The explosion of public cloud adoption in today’s business landscape is undeniable. But it’s alarming to see the number of organizations adopting cloud without a mature, clearly defined strategy on how cloud technologies are transforming various aspects of their business. It’s high time these companies take the plunge and explore the benefits of true transformation, as opposed to simply adopting a handful of “low-hanging fruit” uses cases for cloud.

Cart Before the Horse Cloud Strategy

A multitude of organizations have been slow to tackle the challenges that come with digital transformation. Instead, these businesses have adopted elementary hybrid cloud strategies, often limiting their public cloud footprint to the adoption of simple Software as a Service (SaaS) applications or the lifting and shifting of various on-premises virtual machines to public Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Often, applications are migrated to cloud consumption models without giving much thought or any effort to transforming the workload to take advantage of cloud-native features, functionality and benefits.

The act of simply extending your private infrastructure into a hybrid cloud is not enough to bring the benefits promised by next-generation technologies. It requires tremendous focus and effort to transform your people, process and technology — and when you do, the benefits realized are much more significant. In a cloud-native world, successful business transformations must include strategies for developing the skill sets of its employees, modernizing and rethinking its operational processes and rearchitecting and rewriting its applications. In other words… the difficult stuff.

Most organizations recognize the opportunity provided by public cloud and are making large investments. Gartner pegged 2018 public cloud growth at 21 percent and projecting 17.3 percent growth in 2019. Many are also catching on to the value of Platform as a Service (PaaS) and starting to change the way they use the public cloud. Gartner foresees continued growth for IaaS, and the organization’s experts predict that PaaS will become an increasingly integral part of organizations’ public cloud plans. By 2022, Gartner expects that 90 percent of organizations purchasing IaaS will do so from providers that offer integrated IaaS and PaaS, and will use both the platforms’ capabilities from those providers.

Cloud Native Is a Game Changer

When IT decision-makers describe the benefits of the cloud, they often cite scalability, on-demand resources or a self-service pay-as-you-go model. But these are merely the essential characteristics of the public cloud. While they accurately describe the public cloud features, they hardly do justice to the business benefits and the outcomes delivered by cloud computing.

The top business benefits of the public cloud include fostering collaboration, enabling accelerated decision-making and promoting true business agility (not merely infrastructure elasticity). Whereas IaaS lets companies lift and shift their applications from their own data centers onto public cloud infrastructure, PaaS enables far greater benefits only achieved through truly cloud-native applications.

PaaS allows organizations to abstract their applications from hardware and operating systems, allowing for more agile development processes and flexibility over time. Applications built using the new rules of PaaS are highly manageable, collaborative and predictable, and offer innate automated scalability and continuous delivery. And once organizations get a taste of cloud-native applications, there’s usually no turning back. But getting there certainly is not easy. Read more about the process in Part 2 of this blog post.

Want to learn more about how cloud services can improve your IT environment? Download “The Modern IT Infrastructure Report” from CDW.

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