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Flexera 2020 Predictions: How to Keep Your Head in the Cloud

VMblog Predictions 2020 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2020.  Read them in this 12th annual series exclusive.

By Jim Ryan, President & CEO of Flexera

How to Keep Your Head in the Cloud

I believe that in 2020 the industry is finally going to wake up and realize what a complete mess cloud spend truly is. Most people conflate cloud with being cheaper and easier, and in many instances, that's true. But sometimes it's far more economical to stay where you are with bricks and mortar. 

Many companies quickly rush to the cloud without really thinking through the consequences. My recommendations for any CIO or CFO presented with cloud options is to pause, take a breath, and understand exactly what business problem you're trying to solve.  

I certainly don't believe the cloud is more expensive in every case, or that it's a bad alternative, or it's something that's going to go away. Cloud isn't a fad. But I do believe it's a little bit overhyped. I'm always reluctant whenever I hear any buzzword. "Digital transformation" sounds great. How can anyone argue against digital transformation? It's like arguing against peace. But when it comes to leading digital transformation, you need to step back and decide what you're trying to accomplish.  

It's essential to discover what you already have

Companies that are contemplating the cloud, or are already on their cloud journey, first need to discover everything in their environment, whether it's on-premises, SaaS or in the cloud. I would argue that more than 90 percent of all the companies in the world have no clue exactly what's out there. It starts with clear transparent visibility. 

Then you need to rationalize or normalize your entire IT environment. In doing so, you'll pull back millions or tens of millions of data points. Then you'll need a consolidated view of your state of affairs to handle all that information. It's then and only then that you can start to break down discrete components that you can lift and shift to the cloud. With that information in hand, you can begin to run a cost-benefit analysis of your security, financial and technical concerns to decide whether a move to the cloud is the right call. 

Helping companies get a handle on costs

We see all sorts of use cases at Flexera. One large financial institution with decentralized purchasing wanted to empower their engineers to write great innovative solutions. But they lacked governance over that purchasing. The institution found that they had $10 million of uncontrolled spend going through a major public cloud provider, with much of it paid for on company credit cards. That's an untenable, unsustainable environment. That institution needed to have governance over that spend, or that $10 million would grow into $20 million, $30 million or more.  

We've seen other cases where companies have leveraged technology, some of which is from Flexera, to discover everything that's in their cloud environment. We commonly find 25 to 35 percent or more in savings for companies once they understand what their usage is and are able to negotiate better deals.

Consider cloud in the greater context

One other thing I would encourage any executive to consider as they're moving to the cloud is to understand that it's almost impossible to talk about any issue as only a cloud issue. Most large enterprises will have on-premises infrastructure, applications and data centers for at least another ten years.

You can't discuss cloud without understanding the impact on, and your cost basis with, on-premises. 


About the Author

jim ryan 

Jim Ryan is obsessed with candor, passion, professionalism, keeping score, celebrating success and giving back. He is known for driving change, developing talent and encouraging transparency, leading to Flexera consistently being named a "top workplace".

He guides our company as its chief executive and provides strategic vision as we move forward. Jim has been with the company since 1998, spending seven of his years overseas running our international operations. Prior to becoming CEO in 2016, Jim was Flexera's Chief Operating Officer.

Prior to that, his roles have included everything from leading global sales and services, running our Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region and managing many other functions within the company. Jim was instrumental in leading the spin out of Macrovision's software business unit to the private equity firm of Thoma Bravo and, of course, our subsequent investments with Ontario Teacher's Pension Plan (OTPP) and TA Associates. Before that he held roles with Reliant Data Systems and Unison Software (now IBM Tivoli).

Published Friday, January 03, 2020 7:45 AM by David Marshall
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