How CPG companies can get the most out of their hybrid cloud journey

clouds-road-water

Cloud is no longer just a theoretical concept for retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies. Many have already spent a significant amount of time and resources transforming data centers and implementing private cloud technologies. Increasingly, their sights are set on hybrid cloud – a key element of their digital transformation journeys that combines the capabilities of public cloud with on-premises cloud platforms.

Public cloud has the potential to elevate the benefits retailers and CPGs are already getting from private cloud platforms, such as access to new capabilities, increased business agility and decreased IT costs. Adding public cloud to the mix also gives enterprises access to new levels of innovation, including cloud-native systems and digital technologies beyond what are available in their own data centers. Furthermore, they can extract all the advantages of modern applications designed explicitly for cloud environments.

Driven by workloads

Companies that decide to transition to a hybrid cloud environment need to consider much more than their current costs and potential cost reductions. It is a complex endeavor, and they need to create clear business cases driven by workloads. Consider it this way: If you have an old engine in an old car, and you move that engine to a new car, all you’ll have is an old engine in a new car. That’s how you need to think about moving workloads to the cloud. If you simply move old workloads into a new cloud environment, you may gain some cost efficiencies, but the automation and management will be more or less the same.

You need to enhance the engine – do something different with the workloads — and carefully consider the capabilities you want to achieve. Is it scalability? Availability? Redundancy? Security? Compliance? A combination of these, or something else?  It is important to note that some applications are better positioned to take advantage of cloud tooling, such as .NET and Java applications.

Hybrid cloud requires hybrid IT

Be ready to create hybrid IT, too. As migration to cloud is a journey, any migration activity will  leave a significant portion of workloads on premises. While you prepare for the transition with a multi-skilled cloud operations team that understands agile methodologies, you will also need to rely on the institutional knowledge that’s been built up over decades managing legacy applications and platforms. There needs to be alignment and interoperations between the two teams so nothing falls through the cracks. Basically, the business will not thank you for public cloud if the operations fail.

Companies often decide to move to public cloud so they no longer have to worry about the infrastructure. But again, cloud is not about just infrastructure: Successful hybrid cloud implementations are part of establishing a digital foundation. You need to be able to access underlying infrastructure through code to initiate changes, validate and execute those changes, and digitally track the changes as they happen. This needs to occur with all underlying infrastructure – network, compute and storage.

Digital + cloud = power

Of course, every enterprise wants to become a digital enterprise, and they want to digitize end-to-end processes, not just the underlying technologies, with variations across geographies. When enterprises introduce digitization into their hybrid cloud environments, they can achieve powerful business process automation, driving increased business agility.

Let’s look at an example: CPGs and retailers electronically exchange purchase orders (POs) and invoices, and use a variety of communications to do so, including faxes, emails and electronic data interchange (EDI). Data fields in the POs and invoices can vary widely, and often require manual checks to ensure they are accurate and valid. With digital bots, POs and invoices can be automatically examined, validated and approved. When cloud is added to the mix, these bots can spin up or down in an automated fashion, depending on the need. If there’s a promotion, extra bots can be added to handle increased volume. Once the promotion’s over, the bots can be scaled down.

Transitioning to a hybrid cloud environment can take 12-18 months, at a minimum. It requires sponsorship, a well-planned business case, excellent execution and operational skills, and partners with the scale and capabilities to ensure success. It is an essential piece of a company’s broader and more complex digital transformation or digital foundation.

Download this Ars Technica report sponsored by DXC: Moving Workloads to the Cloud While Keeping Your Business Moving


Rene-Aerdts-headshotRené Aerdts is DXC’s chief technologist for a global consumer goods corporation client, for which he leads the technology strategy and provides the technical vision to advance the objectives of the business. Integral to that process, René drives innovation and inspires selective disruption to enable the client to thrive through accelerating change in the industry.

Comments

  1. Imperative to read… Keep it up..

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  1. […] the shift to a hybrid cloud environment is a journey. No retailer or CPG is going to close up shop on Friday with a traditional cloud environment and […]

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  2. […] Call it the DevSecOps model, a digital foundation that can accept, execute and track valid necessary changes via code – automatically as needed – across all underlying infrastructure, including network, compute and storage. That means if a penetration test finds a vulnerability in your web application firewalls, a fix can be implemented accurately and swiftly to eliminate the vulnerability across the enterprise. This infrastructure-as-a-code approach is critical in helping companies get the most out of their hybrid cloud journey. […]

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