Why your cloud strategy shouldn’t be a one-stop shop

Data & Analytics Sales Leader, IBM

I buy my clothes and groceries at a variety of different places, both online and in person.

When I shop at a brick-and-mortar store, I have a lot of options, depending on what suits me best in terms of price, value, brand, location and other factors. Likewise, when I shop online, I choose the vendor based on similar factors. I look for the best choice possible choice to ensure that my purchase meets my needs.

Yet it seems that that many organizations, big and small, are deciding to make their cloud purchases based on their initial choice of cloud vendor. They still have a variety of suppliers for their on-premises deployments, but for the cloud they're sticking with their initial vendor, and that's that.

Just like consumers have tons of options when shopping for clothes and groceries, there are multiple different products and flavors of cloud; infrastructure, platform and software, among others. While one vendor may be great at delivering a cloud platform, other aspects of cloud, such as optimizing software on the cloud or managing data across cloud environments may not be its strong point. I wouldn't necessarily choose to buy power tools from Marks & Spencer — chiefly a clothing retailer — when I know that hardware is not the store’s specialty.  

Having a completely unstructured cloud strategy with no purchasing guidelines is ridiculous, but the ability to use the right tool for the right job is fundamental to enabling growth and profitability. For example, organizations today need more from their data insight that may be stored on the cloud, but may also be storing data on premises. Interoperability between data sources is essential for today’s agile enterprise.

If organizations’ cloud strategies are more a procurement decision focused on a certain vendor, then they’re stifling business progress. It’s easier to change only one thing when migrating technologies to the cloud. For example, it's far simpler to transfer an existing workload to an evolution of an organization’s existing platform technology rather than re-engineer into an alternative. This is especially true if the cloud alternative to an on-premises solution isn't as performant.

If businesses are constrained by a single-vendor strategy, then the likelihood of increased costs and decreased performance are high, which defeats the purpose of both the Cloud and also the business in general.

In the early stages of the journey to cloud, organizations should remain open to alternatives and remember what they're trying to achieve. It’s definitely worth ensuring that you aren't adding a whole second layer of IT and vendors to manage, but don't go the other way and solely choose a technology based on the fact that you've made a high-level agreement to go a certain way.

Register to learn more and join IBM at the Cloud and Data Roadshow on 28 June in London.