Author: Ahmed Helmy, CTO, Avaya International
When global bank Standard Chartered recently decided to enhance efficiency, cut costs, and increase the ability of its contact center agents to better serve customers, a customized private cloud solution from Avaya became the route forward. Implemented as part of a multi-year CX transformation project, providing a global platform deployed securely within a private cloud environment.
There is no doubt that we are living in the cloud era. Adoption rates are at an all-time high and worldwide spending on public cloud services and infrastructure is forecast to reach $210 billion this year, an increase of 23.8% over 2018. Organizations across the widest spectrum of industry have now positioned themselves firmly in the ‘cloud-first’ camp – not only to emphasize their readiness to utilize cutting-edge technologies for the benefit of their customers, but as a means to stay agile and react in near real-time to rapidly changing market dynamics.
It’s no surprise then that across geographies, the number of cloud providers too has been steadily rising. Take the Middle East for example – in the last two years alone, major providers have established locally-based cloud data centers, and more will have arrived by 2020.
As a result, it would appear that cloud-first organizations – whether they are established players looking to move their infrastructure and applications to the cloud, or newer entrants who pick cloud from the onset – are spoiled for choice. However, there is a challenge that organizations often only realize too far into their cloud journey.
When probed about why they subscribe to a cloud-first approach, businesses often cite the need for flexibility, faster time-to-market, and applications that operate seamlessly no matter where, or which device, they are accessed from. What they expect, but often fail to verify, is whether the applications themselves are built to run seamlessly across different environments. This is hardly the same as a Windows application trying to run on MacOS or Linux – it’s much more complicated than that. When it comes to cloud, applications can fail or underperform when the underlying cloud environment is not designed to serve the purpose of the application. Perhaps your cloud is best as a database – in which case it will underperform as an application host. Here, instead of reaping the cloud’s benefits of agility and freedom of choice, organizations find their cloud investments tied into the ecosystem of a particular provider.
This is why the new breed of cloud-first organizations must be cautious of technology providers who impose their one-size-fits-all architecture and instead look to engage with solution partners who are committed to truly enabling flexibility of choice when it comes to cloud-based delivery models. The latter are technology leaders, such as Avaya, who have taken a true cloud foundation design approach in their solution offerings by employing the power of microservices and containerization. This advances them beyond basic hosting and virtualization approaches. As a result, our customers can choose a single cloud vendor, or make use of the strength of multiple clouds.
Building a portfolio of solutions that can just as easily be run on-premise as on a multitude of cloud platforms tips the scales back in favor of the customer rather than the cloud provider. As providers’ USPs evolve and change, organizations should have the flexibility to easily switch between cloud offerings. When it’s clear to cloud providers that their customers’ workloads can be easily migrated to another provider – when pricing or different features make an alternative more appealing – it drives better customer service and competitiveness which is beneficial for the industry as a whole.
With the haze that once surrounded cloud computing now having settled, there is no doubt organizations can stand to benefit from the cloud-first approach. To do so however, they must ask themselves a fundamental question: are the solutions they are investing in built to match their own cloud strategies, or they being used to keep them stuck in someone else’s cloud strategy?