Thanks for stopping by to our second installment of “What’s Happening in I&O”, a Gartner blog sharing our experiences working with clients in these uncharted times. One question we address a lot lately is “How do COVID and the ensuing economic downturn affect my cloud plans? Should we just stop?” This is far too complex, varied, and nuanced a topic to cover in three or four paragraphs, but let’s try and hit some of the high points, and share a taste of Research that has been (or is soon to be) published.
First off, you will recall that my overall theme last week was “Pause, Don’t Stop”. The radical changes in operations models we’ve had to adopt in the past 6 or 7 weeks are astonishing, and if anything, point to even greater benefit of an “off-prem” option such as cloud. But the economic reality is that project funding may be in short supply for a while. Following the three phase “Triage, Reassess, and Optimize” pattern we described last week, lets focus on the first two phases right now, while setting up the “Optimize” phase, which Gartner likes to describe as “Accelerating out of the Turns”, to be embraced during the summer months. As I said last week, the mantra should be “Pause, Not Stop”
The fact is, many initial projects in the cloud can actually spur inefficiencies and wasteful behavior, as we reward innovation and “failing fast” over a finely tuned machine. We try things, we learn, and we may “build things first, worry about detailed ongoing costs later” as we come up to speed. Cost optimization may be considered a future enhancement, with simply “getting started” the marching orders. We may even simply “lift and shift“ existing applications to the cloud without optimization, based solely on a mandate to “get in the cloud”. Many of these excesses and missteps can easily be rectified, as suggested in the chart below.
In short, we advise: 1) Cutting costs by eliminating waste, 2) Investigating opportunities for SaaS deployments of major application suites, 3) Pausing projects with no immediate returns (or even increased overall spend), 4) Fine tuning deployments that are productive and providing business value, 5) Accelerating “in flight” cloud projects with demonstrable cost savings or near term operational benefits.
To say it a different way, this is NOT a blanket statement to pause or stop ALL cloud projects. Many are truly transformational, and CAN achieve immediate cost savings. They must continue, “funding willing”. But mingled amongst those Gems are plenty of cases of “the inverse of cost optimization.” To borrow advice from a Gartner initiative, it’s time to “Buy Smart”. Stay tuned for the second part of this post, where we delve into the “optimize” phase, and prepare to “accelerate out of the turns”. In the mean time, stay safe, and try to “do good”. Take some time to be kind to yourself, and those around you.