Digital transformation remains top of the agenda for most IT leaders. Yet in the current Great Re-Platforming era, many say they are not moving as fast as they need. Complexities in app modernisation and migration already pose significant roadblocks; this is further compounded by economic uncertainties, tightening budgets, and a persistent talent shortage.

Disconnected architectures give rise to complexities

The Great Re-Platforming, with different operating models on multiple clouds, increases the fragmentation of operations and security. This hinders app development as each cloud may require teams to use proprietary tools, making them siloed and incompatible with each other.

The ‘weight’ of existing enterprise apps for modernisation and migration forms another significant bump. With edge becoming a key environment for the next generation of apps, the challenges of managing multiple clouds with apps in different environments and stages of modernisation will increase. To top it off, IT leaders struggle with fragmented app access for employees, affecting productivity and team collaboration.

“Any increase in IT budgets is out shadowed by the steeper increase in costs.”


Current market conditions are also throwing a spanner in the works. Joe Baguley, Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, EMEA of VMware weighs in: “Any increase in IT budgets is far out shadowed by the steeper increase in costs, highlighting the importance of being efficient not just on CAPEX, but OPEX too. How can they consolidate what they have, optimise with workloads in place, and adopt multi-clouds and tools in the right place? These are made even harder to address due to the current skills shortage the industry is facing.”

These roadblocks are further compounded by end-users’ evolving expectations, driven by accelerated digital transformation. “Employees and customers across the industry are now expecting services to be delivered digitally on their devices, whenever they want and wherever they are at. This puts pressure on IT leaders to deliver services at scale, with new sets of features and capabilities rolled out at speed, and to do so securely. But right now, as Baguley mentioned, the demand for talent and skillsets far outstrips the current supply,” explains Guru Venkatachalam, Vice President & CTO, APJ of VMware.

Paving the way for a cloud-smart strategy

Savvier businesses are adopting a cloud-smart approach to meet these challenges and maximise their returns on cloud investment. A cloud-smart architecture enables teams to navigate the inherent complexities of a multi-cloud environment with efficiency and consistency in infrastructure, operations, security, and governance. This typically comprises the following elements:

Accelerated application development, which is attainable by moving away from a siloed cloud infrastructure and investing in a unified developer experience so that businesses can build apps anywhere, driving faster and better innovation. Organisations will now gain access to private, public, and edge clouds securely, where developers and operations teams can collaborate in a frictionless way.

A consistent enterprise infrastructure, one that meets enterprise application requirements for rapid migration and app modernisation. This also provides resiliency, scalability, and security across all cloud environments and runs on the same operational model everywhere, whether in the data centre, across clouds, or at the edge.

A frictionless end-user experience, which means employees can access enterprise apps anywhere, on any device, at any time. This gives greater autonomy to employees in the new normal of hybrid and remote work and empowers them to stay productive and connected on their terms.

How to make the transition from cloud chaos to cloud smart

Moving to a cloud smart state requires an architected and planned approach, and this often follows three key steps.

Firstly, businesses will have to deploy the right cloud for the right app based on factors including cost, technology, governance, and data access. Invest in a unified developer experience with cloud smart architecture and accelerate app development on any cloud to improve developer productivity no matter where you are building your app.

Next, run apps in a consistent infrastructure across multiple clouds with security and cost efficiency. They are on the same operational model regardless of where you run, whether in the data centre, at the edge, or in the cloud.

Lastly, deliver a frictionless experience for employees and increase employee productivity. It may be legacy apps in the data centre or SaaS apps in new cloud-native platforms, but employees should be able to use a variety of apps seamlessly and securely from any location.

For Rob Carter, CIO of FedEx, keeping an $87 billion business with over 560,000 team members agile means having in place what he has dubbed “the dominant architecture”. Hear what else he has to say about how this dominant architecture, along with a shifting mindset that allows distributed teams to leverage them effectively, is the driving force behind the next wave of innovation.

Podcast contributors:

  • Rob Carter
  • Yadin Porter de León

Experts cited that best practices should be based on people, processes, and technology—and in that order. These include:

  • Defining cloud policies and processes
  • Developing an app-first approach together with business
  • Aligning business and compliance requirements with IT priorities
  • Leveraging multi-cloud management platforms and services

For one organisation that Venkatachalam worked with, taking a cloud-smart approach enabled it to modernise its private cloud to deliver cloud-like services internally, adopt a consistent infrastructure across multiple clouds, and gain the flexibility to leverage the features and functionalities across any cloud as it needs.

But the benefits of cloud-smart go beyond IT efficiencies and innovations; cloud-smart organisations cited better business outcomes.

“Almost all cloud-smart organisations have seen improved revenue growth and profitability as a result of their approach to multi-cloud. They also reported being able to better to recruit and retain top talents and find it easier to manage their data in whichever nation they reside,” shares Baguley.

Learn more about cloud smart architectures here.