Digital workloads are shifting to the cloud at a rapid pace. Gartner estimates that by 2025 more than 95% of new digital workloads will run on cloud-native platforms.
This rapid transformation offers unprecedented opportunities for companies across every industry – from manufacturing to healthcare to retail. A cloud-native approach empowers development of revenue-driving services and applications, as well as internal solutions that streamline operations and lower costs.
Beyond the promise, there are misconceptions and possible pitfalls on the path to adopting a cloud-first strategy. In this Q&A blog, I will draw on my experience as Twisthink’s solution architect and cloud team lead to help you envision cloud-led digital transformation for your business that drives innovation – without overextending your teams or your budget.
What are the benefits of the cloud for digital transformation?
Rather than your company building a data center, servers, hard drives, and networks – and having to build those fixed assets within your own infrastructure – you can look to a cloud provider to handle the heavy lifting.
AWS often speaks of undifferentiated heavy lifting. In other words, how well you run and manage servers is not going to make your business better in nearly every case. By looking to a cloud platform for the foundational services that run your architecture, you’re essentially saying, “You run a solid computing environment for me so that I don’t have to focus on that. Instead, I can focus on building the solutions that are actually going to scale my business.”
What types of enterprises should explore the cloud as a pathway to innovation?
There’s a spectrum of benefits depending upon how far along an organization is on their path to digital transformation.
On one end of the spectrum, we work with startups where the question is how to get their product idea to market quickly, how to test the product out, and validate the proof of concept. The ability to quickly scale up with a cloud architecture helps them because they can test their idea in days or weeks, instead of months or years – and they only pay for what they use.
On the other end of the spectrum, we work with mature enterprises that have deep investments in their existing technology and may feel somewhat entrenched. This means they are spending time maintaining this infrastructure, rather than focusing on what’s going to scale their business. By pivoting these workloads into a cloud-native architecture, they gain greater IT agility and time to innovate high-value solutions for their customers and their operations.
What are common misconceptions about cloud computing and how it benefits organizations?
There are a few. One is people having an oversimplified or narrow view of cloud capabilities. For instance, a company may think the cloud is restricted to software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, such as document-sharing platforms, customer relationship management, or project management systems. But the cloud is so much bigger and broader than this.
Modern cloud platforms offer frameworks that help you custom build, develop, and run your applications, your workloads, and your products. With the support of a cloud service, enterprise developers gain access to powerful, reusable tools and building blocks that can help you scale your business.
Another misconception is that cloud technologies are technically difficult and inaccessible. We find that once software developers get past the changes in terminology and patterns, they see the similarities between the cloud and on-premise IT architectures. With access to turnkey solutions that let them focus on different types of challenges, they can move away from having to design and build everything from the ground up.
Finally, data security is a big area of concern for companies considering building solutions within the cloud. Often, companies think they can’t trust anyone else with their data or to ensure their compliance requirements are met. Security is a non-trivial, impactful consideration, but it’s an area that’s gotten so much attention, so much diligence, and so much coverage in the cloud that there is a path to a secure cloud with the right due diligence and strategies.
How does Twisthink help companies innovate within the cloud?
The cloud brings advanced technologies, such as machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), within reach for companies. Rather than needing to figure out how to build AI from the ground up, you gain access to the benefits arising from massive investments by cloud service providers. Companies can quickly leverage innovative frameworks and put them to use in their applications and solutions.
One example is our work with Flexco, a manufacturer of tools that keep mining industry belts running smoothly. Using Amazon Web Services (AWS) ML tools, we were able to build a scalable internet of things (IoT) monitoring solution to detect belt anomalies that improved repair and maintenance processes at mining operations around the world.
Another example is our work with charity: water, a non-profit agency building sustainable clean water projects in rural communities around the world. The organization needed to ensure their well pumps delivered clean water reliably. We worked with them to create an IoT solution combining a physical sensor to monitor performance and water flow, a cloud platform to alert teams of issues, and AI technology through AWS to guide a predictive maintenance schedule.
The cloud also helps us shepherd new solutions, applications, or IoT devices from idea to proof of concept more quickly. Instead of having to order servers, set up a data center, and build out networks, companies can simply start building solutions that they can then get out in front of their customers.
The cloud ecosystem benefits from delivering speed to innovation that isn’t there otherwise, along with a deep stack of technologies that support scalability. Large organizations can easily scale new solutions to global operations, and startups have the agility they need to expand solution reach and capabilities as they grow their operations.
What makes the Twisthink cloud innovation process unique?
As we’ve discussed, the cloud can act as a springboard to innovation, but there’s more to digital transformation success than access to the technology.
Twisthink helps companies do the upfront work in understanding their customers and demographic to make sure they are building the right things.
Once companies know what they need to build, Twisthink delivers cloud platform expertise. We understand their ins and outs from our deep experience. We can help you design an efficient and scalable workload in the cloud to support your applications. In partnership with AWS, we also have access to expertise to optimize decision making for the best outcomes for the overall solution.
Twisthink also has deep experience with various deployment types for companies across industries with different-sized cloud footprints. No matter where a company is in their cloud journey, we can help them determine the next best steps to deliver or expand cloud offerings for your business and your customers.
Ready to harness the cloud for innovation? Let’s start thinking together.