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Travelling to the cloud: Pack the right digital boxes

By , Ashley Bruyns, Head of Engineering, Stephen Bottger, Executive: Operations, Altron Systems Integration.
31 Jan 2024

The move to the cloud can be of immense value to the organisation but should be done with meticulous planning to avoid bill shock while gaining the benefits.

Ashley Bruyns, Head of Engineering at Altron Systems Integration.
Ashley Bruyns, Head of Engineering at Altron Systems Integration.

The cost of cloud can often come as a surprise. Bill shock, says the latest Ofcom report, is a common complaint thanks to limited pricing visibility and cost transparency. The report also highlighted how egress fees, limited interoperability and complex data reconfiguration challenges are affecting how organisations approach their cloud strategies. As far back as 2021,Gartner found that 60% of companies through to 2024 would underestimate the infrastructure, services and consumption rates required for their organisations resulting in increased costs and reduced return on investment. IDC agreed, saying that up to 6% of a company’s cloud storage costs were due to planned and unplanned egress charges.

Companies have been told that their move to the cloud and their total cost of ownership are significantly cheaper than their on-premises solutions of the past. No more loadshedding stress, access is always-on, and the solutions are up-to-date and relevant. Cheaper, says the tin, than having to manage all these aspects as a business. However, there are other costs that slide into the bottom line. Ingress and egress charges, for example, add up quickly as data is moved across platforms or out of the cloud. The cost of running applications in the cloud can also be high.

Yes, cloud delivers almost unparalleled flexibility and agility, but with multiple models, approaches, tools and capabilities it will only deliver cost benefits if it's designed properly. And designing the cloud correctly requires an essential step – ticking the boxes.

Box ticking exercises, surely not? Yes.

Ditching bill shock means embracing a slower and meticulous approach to cloud investment and architecture. Is the server the right size, is the service the right fit? Think, for example, of a house. The business has always been a four-bedroom house using only one of the bedrooms. Now, it’s moving to a more expensive area and wants to keep the four bedrooms in the new house while still only using one. Taking the analogy back to the cloud – this equates to a server running one application on-premises and the business only pays for electricity. Move this to the cloud, the costs are higher with a big server the business doesn’t need to eat into budgets and resources.

Stephen Bottger, Executive: Operations at Altron Systems Integration.
Stephen Bottger, Executive: Operations at Altron Systems Integration.

Another box to tick is due diligence. What problem is the business trying to solve with the cloud and why? Is it agility? Time to market? Innovation? The cloud can fundamentally deliver on these expectations but it needs to be right-sized. To further refine any cloud approach, companies should also unpack how they want to use the cloud to benefit their customers. What is their endgame for service delivery and customer engagement? A cloud architecture capable of optimising for the customer is one that delivers a measurable return on investment.

What about the business units? Enterprise units have different goals so understanding how cloud optimises achieving these goals is key. For example, increased performance costs a business an additional $50,000 a month, but if this increase balances out against the impact felt by the business, then the cost is worth it. It must always come down to understanding an organisation’s goals and building the best solution for achieving them.

Cloud still delivers on its promises. It allows for a rapid and effective shift from legacy end-of-life technology to solutions that deliver next-generation capabilities. It delivers improved service delivery, innovation, customer service and speed. However, achieving this potential comes down to knowing the exact cloud combination that will unlock these benefits for the business realistically and within cost expectations.

So, tick the business assessment box, understand the intricacies of the organisation, dig deep into the price tags and the architecture, unwrap the benefits needed and expected, and then check everything again. Deep insight will only benefit the business as it shifts into a cloud architecture that is as perfect a fit as a tailored suit. 

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