Michael Howard Jul 22, 2021 12:43:00 PM 9 min read

Setting up for cloud modernisation success

Shane Oerder has considerable network and solution architecture expertise under his belt, from Gen-I to Spark, Axon to Co-Op Money. Shane was also the Chairperson of the New Zealand Employees Credit Union before their Transfer of Equity to Steelands Credit Union. Currently he is the Specialist Solution Architect for AWS in New Zealand. For the full interview listen to Episode 13 of our podcast Beta & Beyond.    

What are some of the main business drivers for migrating to the cloud? What are you seeing in AWS that's happening out there in the market?

Shane: We often find that customers start the kind of journey focusing on cost reduction, and it's definitely a good place to begin the process. But those cost benefits are always almost always overtaken quite early in the process by some of the other benefits, depending on the type of the business. For example, many businesses will achieve significant cost saving early in the cloud journey simply by exiting the expensive datacentre contracts. But others find that the agility to deliver new products faster or the increase in staff productivity are even more valuable. Other businesses will value the global reach or improved security. So cost in the end turns out to be a much smaller part of the overall picture.

According to Gartner, 90% of CEOs believe their business will be digitally disrupted, but 67% of business leaders believes you need to innovate faster in order to remain competitive. And 79% of CIOs believe modernisation is making their IT organisations better prepared for change. So how does modernisation help with this?

Shane: We're all familiar with those many examples of disruptive innovation that we've seen in the recent years like with Uber, Netflix, Airbnb, the only real choice for many businesses today is whether to wait for somebody else to disrupt them or do it themselves. And this new normal means that leaders really must splice their digital DNA into their culture and the process of the technologies to transform into these top performing organisations. And the further they progress up the path, the more these strategies lead to more cost effective ways to do newer things. For example, deconstructing legacy monoliths often leads to greater agility and flexibility, while at the same time de-risking those management release cycles. Another good example of a modern data strategy is where businesses leverage their most valuable assets, and they can access data machine learning, which is very powerful and effective way to gain new insights into their businesses.

Does AWS have any benchmarks on the outcomes enabled by this kind of modernisation?

Shane: Absolutely, AWS has seen many thousands of customers from every type of business modernise. And we've typically seen gains such as 19% reduction in overall infrastructure spend, or a 42% reduction in overall cost per user per application. As I've mentioned before, these gains aren't just financial. We also see a 38% decrease in the time to deploy a new application into production, and a 343% increase in code deployment frequency, which translates directly into business agility. On top of this, we also see things like a 57% increase in downtime and a 38% increase in high severity incidents.

What foundations should organisations have in place?

Shane: At a high level, there are four main pillars that form a solid foundation for migration. The first one is alignment and conviction from the senior leadership across the business, both at a program and functional level. Modernisation needs to be driven by the business and not by technology. The second pillar is to identify those clear, quantifiable and top down goals. The days of installing technology for the sake of the technology and then expecting the business to conform to the way the technology works are  long gone, it's important to link those activities to the business needs, and then deliver outcomes that can be measured against the need.

The next pillar is to establish well-trained teams, led by team leads who are accountable for delivering on the goals that you've already identified. These teams don't have to come from within the business. AWS has an extensive Partner Network who can bring valuable experience into any team and help that team to accomplish their goals while upscaling the team at the same time. The final pillar is to build experience, modernisation is perfectly suited to the Agile principle of failing fast. Standing up a small set of test infrastructure isn't time consuming or expensive, like it used to be in the on-premise environment, which means that it costs almost nothing to test out different possible options and select the optimal solution based on that experience that's gained.

What are some of the enablers in of that organisation should have in place to build on these foundations?

Shane: AWS have developed an extensive range of tools and techniques to help customers in the journey. For example, we publish the well architected framework which is a set of architectural patterns. They provide prescriptive guidance in the five key aspects which is operational excellence, security, reliability, performance, efficiency and cost optimisation.

Another example would be a modern migration and modernisation readiness assessment that AWS will typically run in conjunction with business stakeholders to identify the common blockers and help smooth the path to migration and modernisation. We've also seen or we also provide detailed guidance around the size of the composition of the teams, we find that teams comprised of participants from around the business working on individual tasks is far more successful in the old functional based teams. Agile processes like DevOps and CICD are far more effective in the cloud environment than the traditional mechanisms.

And lastly, we consider the data that is the new oil, meaning that making effective use of the data that's available in your business is becoming vital to almost all organisations, machine learning and artificial intelligence are now becoming standard tools in that information technology toolbox. And AWS provides a wide range of databases, migration tools, that dramatically simplify the task of uploading this data to the cloud and hydrating those data lakes.

This is a snippet from the full interview with Shane Oerder from AWS. To listen to the full interview with Shane , head to Episode 13 of our podcast Beta & Beyond.


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