Category: Digital Transformation

Legacy Technology Dilemma | Blog

Companies are migrating applications to the cloud, looking to reduce or shutter their legacy data centers. Many soon realize they have a portfolio of legacy applications that are just too expensive and too risky to move to the cloud. However, they have unrealistic expectations regarding the possibilities for those applications, and that leads to a dilemma in deciding how to handle them.

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How to Deliver Exceptional Customer Experiences | Blog

Customer experience is decidedly a top focus of company operations in 2022. As companies assess whether their digital-age investments achieve success, they increasingly look through the customer-experience lens. The goal in today’s digital platform world is to significantly improve customer, employee, and other stakeholder experiences. Platforms certainly have the capability of delivering exceptional customer experiences. So why are so many companies consistently providing disappointing customer experiences? We at Everest Group looked at the way companies apply the technologies and found the reason for the disappointing experiences.

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Demystifying Cloud Advisory | Blog

Before embarking on a cloud journey, every enterprise should conduct an assessment of their IT landscape by an external advisor or an internal team. But how deep should the evaluation go and what’s covered? Let’s clear up the confusion about cloud advisory and discover how to start your migration and modernization programs off right.

Starting out

To create a successful migration roadmap, due diligence or cloud discovery and assessment is critical because this first phase will directly impact the migration execution and management. Any action plan to migrate and/or modernize workloads to the cloud must consider the source environment and the business requirements.

Most enterprises typically seek help from cloud consulting service providers who bring in technical expertise as well as proprietary tools, accelerators, and frameworks required to deliver the project.

Determining the assessment extent

Choosing between the following two assessment types prevalent in the market will depend on the stage of the cloud transformation journey the organization is in and the cloud consulting support needed:

  • Low-touch assessment: Often, clients want a quick, high-level assessment before deciding to move to cloud. The scope is restricted to business and IT strategy alignment. The objective is to arrive at a top-line business case looking at Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and Return on Investment (ROI) using the information gathered from stakeholder interviews without deploying any discovery tools. These projects typically take one to two months
  • High-touch assessment: This detailed exercise will recommend a roadmap that will help clients later migrate workloads to cloud. Discovery of workloads is largely tool-driven. The migration execution team will reference the analysis and recommendations. Occasionally service providers also conduct Proofs of Concepts (POCs) and migrate a few apps on cloud during this phase, mostly to determine the larger execution program feasibility. Projects at this higher level can take up to five months

Cloud advisory objective and depth

Organizations carry out high-touch assessments to gain an in-depth workload evaluation, resulting in nearly 60 to 70% of clients proceeding with a cloud migration transformation journey. In more than 90% of the cases, we observed clients immediately implementing the decommission/archiving-related recommendations.

The following key activities are conducted in these deep appraisals:

  • Assessing application health: Reviewing application-specific attributes such as availability, criticality, stability (issues per month), etc. is important to identify the apt migration strategy
  • Categorizing using 7Rs analysis: Tagging each workload with the appropriate migration strategy is the major goal. Depending on their characteristics, the workloads are segregated using the 7Rs: Rehost, Replatform, Refactor, Rearchitect, Replace, Retain, or Retire. For each application, a target state for each of the components (Database, Web server, app server, etc.) might also be identified at this stage
  • Planning migration waves: The group of applications that must be migrated together will determine how they are moved. The migration plan serves as a reference for the execution team
  • Determining TCO: The cloud advisory service provider also can be tasked with analyzing the costs of migrating and hosting

Choosing an advisor

Most all service providers have developed cloud advisory capabilities with the market growth. The majority also leverage proprietary tools and accelerators along with the popular third-party cloud migration tools such as Cloudamize, Device42, Movere, etc.

Everest Group believes that the cloud migration and modernization space will continue to evolve in the coming years. Until the dust settles, we see the market reeling with incoherent definitions and interpretations, resulting in dissimilar pricing for advisory services. Understanding what’s involved in the starting assessment will help you select a partner that will set your journey off in the right direction.

To access more information about the future of cloud and cloud management, watch our recent webinar on demand, Hybrid Cloud: The Future of an Ideal Enterprise Architecture. To share your experiences with cloud advisory programs, please reach out to [email protected].

Multi-cloud and Modern Applications: Doomed to Fail | Blog

Are multi-cloud and modern applications a panacea or problem? As the cloud journey scales and newer ways of building workloads get adopted, the industry is divided over the value of these initiatives. With increasing concerns about their viability, enterprises need to address some key questions before moving forward. Read on to learn more.   

In our previous blogs, we covered the dichotomy of multi-cloud and explored choice or strategy and interoperability. Let’s now dive into the debate over these approaches.

While enterprises understand the new digital business models require them to fundamentally change the way they consume cloud and build software, they aren’t necessarily aligned on the best models for the future. Not everyone is completely sold on multi-cloud and some doubts by large enterprises are emerging.

The top five questions enterprises ask are:

  1. Is there a better way to solve business challenges than assuming that multi-cloud and modern applications are the panacea?
  2. Is multi-cloud now a distraction to our technology teams?
  3. Is multi-cloud a “fear uncertainty and doubt” created by the nexus of cloud vendors and their partners?
  4. How can we succeed in multi-cloud when we barely have skills for one cloud to build, manage, and optimize workloads?
  5. Why should we build modern applications this way if they are so complex to build, operate, and sustain?

These questions are understandable – even if not always correct. However, unless enterprises become comfortable and address these challenging issues, they cannot proceed in their cloud or modern applications journey.

What should enterprises do?

Based on our research, we recommend the following three steps to succeed:

  • Acknowledge: First, acknowledge that multi-cloud and modern applications are not a cakewalk but very complex strategic initiatives. Moreover, they may not be relevant for all enterprises or use cases. Stress testing the current operating model, development practices, and existing investments are important before charting this journey. In addition, performing analysis to understand the operating cost of multi-cloud and modern applications is critical
  • Assess: Next, discovering existing technology and business estate, aligning with future priorities, and understanding in-house talent, program risks, and funding capabilities become important. Once these decisions are made, enterprises need to consider architectural choices and technology stacks. Wrong choices on these critical input areas can derail the multi-cloud and modern applications journey
  • Act: Finally, understand it is not a foregone conclusion that multi-cloud and modern applications will always benefit or harm your enterprise. In addition to the technology challenges, operating models must change. Therefore, rationalizing tools, realigning teams, prioritizing funnel funding, and transforming talent are critical. Simulating these workloads before they are built and holding cloud vendors and partners contractually accountable is important. Enterprises should also understand that some existing technology investments will be irrelevant, and they will need to buy newer tools across design, build, and run

What should vendors do?

In the complex landscape, cloud providers, service partners, and technology companies have their own incentives and businesses to run, and none have the client’s best interests as their core agenda. Vendors need to build data-driven models to show the value of multi-cloud and modern applications initiatives and help remove as much subjectivity and intuition from this process. Moreover, building platforms that can simulate these workloads across the lifecycle, as well as the talent, funding, and process transformation needed for this journey, are important. If the returns are underwhelming, enterprises should not bother going down the multi-cloud and modern applications route.

Suppliers should be proactive enough to let clients know of the operating model changes needed to adopt multi-cloud and modern applications. We believe system integrators have a more strategic role to play here because cloud or tech vendors do not understand the client landscape and have less incentive to drive such fundamental operating model transformation.

In the end, it boils down to the conviction enterprises have in multi-cloud and modern applications initiatives.  Using tools and platforms to stress test can move the decision from being a gut feeling to fact-based.

Please share your experiences with multi-cloud and modern applications with me at [email protected].

Discover more about our digital transformation research and insights.

Understanding Digital Platform Costs | Blog

These days, nearly all companies assemble digital platforms so they can better compete in the marketplace. Platforms enable companies to better serve their customers and their employees as well as orchestrate their ecosystem. A platform integrates technology and services in a way that allows a company to operate differently. Hence, the platform world is vastly different from the current IT paradigm. Let’s look at the differences in aspects, including the cost to build, cost to maintain, cost of engineering and IT talent requirements, and need for retiring technical debt.

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Product Management Is Essential for Increasing IT Productivity and Effectiveness | Blog

The Agile manifesto, created 20 years ago, radically changed the software development process, introducing new principles and emphasizing breaking tasks down into bite-sized pieces to achieve more innovation and greater productivity. Although some companies improve productivity by 100-200% in a year in application development and maintenance, most still complain that their IT teams do not operate quickly enough and fail to meet business needs. What makes the difference? An essential factor that must be in place in Agile methods to improve productivity is product management, but it has not been introduced into most companies’ IT departments.

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If IT Is from Mars, Procurement Is from Venus: 5 Steps to Break the Chasm between IT and Procurement for IT Sourcing

It may seem at times that the IT and procurement departments can be on different planets when it comes to IT sourcing services spend. But it doesn’t have to be “us” versus “them.” Read on to learn how to counteract differences in communication styles and behavior patterns, so your entire organization wins.

For a complimentary analysis of your IT sourcing practices, take our IT Sourcing Pinnacle Model® survey to see how you compare against best-in-class or IT sourcing Pinnacle Enterprises™ across leading global organizations.

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How their stars align

Anyone who has set up a new procurement department at a firm with large volumes of untracked indirect spend knows they first need to target the IT department and get involved in their sourcing projects. The reasons are simple – IT has large volumes of spend, generally adopts procurement practices the earliest, and can become the greatest support system in the long-term. The CIO’s office consists of the visionaries who are willing to take high risks of trying something new and are the least process-sensitive of all business units. Often, IT category managers end up closely collaborating with their functional leads, and certain organizations centralize procurement departments in IT. Further, as early adopters, IT prefers to rely on their own intuition and vision and also are willing to serve as highly visible references to other adopter groups in the population (i.e., other business units). Thus, IT is the stepping stone for procurement if they want to establish their foothold in the organization and increase spend under their influence, which is still abysmally low. The typical procurement team is not involved in nearly half of their company’s services spend, as can be seen in the exhibit below.

Procurement influence across indirect spend in Pinnacle Enterprises™ (best-in-class organizations that lead the services sourcing journey) and other enterprises

Source: Services Sourcing Organizational Maturity | Pinnacle Model® Analysis (Everest Group 2020)

Image 1

Colliding orbits 

However, at the same time, the IT function can be highly demanding.  IT is always in upheaval, beset on one side by users and the other by budgets. As in any relationship, IT and procurement tackle multiple such chasms, but their problems range across the same old partnership concerns that exist in modern-day relationships – stonewalling, unsolicited criticism, and the atypical “you never listen to me!” argument. Multiple examples can help prove this analogy: IT and procurement do not have regular meetings (in most organizations, they do not even meet monthly), do not involve each other across stages in sourcing engagements (IT is known to invite procurement late in the sourcing journey, whereas procurement is known to keep IT out of negotiations), and still treat each other as separate entities, instead of working towards a shared goal.

If the two could solve a couple of key issues in this troubled relationship, the IT-procurement partnership can create great profitability for the firm in the long haul. Here are five ways to help strengthen the bonds between these crucial areas:

  1. Support each other’s growth and development: The basic rule of a relationship is that when one is growing at a rapid pace, the other needs to ramp up to provide support. Organizations are being driven to rapidly undertake digital transformation by recent market trends such as migration to cloud services, servitization, and cybersecurity measures becoming the new norm. IT spend is spearheading the growth of an organization, with IT services spend itself expected to reach about US $721 billion by 2025.

 

Global IT services market spend (in US$ billion)
Source: Everest Group’s Application Services State of the Market Report (2021)

Global IT services market spend

This increase in IT services spend requires procurement to rewire their own agendas from being cost-focused towards becoming more value-focused, and also reshaping outsourcing contracts to ensure long-term success in today’s changed outsourcing environment. Further, at this point of rapid growth, it is imperative for procurement to up its IT sourcing game by becoming more agile and reducing sourcing turnaround time, gaining more category intelligence in emerging technology areas such as blockchain and cybersecurity, getting used to negotiating complex licensing agreements, and adjusting contracts to incorporate recent rate increases requested by suppliers due to the current scramble for IT talent

  1. Stay involved throughout the journey: At the onset of any relationship lies trust, and both parties must build trust and loop each other in all aspects related to the sourcing journey. IT can implement this by undertaking steps such as including procurement at the requirements gathering    phase in a sourcing engagement, keeping them abreast about business requirements that can drive supplier capabilities, giving a transparent picture about supplier performance in oral presentations, and ensuring procurement is involved in all conversations about sourcing selection. This deal goes both ways. It is essential for procurement to keep IT onboard for actual negotiation talks and decisions, help price and right-size contracts for deals, and bring category and sourcing intelligence from past successful deals and supplier partnerships

 

  1. Back each other in times of crisis: While risk management has become key in today’s day and age, occasionally, there are crises that no one can predict. Smart strategies help in such scenarios, for instance, during the coronavirus crisis, many IT and procurement leaders worked together to keep their small- and medium-sized suppliers afloat with early payments and by identifying new areas of cost optimization (e.g., creating negotiation opportunities through internal demand management without harming suppliers)

 

  1. Listen to each other: Regular communication is key as each party brings in specific skillsets and typically, IT and procurement should have a monthly cadence at the minimum. The results of proper communication can be seen through an example in sourcing risk mitigation – IT brings a better understanding of the contractual risks, such as the possibility of software license audits, while procurement has the experience within contract risk management to ensure suppliers establish appropriate controls and provide contingency plans. In this scenario, IT and procurement can leverage each other’s skillsets to ensure end-to-end risk coverage

 

  1. Finally, act as partners, and not as boss-subordinates: Traditionally, procurement treats category departments as their end customer and becomes driven towards serving all their needs. However, it is crucial to treat this relationship as a partnership over a boss-subordinate model (where IT is the client and procurement is the department serving them). Procurement should confidently bring in their expertise from strategic sourcing and spend analysis to contracting, benchmarking, and spend management to deliver value within IT. Procurement also should provide constructive criticism towards IT decisions, even if it involves redesigning their buying process

 

This point is key – but it involves a fundamental shift in the way these two departments view themselves. In my last role in procurement consulting driving value in the IT category at a US-based consumer packaged goods firm, I observed that while procurement worked closely with the IT team (with the procurement team even sitting within the IT office), they were often at loggerheads. Being the subordinate department in this case, procurement frequently had to go the extra mile to ensure the IT department did not make destructive moves, such as revealing the baseline to the supplier at an early stage, or unconsciously leaking to selected suppliers that they would definitely be awarded the contract (and thereby sabotaging procurement’s negotiation strategy in the engagement). Being on the procurement side, I did not understand how IT was suffering due to procurement’s clear invasion into their territory. I can imagine that the IT audience reading this blog can talk in detail about procurement’s insufferable demeanor and uninvited settlement on their home ground. By better understanding their differences, IT and procurement can find common ground and realize they can effectively operate in the same universe after all.

Take our survey to get a complimentary analysis of your IT sourcing practices and learn how you compare against best-in-class, or IT sourcing Pinnacle Enterprises™ across leading global organizations. For further details on how we can support sourcing and vendor management leaders, contact Bhanushee Malhotra, Practice Director, at [email protected].

 

Should CIOs Run Engineering Teams as a Parallel Organization to IT? | Blog

The engineering services market is now disrupting the IT services marketplace. The move to technology platforms and the requisite number of engineers causes a dilemma for CIOs. The need for engineering skills is growing faster than IT skills, and companies are investing more in the engineering function, somewhat at the expense of IT. CIOs cannot ignore this phenomenon. Should a CIO create an engineering organization that runs parallel to the IT organization, or should engineers be part of the IT organization and perform some IT functions?

Read more in my blog on Forbes

Why Companies Are Considering Small Tech Firms for Cloud Services | Blog

Cloud as a concept and then as a reality swept through businesses over the past ten years, and most companies moved a lot of their applications to public cloud platforms. AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft’s Azure (the hyperscale service providers) are now powerful influencers in business today. They turned IT into a commodity and then put an as-a-service layer on it, thus influencing business thinking as well as IT. But companies are now competing in a different way.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

Engineering Challenges for Technology Platforms | Blog

Nearly every company is increasing its investment in technology and attempting to create new competitive advantage by assembling technology into platforms that transform how they serve their customers, service their employees, and coordinate their supply chains. Platforms automate existing activities and functions, fundamentally changing how leaders run an organization. Platforms cut across traditional organizational boundaries, incorporating many departmental functions, thus forcing a restructuring of process, organization, and technology. That creates a real challenge for organizations.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

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