all the pieces together. Spiller offered three tips on how to successfully manage multi-cloud going forward.

Communications with the business team is paramount

Several participants said they still find it difficult to engage with their business teams.  The struggle is real, said Spiller. He cited an IDC study which found that 86 per cent of organizations that moved workloads to the cloud have repatriated at least one. Many of them were shadow IT projects.

It shows that education is key. “The business needs to understand that you can’t have consistent security without centralized control,” Spiller said. It’s important for business to understand the complexities of technology they acquire on their own and to avoid putting the IT team in the position of playing catch-up.

The business team should be engaged from the beginning of any IT project, advised Spiller. With cloud and automation, they need to understand the impact on business processes. “It sounds trite to say that it’s about communication, but I really do believe it is,” he said.

A good approach that Spiller has seen some organizations take is to establish a joint innovation council. “This helps the business spot how to use technology to accelerate in the marketplace,” he said.

Make a plan to attract talent

The biggest challenge in managing the cloud is the lack of skills, especially in cloud native development. Organizations are aggressively competing for skilled talent.  Spiller mentioned one situation where a company offered a 50 per cent salary increase to an employee to counter a  job offer.

“If you haven’t thought through your plan for attracting talent, it’s going to be an issue,” said Spiller. “The best technologists are those people that are in love with the technology. You need to think through how you make the future look interesting and exciting to potential candidates. Without them, you’ll have significant challenges.”

Decide how much control you’re willing to give up

In the past, managers were clear on who they should see when something went wrong.  With, multi-cloud environments, it’s harder to know where the problem is, said Spiller.

Organizations should spend more time thinking about the amount of control they want to retain or are willing to give up when they move to a cloud provider. “Every time you look at putting a workload in the cloud, you want to do a review and make sure you’re comfortable with where the control lands,” advises Spiller. This is part of a broader discussion people should have when they implement the cloud.

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