Head in the clouds? Elastic consumption of technology is the way forward

By Heston Paules

If you’re uncertain about how to build the digital platform that takes your business to the next level, consider the benefits of being able to quickly scale your cloud resource up and down to meet your technology needs.

Implementing new technologies doesn’t have to be about making a statement with the biggest acquisition or the latest shiny new things. Ask yourself what you really need to get the job done. Cloud offers the ability to take advantage of a truly elastic approach to the consumption of technology; with the option to scale up and down as required. We often hear about the need to invest in technology as an asset for the future but less about consuming technology with a specific use in mind to achieve an imminent goal. 

Ultimately, the choice you make should be the one that unlocks the greatest business value, not the one that locks you into a particular technology track, vendor or code base regardless of your changing needs. Investing in cloud allows you to quickly answer some key questions to work out what those needs are today: What technology benefits can be brought to your business? What are the different technologies that you hadn’t actually considered before? What does your business need to get to the next level? 

Technology should enable a different way of growing your business; a different way of competing with other markets; a different way of engaging with your customer. Cloud offers this pathway in three significant ways:

A flexible consumption-based model

Businesses need to move away from the acquisition of technology for its own sake and escape an endless upgrade cycle driven by the ‘faster, more efficient, more beneficial’ claims of the technology providers touting the latest feature sets they bring to market. 

An elastic approach is a move away from ‘set and forget’ which offers functional off the shelf software and technology solutions you're not committed to, don't have to truly understand, and don't have to invest in up-front. The ability to try something on for size means that if you believe your competitors are successfully using a specific tool you can try it out in your business too. But in the real world and without impacting your existing operations with a total shift in approach. This way, if it works for you, you can succeed fast rather than fail fast, by having the ability to find the right blend of tech for your business. Ultimately, if something doesn't work, you’re able to throw it all away and start again, scaling up and down on an hourly basis; only paying for the hours of compute you use until you’re happy to commit.

Minimal investment

Making huge up-front investments in tech on a 3-5 year cycle and hoping to see the promised benefits down the track is too much of a risk. Testing new approaches through commodity blocks allows you to delve into new technology for a proof of concept phase, but in a real-world scenario. It’s important to find the right partner, one that isn’t just trying to sell you a particular technology stack. 

When making that investment and examining new use cases you need to ensure a strategic alignment with your business around risk, ROI, the push for profitability, increased customer loyalty and the ability to enter new markets. We recommend that you engage with service providers that are open to the long-term ‘cloud journey’ as opposed to selling you a ‘cloud solution’.

Instant cloud expertise

Businesses can struggle to bring in the best talent when new skills are required. However, against the backdrop of an ever-changing landscape where technology advances fast - and is accelerating through public cloud vendors like Microsoft Azure - those skills are hard to come by. New solutions and capabilities are coming to market quicker than ever before, but with the advent of cloud computing you don’t have to invest in the skills to benefit from them. It would be impossible for most businesses to hire a big enough technical team that remains engaged on a wide array of projects trying to understand technology and new use cases that are changing bi-annually. Working with a cloud service provider like Logicalis, already engaging with hundreds of customers and their myriad use cases, will allow you to access that tech talent, with a relevant and constantly evolving skill set, far more easily. To truly understand the wider capabilities at your disposal, working with a trusted partner to achieve cloud excellence is vital. 

It’s time to recognise that businesses can’t be masters of everything. Beware the snake oil pitch and look to those seeking to build the dynamics of short-term trust with goal setting, not tie you in to five-year promises. It’s important to be adaptable to change and not simply keep trying the same approaches expecting a different result. Prepare to move beyond the clouds of uncertainty that may be affecting your business and leverage a platform for an iterative journey that can help you plan for your immediate future while working towards long-term goals.