Working with hyperscaler cloud providers is now a fundamental component of most enterprise cloud journeys. That’s because these providers— Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Alibaba, Google Cloud and others—have the global scale, the deep expertise, the cutting-edge innovation and the broad range of services needed to take cloud value to the next level.
You should think of your chosen public cloud provider as a business partner, not a supplier. Both parties will be making significant bets on the future growth of each other’s business, so you have to make it a C-level relationship.
Choosing one or more hyperscalers to partner with means making a long-term commitment. Here are key questions to consider:
What unique needs exist within our business? A platform’s capabilities may be best suited to certain business units. And some are well-established in particular industries.
One hyperscaler or many? It’s possible to leverage best-in-class services from a range of different providers, but the decision requires careful thought (see inset).
Do we go all in on the platform? You need to decide upfront how much you plan to leverage hyperscaler platform services versus building your own applications on its infrastructure and having to maintain that environment.
Should we look to co-innovate? Hyperscalers are frequently willing to partner with customers and companies like Accenture to build new services in emerging or niche fields.
Are there geographic or commercial constraints in play? There may be data sovereignty or other regulatory or geographic factors that shape your choice. You also need to consider the commercial context.
Does our existing technology environment inform our choice? Past decisions about architectures, technologies and operating systems may help guide a cloud journey.
What incentives are being offered? Finally, investigate what financial incentives each hyperscaler is offering.
Making the relationship work
Historically, enterprises have been wary of getting locked into a platform they can’t get out of without a great deal of time and expense.
Lock in is not imaginary. It can happen. But the risk is often overstated. And it’s vital not to let it paralyze the organization. Put simply, you need to leverage at least some higher-order hyperscaler services and capabilities if you’re to have any hope of gaining the flexibility, agility and innovation a modern organization requires.
Committing to a hyperscaler relationship also doesn’t mean handing off all responsibility for managing your IT environment. Systems integrators and other ecosystem partners play a key role in maximizing the value from cloud. And, of course, there is your own organization to consider. Make sure you have talent that can:
Manage costs. You need a skilled team that can use transparency tools to ensure consumption and costs do not escalate.
Optimize for the cloud. To start unlocking next-level value, you want to modernize applications or look for SaaS alternatives.
Build the new. You need the technology skills and a culture of innovation to build the products, services and experiences that will fuel future growth.
Maximizing the value
There are several key areas where you can leverage your chosen hyperscaler to significantly enhance the value your organization gets from cloud.
Hyperscalers offer the experience and tools to help migrate successfully, and most are willing to help flatten the initial costs of getting to cloud.
Hyperscalers are continuously innovating. For clients with the appetite for exploring the new, working with the hyperscaler and a third party like Accenture can accelerate the value gained from cloud. For example, Unilever is using IoT (Internet of Things) and intelligent edge services in the Microsoft Azure IoT platform to enable next-generation digital modeling of a physical environment—in this case, a Unilever factory. The collected data is mined for insights and patterns using advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms.1
At the infrastructure level, there’s no question the hyperscaler will have stronger security capabilities than your organization.
At the application and data level, you need to ensure rigorous and continuous focus on ever-evolving cybersecurity risks. The good news is that hyperscalers provide advanced real-time monitoring and detection tools to help.
Hyperscalers have the global economies of scale and are making the necessary investments to continually drive down the energy consumption of their data centers. They are also investing heavily into green data centers supported by renewable energy sources.
Hyperscalers are increasingly building data residency functionality into their data storage solutions, as well as establishing new data centers in a growing number of geographies.
Elevate the cloud conversation
A relationship with a cloud hyperscaler is key to any successful enterprise cloud architecture, and a fundamental step in the journey to get there. Engaging at the very top of the organization is the best way to align both parties and unlock the efficiency, resilience, innovation and value the public cloud offers. When it comes to maximizing cloud value, it pays to aim high and go hyperscale.