Business and IT Transformation Based On New Cloud Technologies

Vladimir Kuptsov, Sr. Director of Infrastructure, HMSHost

Wased on my 15 years’ experience in Global IT, I would like to combine major common business transformation issues and successes in the 21st Century. First of all, if businesses think of staying on current markets, they have to involve IT departments to bring innovations and use modern IT technologies to dramatically improve the productivity and value of enterprises. Unfortunately, this is a reality of current digital Century. If you are not using Data analysis or Internet of Things, your business will no longer exist in the next 10 years. Moreover, the explosive growth of social networks, the mobile phones market, broadband Internet access, Machine Learning technologies and Artificial Intelligence are changing the world in which companies operate. Adapt to the changes they need, either by conquering new niches, or by transforming existing ones. It turns out that the digital transformation of organizations is a reaction to the development and active implementation of new information technologies around the world.

A few years back, I was promoted from APAC regional IT into Global IT Infrastructure department, which included multiple countries and different continents of IT Infrastructure across the world. Moreover, in the last 5 years the infrastructure of that company has greatly increased, due to business acquisitions, which led to fragmentation of local IT Infrastructure, which includes many inflexible and unscaled applications and old hardware from many different vendors. The company decided to take advantage of the moment and move infrastructure and servers in the cloud.

Once you hear “Cloud,” please do not believe it is very cheap and easy solution, which was always sold from Cloud companies to our “non-technical” business people as IT Infrastructure “Success Keys.” Based on my experience of migrating the company’s infrastructure from non-cloud into hybrid cloud, I can say that this is one of the instruments to make your IT Infrastructure more scalable and modern. However, once you are in the cloud and you start replicating all your normal Data Centers services (like Disaster Recovery, backups, clusters, etc.), it becomes costly. Moreover, you should think about Cloud control which you don’t have anymore. For example, we moved one of our main ERP system (it was a very old file based system) and lost control on maintenance. We were surprised how Cloud providers have been doing “maintenance” at any time they want. As before in a normal Data Center we agreed on scheduled maintenance time with a Cloud we got messages like “next week we have maintenance in that location and probably it will impact your storage and VM`s.” Of course, I was looking for the solution of clustering, multiple cloud locations and so on, but again it was cost impact.

Another cloud transformation issue was old legacy applications or systems, which were based on very old technologies and without vendors support. Because certain applications were too important or not suitable for a clean Cloud environment, it was decision to go with hybrid cloud model, implying the transfer of part products in the surrounding environment, parts - in a private cloud and parts - in public cloud. After that, specialists of our Cloud Department implemented a complete migration of applications and their transformation.

Now a days, I moved into another company on leadership role for IT Infrastructure department. The good thing is, once you have a real Cloud migration, you know how and when to transfer your infrastructure into the Cloud. Basically, after two weeks on a new role, I made a roadmap with Cloud-based platforms for current infrastructure transformations. You need to be very careful with decisions and understand their real need and sales pitch. In the coming months, I will create a new Cloud Department for new Cloud Infrastructure setup and the application migration process in the working environment. As one of IT leaders, I expect that the output of new Cloud products (SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS) on the market will accelerate and simplify, since it will not be necessary to wait until my IT department allocates resources for infrastructure. Moreover, I can also free up resources and capacity to optimize customer service, as well as reduce capital and operating costs. Cloud technologies can help me transform my new company’s IT department, and should help get rid of all the restrictions that traditional infrastructure has. However, always keep in mind, that you may have to stay with hybrid infrastructure for some time until you have a fully Cloud supported system or application. I believe, the key to successful digital and cloud transformation lies not so much in the technologies themselves, as in strategy, culture and human resource development.