[South Africa] Optimum cloud adoption requires a considered approach, says PBT Group
Globally, companies are adopting cloud computing at an unprecedented rate with an aim to achieve scalability, cost savings, agility, availability, and security. While these benefits are tempting, the path to effective cloud migration is fraught with challenges, says Willem Conradie, CTO of PBT Group.
"Despite the appeal of benefits like scalability, agility, and cost savings, the practical process of migrating to the cloud can be complex and demanding. The major hyperscalers provide frameworks like the AWS Cloud Adoption Framework to mitigate some of these challenges, but the reality is often more complex than these guidelines suggest," he says.
One of the significant hurdles encountered is the shortage of skilled professionals in the local market, largely due to the rapid adoption of cloud computing globally and the impact this continues to have on talent migration trends. This deficiency can lead to project delays due to a lack of capacity to manage the actual migration work, putting IT departments at a disadvantage while the business side of the organisation moves forward at its own pace.
"Amidst the speed of cloud migration, it is not uncommon for organisations to find that their cloud usage costs exceed what they originally planned for. In the current economic climate, cost efficiencies are of paramount importance to most organisations," Conradie states.
He also emphasises that cloud migration is not a one-time journey with a fixed end goal. With constant innovation in cloud services, businesses need to continuously adjust and optimise their cloud usage. "Migrating to the cloud is not a static destination; it is a moving target. Once in the cloud, organisations need to continually adapt to new capabilities on offer, often referred to as cloud optimisation," adds Conradie.
In terms of addressing these challenges, Conradie proposes several solutions. For the skills shortage, partnering with service providers who hold the necessary capabilities and capacity can be beneficial. These partners often have a track record of successful cloud migrations and can provide training and knowledge transfer to the organisation's IT teams, as well as broader staff, as appropriate.
An effective way for IT to address the challenge of keeping up with business demand is to approach the cloud migration with smaller iterations, focussing on delivering business value with each iteration and minimising the disruption on business projects.
To mitigate cloud usage costs, Conradie recommends setting up automated monitoring for cost management. "This allows companies to set billing thresholds, alerts, and even automated actions when certain thresholds are reached. Other cost management options include auto pause and resume of service when they are not in use or adopting software-as-a-service options for cloud computing, which, if done correctly, can result in substantial cost savings," Conradie explains.
When it comes to cloud optimisation, staying informed through research about new innovations in the cloud can help reduce cost when practically applied. Partnering with an experienced service provider can also simplify cloud architectures and improve the efficiency of large-scale data pipelines.
"Cloud migration and optimisation, when managed effectively, can indeed offer organisations the sought-after benefits of scalability, cost efficiency, and agility. The key is in being prepared for the associated challenges and having effective strategies in place to address them," concludes Conradie.