As the adoption of cloud computing grows, enterprises see the cloud as the path to modernization. But there is quite a bit of confusion about the actual value of the cloud, leading to suboptimal modernization journeys. Most people see the cloud as a location for their computing needs. While cloud service providers (CSPs) are an integral part of the modernization journey, the cloud journey doesn’t stop with picking a CSP. A more holistic understanding of the cloud will help reduce risks and help your organization maximize ROI.

Before joining IBM Consulting, I was an industry analyst focused on cloud computing. As an analyst, I regularly spoke to various stakeholders about their respective organization’s modernization journeys. While I learned about many success stories, I also heard about challenges during suboptimal modernization efforts. Some organizations treated the cloud as a destination rather than exploiting its fullest potential. Others couldn’t move to the cloud due to data issues, a local lack of cloud regions, and their need to adopt IoT/edge computing. A successful cloud journey requires understanding the cloud’s full value and using a proper framework for adoption.

While cloud service providers transform the economic model for infrastructure, the most significant advantage offered by the cloud is the programmability of infrastructure. While many enterprises associate programmability with self-service and on-demand resource provisioning and scalability, the real value goes much further. Unless you understand this advantage, any cloud adoption as a part of the modernization journey will be suboptimal.

A programmable infrastructure provides:

Self-service provisioning and scaling of resources (the usual suspects)
Programmatic hooks for application dependencies, helping modernize the applications with ease
A programmatic infrastructure that transforms infrastructure operations into code, leading to large-scale automation that further optimizes speed and ROI.

Let’s unpack that third point a bit further. Modern enterprises are using programmatic infrastructure with code-driven operations, DevOps, modern architectures like microservices and APIs to create an assembly line for value creation. Such an approach decouples organizations from undifferentiated heavy lifting and helps them focus on the core customer value. With modern technologies like the cloud and a reliable partner to streamline the value creation process in an assembly line approach, enterprises can maximize the benefits of their modernization journey.

By treating Infrastructure as Code (IaC), you can achieve higher levels of automation. This, combined with the elastic infrastructure underneath, allows organizations to achieve the global scale they need to do business today. The code-driven operational process on top of a programmable infrastructure offers more value than the underlying infrastructure itself. IaC-driven automation reduces cost, increases speed, and dramatically removes operational problems by reducing human-induced errors.

Enterprises today have their applications deployed on cloud service providers. Some applications are nearing the end of life or have strict regulatory requirements to stay on-premises. Edge computing and IoT are fast gaining adoption among many enterprises. These trends shift our thinking about computing from a localized paradigm like CSPs and data centers to a more fluid paradigm of computing everywhere.

Everything from infrastructure to DevOps to applications are driven by automation, which allows organizations to scale efficiently. When this is married to the concept of cloud fabric that spans public cloud providers, data centers and edge, organizations can gain value at scale without worrying about how to manage different resources in different locations. This hybrid approach to the cloud can deliver value at the speed of a modern business.

The post Don’t underestimate the cloud’s full value appeared first on IBM Business Operations Blog.

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