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12 Min Read

4 Multi-Cloud Management Pitfalls Digital Services Management Can Help You Avoid

January 19, 2021 / Tony Parsons

Rapid proliferation of cloud computing has defined the past decade of business innovation. Organizations are aggressively seeking and investing in initiatives to increase their cloud leverage, and will rely on a hybrid cloud / multi-cloud solution to meet their infrastructure needs. Most hybrid cloud (private cloud infrastructure plus public cloud) systems will also be multi-cloud (involving multiple public cloud services).

While many organization are embracing multi-cloud and hybrid cloud solutions, the results aren’t quite meeting expectations. Why? Because adopting cloud computing services without a solid digital services management (DSM) plan can lead to wasted time and money, security issues, employee and stakeholder dissatisfaction, and roadblocks in the path of your company’s digital transformation. Sound familiar?

Managing your cloud environment can be fraught with unforeseen obstacles. However, with an effective DSM plan, you can avoid four of the top pitfalls when it comes to multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud management to maximize utilization.

4 Multi-Cloud Management Pitfalls Digital Services Management Can Help You Avoid
Adopting cloud computing services without having a digital service management plan can be costly for your business.

1. Lack of in-house expertise

More and more IT hires are handling multiple roles that are primarily business-related rather than technology oriented. It’s good news for companies trying to scale based on AI and business intelligence, but bad news for companies attempting cloud migration.

Lack of hybrid and multi-cloud expertise is a major obstacle in the way of maximizing cloud efficiency. According to the Unisys Cloud Barometer, organizations that worked with a third party to help with cloud transition were 27% more likely to succeed, compared to those that manage the process solely in-house (71% vs. 56%).

Seek out cloud advisory experts and service management partners who can bring a higher level of expertise to your multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments. By bringing specialized service integration and management (SIAM) knowledge and cloud broker frameworks to the table, they can help anticipate integration barriers and complexities, and guide you towards the best solutions for you.

The right digital services management (DSM) partner can set you up for long-term success through effective collaboration, change management, and infrastructure alignment. You won’t have to compete for an appropriate IT specialist with the required expertise when you have a team with the right knowledge, skills, and tools ready to step in on demand.

2. Expecting Plug-and-Play

Today’s business IT ecosystem is dominated by cloud vendors and service management companies offering out-of-the-box solutions for a range of operational needs. You can use clouds to provide data storage and security, support application development, and drive workflow automation. However, challenges associated with keeping track of cloud spend and utilization may disrupt your digital transformation efforts.

When you implement a hybrid cloud or multi-cloud environment, you gain enhanced flexibility and control over technology resources. However, it also becomes more difficult to ensure consistent performance, service delivery, and security parameters across all third-party vendors. Without accompanying refinement in IT service management (ITSM) practices, you won’t be able to maximize the benefits of cloud computing for your organization.

Even if an integration is successful, there’s no guarantee that your new hybrid cloud or multi-cloud environment will provide the seamless functionality or ROI your users and stakeholders expect. Updated ITSM is critical to ensuring that all cloud investments deliver value at every level of your organization, both immediately after implementation and in the years ahead.

Make ITSM a top priority during every stage of hybrid cloud computing adoption, from the first addition of a public cloud through all further stages of multi-cloud integration. Carefully select public cloud services that support your specific business goals, and then commit to creating a framework to digitally manage these services.

3. Dependency mapping difficulties

Even if you do have significant in-house expertise, dependency mapping can still pose problems for your company when you switch to operating a hybrid cloud model. Every public cloud service interacts differently with other open cloud resources, private cloud infrastructures, and on-premises data storage.

If you were forced to rush your organization through the implementation phase, you may have overlooked interdependencies. This oversight can easily lead to unplanned downtime, interrupted service delivery, and disorganized, inconsistent, or isolated ITSM practices. For example, the failure of an application on Azure to pull necessary information from AWS managed data stores can prevent your end-users from performing their work, delaying important milestones.

If you have a multi-cloud environment, your problem may be amplified. Your customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), content delivery system, and other public cloud services may be hosted on separate cloud resources, but still need to share information. When data is stored on servers managed by different cloud vendors, a breakdown in communication between platforms can be catastrophic for your organization.

It’s tempting to simply write off these issues as a common challenge associated with cloud migration, but your company may continue to deal with the consequences long after you establish a hybrid cloud environment. Management of all cloud services must be carefully coordinated and tested frequently to ensure new additions don’t break a working setup.

Hybrid cloud or multi cloud environments
Hybrid cloud or multi-cloud environments require refined IT service management (ITSM) practices to maximise the benefits of cloud computing.

4. Outsized cloud spending

As you adopt cloud computing, managing your cloud spend may be one of the biggest challenges of all. The cloud is supposed to save money, not inflate your budget, but with continuous billing tied to consumption, you may be blindsided by a large bill when you least expect it.

IT efficiency and cloud cost control go hand in hand. The secret to managing your cloud spend lies in taking full advantage of the visibility into IT costs that a cloud computing model can provide to drive more efficient consumption.

Ease of cloud service provisioning means you may be tempted to bypass capacity constraints in favor of easy user setup. This can rapidly lead to resource sprawl. If capacity constraints can be readily bypassed due to inadequate controls and automation from ITSM/DSM, it can become difficult to reconcile billing with asset and CMBD data. Manage your costs by implementing regular review of cloud services, application access, and resource usage to minimize cloud waste.

Constant changes in cloud offerings and plans can make it difficult to track where money is being wasted on unused features. The granularity of bills generated by multiple cloud vendors simultaneously makes it easier to see where your costs are ballooning, and harder to manage cost attribution. Major cloud platforms, including AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) lack similarity or standardization when it comes to services, plans, APIs, or billing formats and models.

To prevent overspending and drive efficient cloud services consumption, your DSM processes and financial management tools must work together. Without control over cloud spend, scaling will become an unsustainable goal.

Keep Up with Your Competitors

Many organizations have already successfully adopted a multi-cloud or hybrid cloud model and leveraged it for efficiency and profitability. For example, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been the most popular public cloud infrastructure platform and Microsoft Azure is not far behind. Both are capable of providing a robust framework for hybrid cloud implementation, and they can be used simultaneously by your organization with proper integration.

To that end, when you partner with Unisys, you equip yourself to meet and overcome the challenges posed to your organization by multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments, creating a path forward to a sustainable and scalable future. You can gain a competitive advantage for your organization by integrating the latest advancements for full digital transformation, from automation and machine learning to hybrid and multi-cloud coordination and security.

Partnering with our experts in cloud expertise, ITSM, service integration, and SIAM can help you migrate to a hybrid cloud strategy, streamline your ITSM processes and future-proof your cloud investments without causing chaos for end users. Take advantage of our solutions that provide end-to-end support as you move your organization from a reactive posture to a proactive one driven by data analytics, predictive modeling and measurable benchmarks.

To learn more, connect with a Unisys cloud expert today.