Cloud: An Innovation Engine – Softchoice Research Brief

As organizations prepare to rebuild and re-invent in the wake of COVID-19, there is little doubt we are entering new territory.

While unlocking new efficiencies and streamlining operations will be important, organizations in every industry will need to think beyond reducing costs. There will be a pressing need to find new ways to deliver their services, products and experiences. It seems that in this new world, the digital revolution will no longer be optional.

A recent Softchoice survey of IT decision-makers across different verticals and organizations of all sizes reveals the new role the cloud will play in re-thinking the concepts of innovation and business agility. Let’s look at the most important insights.

Cloud: The New Innovation Engine

For the past decade, the cloud conversation has orbited two key ideas.

On one hand, the cloud offered enterprises a way to simplify and remove some of the management burdens in the three-tiered data centers. On the other, the cloud presented new security and compliance risks, slowing adoption as some organizations hesitated to move critical applications or sensitive data to the cloud.

Our survey has revealed that the first of those central conversations has evolved, while the latter has stayed put.

In this new research brief from Softchoice, we explore a new trend: Businesses of all sizes, across all segments, are starting to see cloud as something much more than a tactic to “get out of the data center.” Today, they see cloud as the top enabler of new business models, new services and new levels of efficiency. But the path ahead isn’t clear of hurdles.

Challenges Arise, New and Old

We found that 37% of businesses have started to look to the cloud as an innovation engine, according to the data. Meanwhile, 66% of decision-makers said they intend to go “cloud-first” for all new workloads.

But perennial barriers continue to slow down cloud adoption journeys. Our research brief shows that skills shortages, lack of cloud expertise and the complexity of hybrid and multicloud deployments are resulting in failure and poor performance. At the same time, concerns around security, data privacy and compliance are also impeding progress in the cloud.

Cause for Hope and Proven Paths Forward

How are organizations adapting to drive cloud adoption, despite the hold-ups?

The short answer: They are investing in people, partners and new technologies. Our research shows that priorities for the next 2 years are boosting security, closing skills gaps and shoring up data foundations, all with the goal of clearing the path for cloud-powered innovation.

The Path Forward

Organizations today know the cloud will play a vital role in their re-invention efforts, but getting there demands a measured, methodical approach.

We conclude our report with clear advice for accomplishing on this mission. With our stages of cloud adoption, businesses can plan their roadmap for efficiency and effectiveness, helping overcome concerns and unleash the full transformative potential of the cloud.

Download the research brief.  

Why DevOps is the perfect use case for automation

One of the biggest buzzwords in the IT world today is infrastructure automation (IA).

With solutions like VMware vRealize Automation, organizations see IA as the missing link in the era of cloud, where the goal is to “ruthlessly automate everything.”

Nowhere is IA’s appeal more obvious than when it’s combined with another, related strategy: DevOps.

DevOps is the perfect use-case for infrastructure automation

Coined nearly 10 years ago, the term DevOps is the methodology by which software development and IT operations teams work collaboratively to achieve rapid, continuous delivery of applications.

Automation is nothing new for Dev teams. Dev teams have always looked to add efficiency, speed, and reliability to their coding processes using automation and programmable tools. But only recently, with the growth of virtualization and IA technologies such as vRealize, has it been possible to achieve that same speed provisioning the bare metal infrastructure and hardware layers supporting their apps.

It’s no surprise then that DevOps is the killer app when it comes to infrastructure automation. And with it, businesses obtain three major advantages: speed to market; security and compliance; and winning the war for talent.

DevOps and the need for speed

The CIO of Alaska Airlines put it nicely: “We’re no longer an airline. We’re a software company with wings.”

In today’s climate, where Amazon and Uber are defining customer expectations, apps are the new gold. And DevOps is perhaps the most powerful solution to quickly and effectively mine that golden value.

How fast can you get your new investment banking app to market? How do you add new features to your eCommerce site, like drop shipping, before your competitor does? How do you give your employees the best possible workplace experience, right now?

Businesses looking to implement IA have these kinds of questions top of mind. They see a modern DevOps, where both hardware and code are automated, as the answer. IA allows powerful, one-click provisioning of validated infrastructure “blueprints,” without requiring weeks of waiting for operations teams to give DevOps the compute or networking resources they need to deliver. For any business seeking the speed gains of DevOps, doing so at both the software and hardware levels makes the most sense.

DevOps and the demand for security and compliance

Businesses are also aware of rising cyber-security threats, something that becomes more pronounced as they adopt rapid application development. In fact, roughly 30 percent of all breaches are the result of a vulnerability at the application layer. Meanwhile, failures at the infrastructure layer are equally pervasive, and lead to the same catastrophic losses and risk if configured or deployed incorrectly.

In other words, to do DevOps safely, organizations must adopt more mature, reliable and secure practices at both the software and hardware levels, spanning network, compute, server and applications.

With IA, organizations can attain peace of mind, knowing that core infrastructure “blueprints” are automatically configured to meet required compliance and security policies. For example, when vulnerabilities are identified, IA tools can automatically patch or identify risk in your own environment and make it easy for admins to address the issue.

DevOps and the war for talent

If you want the best team, you need the best tools. From giving software devs what they need to provide a unique and challenging new opportunity to your operations, DevOps is a powerful value prop in the war for talent.

On the dev side, rapid application development isn’t just a strategy for today’s best and brightest coders. It’s a philosophy, a way of life. Sitting around weeks, waiting for an environment to be spun up, is not in their vocabulary. They’d much prefer to borrow the company credit card for a quick visit to spin up resources in AWS. Or, failing that, take their talents to a business more amenable to their need for speed.
On the operations side, it’s a similar story. While some IT veterans fear to automate traditional three-tiered infrastructure risks putting them out of a job, in our experience this is the wrong way to look at it. Embracing DevOps and IA has enormous appeal to today’s aspiring IT professionals. They would much rather learn new tools and manage a full, open stack deployment than perfect their skills swapping storage boxes for another few decades.

The bottom line: automation isn’t a job killer. It’s a strategy for giving your team the tools they need to grow their skills as professionals and truly dig into today’s most cutting-edge, innovative practices.

Conclusion

 If you are looking for a reason to automate the infrastructure powering your business, then DevOps might be the perfect use case. From unlocking a strategic edge in the golden era of apps, to ensuring security and attracting the best talent, there is no shortage of compelling reasons to start with DevOps on your journey to modernizing your infrastructure.

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