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Pulling back the curtain on cloud

Cloud | Pro-Tem Executive Connect - Blog

Nick Hayne examines the current SME legal sector mantra that cloud pre-packaged solutions are the obvious route to growth.

Technology businesses continue to urge organisations to migrate to the cloud – and quickly – for fear of being left behind. But Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) recently advertised a different cloud argument.

Claiming it was time to become consciously hybrid, they highlighted a common problem making the migration process difficult – with legacy technology, limited resource and confusion around cloud adoption causing a state of flux for clients.

The need for a conscious path to digital transformation that considers all solutions – even those reducing the current over-reliance on public cloud – makes perfect sense to us. Having invested significant time and money developing our own private-cloud offering, we agree with the sentiment of the message that a hybrid mix of remote compute and storage is likely to deliver the best outcome for most organisations.

However, where we would depart from their message is the insistence on cloud. While we bow to the experience and expertise of giants like HPE, we feel the cloud approach recommended by many service providers tends to consider every firm as cloud customers first. Then they work out what suits the client’s activities best, before tailoring the client to achieve a good fit with cloud.

For those organisations with huge data, application and workload requirements, public cloud services such as Azure, Google and AWS make sense – that is once you accept the associated cost of moving your data in and out of the data centres.

But if little changes in your firm from day to day – barring the addition of new Word documents, scanned papers and dictation files – will your consciously hybrid mix combine on-premises resources and private cloud to serve you better and cost you less?

Our industry, and by extension the customers we serve, have become too fixated on the concept of the cloud, which is merely a new way to describe on-demand computing services in a data centre, accessed via a network – typically the internet, although it used to be your private network.

The world is tied to service providers that develop existing applications and create new products, whether customers have requested change or not. Their effort then convinces all of us we cannot manage without the new features, which we buy monthly, whether we want to or not.

In reality, service providers must start listening more carefully to what their clients want – understand the latter’s sector, their business and their challenges, before specifying a solution tailored to these exact needs.

If a mix of clouds is the answer, so be it, but we must not be afraid to encompass on-premise and smaller private-cloud resources, if that’s what is best for the firm.

Nick Hayne is Head of Professional Services at Quiss.