Multi-cloud deployment: What is it & how can businesses benefit

multi-cloud deployment

This comprehensive guide covers the use of services from multiple cloud vendors, including the benefits businesses gain and the challenges IT teams face when using multi-cloud.

Cloud services from AWS, Microsoft, Google have increased in popularity over the last decade. As a result, organizations are utilizing cloud services from multiple vendors, leading to the aptly-names paradigm of multi-cloud. TechRepublic released a cheat sheet on how to navigate through the multi-cloud era and what it means for your business.

Executive Summary

  • What is multi-cloud? Multi-cloud is the practice of using cloud services from multiple heterogeneous cloud services, as well as specialized platform-as-a-service (PaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), or software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers. Multi-cloud also includes private clouds and hybrid clouds with multiple public cloud components.
  • What advantages do multi-cloud deployments offer? Multi-cloud is about enabling choice – to be able to pick and choose components from multiple vendors – allowing organizations and application developers to use the best fit for their intended purpose.
  • Should my business use a multi-cloud approach? Generally, a multi-cloud deployment will be useful for organizations that have specific needs or dependencies to satisfy.
  • How popular is multi-cloud? This is happening on a case-by-case basis. As organizations outgrow the capabilities of their cloud service providers, services from additional vendors may be needed.
  • How do I build a multi-cloud deployment? A multi-cloud deployment should be carefully planned to avoid interoperability issues. The use of cloud management platforms is recommended.

What is multi-cloud?

Multi-cloud refers to the practice of using services from multiple heterogeneous cloud service providers, including AWS, Google Cloud Platform, or Microsoft Azure, as well as specialized platform-as-a-service (PaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), or software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers. Multi-cloud also comprises the use of private cloud environments and hybrid cloud environments that leverage more than one public cloud platform.

As an architectural choice, multi-cloud can be used for a variety of reasons – the most obvious one is disaster recovery: While cloud vendors offer a variety of options and SLAs for redundancy to guarantee uptime and backups to ensure data integrity, both of these rely on the supposition that the vendor’s entire infrastructure does not fail at once.

While most workloads can be built to be vendor-neutral (this flexibility is a primary benefit of multi-cloud), some workloads may benefit from using specific cloud platforms. Roughly one-third of the IT professionals surveyed in the TechRepublic Premium’s Managing the multi-cloud survey indicated their organization uses a specialized application or solution provider, such as Google Drive, Cloudfare, etc. These are closer to services than they are cloud platforms – while there is feature duplication between these similar companies as with public cloud, these products do not support general compute workloads commonly associated with cloud computing.

What advantages do multi-cloud deployments offer?

Multi-cloud’s main advantage is that organizations and application developers can pick and choose components from multiple vendors and use the best fit for their intended purpose. To draw a comparison, multi-cloud is more á la carte than d’hôte.

For organizations with an outsized dependency on the Windows ecosystem, leveraging some Microsoft Azure services may be beneficial, while the same organization may use Google Cloud for machine learning and analytics and/or Amazon for public-facing web services.

Another benefit of multi-cloud deployments is cost savings. Competitive pricing is a strategy used by multiple vendors to entice customers to migrate from a traditional, on-premises data center to a hybrid or public cloud model. There is an important caveat to this approach: The time required to create integrations between clouds, with cost savings as a primary motivator, can be counterproductive, as developing those integrations can cost more than savings they would produce.

Should my business use a multi-cloud approach?

Generally, a multi-cloud deployment will be useful for organizations that have specific needs or dependencies to satisfy, such as integrations of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, or reliance on Windows software or specific third-party solutions. Multi-cloud offers a great deal of flexibility in how resources are managed, though the difficulty increases roughly exponentially with the number of integrations added. Cloud management platforms can be used to ease the deployment and integration of various cloud services.

Presently, cloud providers are not engaging in vendor lock-in – putting up barriers to interoperability, or hampering migration to a different provider – although customer retention is expected to become an increasing concern as cloud services are commoditized.

According to Carson Sweet, CTO of cloud security firm CloudPassage, “Retention in most of the major providers is achieved by crafting a value proposition that entices users to use more services on a broader scale. The idea now is to get customers to the point of being ‘all-in’ of the customer’s own volition….buyers have largely evolved well beyond getting ‘tricked’ into lock-in.”

How popular is multi-cloud?

Multi-cloud is continuing to gain popularity as competitors to AWS have appeared, and particularly as specialized cloud technology vendors and service vendors have gained traction.

As organizations grow, it may be the case that needs for individual teams or projects are not met by their existing cloud provider, likewise,  for mergers and acquisitions, not all business operations can be easily migrated to the cloud infrastructure of the acquiring company. These are optimal cases for adding a secondary public cloud provider for a multi-cloud deployment.

How do I build a multi-cloud deployment?

Migrating to a multi-cloud deployment is not a decision that should be entered into lightly. While the proliferation of open-source software has greatly decreased issues with vendor lock-in, the potential for interoperability problems to occur still exists. Cloud management platforms can be used to avoid potential issues with common configurations, though some corner cases can hamper successful deployment. Particularly, as vendor-specific APIs are somewhat opaque and not necessarily static, the ability to launch a multi-cloud deployment can be complicated by mutual incompatibilities.

Check out TechRepublic for additional resources on cloud development and how it is changing the industry.

www.allonline365.com

Resource Credit | TechRepublic

11 Important KPIs for a Highly Effective HR Manager

KPIs

As the competition grows, workplaces around the world are facing pressure to attract, engage, and retain employees. Under the scrutiny to demonstrate the value they add to a company’s strategy, many human resources (HR) departments are turning to analytics supported by key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics.

Assessing HR Goals

HR managers are responsible for balancing the needs and goals of both the company and the workforce. From talent acquisition to performance management, there are a number of goals that an HR manager needs to prioritize every year that align with the organization’s overall business objectives.

Here are some specific S.M.A.R.T goals a typical HR manager would be working towards;

  1. Hire 20 new employees this year to grow the company’s headcount by 5%
  2. To create an engaging work environment and reduce turnover by advancing professional development and implementing a referral program
  3. To improve employee performance and productivity by 10%

Once you have clearly identified goals, it’s time to start thinking about the measurable values that you will use to track and determine your progress towards achieving them.

11 HR KPIs and Metrics to Monitor

In today’s data-driven world, the role of HR is changing from an administrative and operational function to a more strategic and advisory one. HR managers are using supportive data quantifiable measurements, like KPIs and metrics, to back up their employee hiring and retention related decisions.

To measure the effectiveness of your HR department, not all KPIs are relevant. You can come with KPIs for everything from compensation and culture to employment and performance – but you don’t want to measure them all. Not only is it extremely time consuming, but it’s also an inefficient use of your time. Once you have selected the KPIs that align with that your department plans to achieve this quarter or year, you can place them in a KPI dashboard for a quick snapshot of how you are performing.

Using the examples developed in the previous section, here are 3-4 corresponding KPIs that an HR manager could use in an operational dashboard to monitor progress.

  1. Hire 20 new employees this year to grow the company’s headcount by 5%
    • Cost per Hire: Shows the number of resources invested in acquiring talent
    • Recruiting Conversion Rate: Helps identify the best recruitment method
    • Open Job Requisitions: Shows how many jobs are currently open
    • Job Offer Acceptance Rate: Shows how many job offers have been accepted (working towards your 20 job goal)

2. To create an engaging work environment and reduce turnover by advancing professional development and implementing a referral program

    • Absenteeism Rate: Shows the amount of labor and productivity lost due to sickness or leave
    • Turnover Rate: Indicates the success of retention efforts
    • Employee Satisfaction Score: Using a company-wide survey, this is a key metric for understanding talent retention
    • Net Promoter Score: Measures how likely an employee is to recommend the company to their network

3. To improve employee performance and productivity by 10%

    • Performance Rating: Rating is achieved through internal performance reviews
    • Employee Productivity Rate: Helps to measure workforce efficiency over time
    • Average Time to Achieve Goals: Quantifies how effective your employees are at meeting the goals they set each year

One of the biggest challenges with developing goals and KPIs is making them relatable and realistic. That’s why it’s important to include your employees and managers in these bigger discussions. When employees are engaged and understand how their work relates to the company’s overarching goals, they will be more committed to using and optimizing analytics.

Start Building your HR KPI Dashboard

Now that you have established your HR goals for the year and the KPIs and metrics you plan to use to track progress, you can start creating your KPI dashboards. To make your dashboards super effective and useful for your role and department, we have a few tips to share on building your dashboards that we wrote about in a previous post. Included in the post are 10 best practices and some advice on business intelligence solutions designed for Microsoft Dynamics that will help you get started quickly.

www.allonline365.com

Resource Credit | Jet Global 

Software as a Service (SaaS): what is it, and why it matters to your retail business

SaaS

Is your business ready for Saas? Chances are, you’re already using it to some degree. From email and online conferencing to office tools, it’s likely that in recent years you’ve shifted to using certain applications that your employees can connect to and use over the internet.

SaaS is a complete software solution hosted in a public cloud, which you purchase on a subscription basis from a technology provider like us.

Microsoft describes SaaS as such: “You rent the use of an app for your organization, and your users connect to it over the internet, usually with a web browser. All of the underlying infrastructure, middleware, app software, and app data are located in the service provider’s data center. The service provider manages the hardware and software, and with the appropriate service agreement, it will ensure the availability and the security of the app and your data as well.”

One of the main benefits of SaaS is that it allows your organization to get up and running quickly with a technology solution, at minimal upfront cost. Let the provider handle all the hardware, middleware, and software maintenance and updates. You simply pay to use the applications you need for your business.

SaaS or on-premises?

Businesses are using SaaS and the cloud, but many are yet to shift their mission-critical workloads away from traditional computing environments. According to consulting firm McKinsey, most (60%) of the businesses surveyed have less than 10% of their workloads on cloud platforms at present. But the tide is turning, and more businesses are starting to get serious about adopting the cloud at scale. Over the next three years, McKinsey reports; 80% of surveyed businesses plan to increase and even double their cloud penetration. 

There are many reasons why:

  • Businesses recognize that SaaS is a great option if you’re looking to eliminate the upfront costs of purchasing and installing a new solution.
  • Since you don’t need to buy or maintain hardware, middleware, or software you can gain access to sophisticated enterprise applications, such as ERP and CRM, in a much more affordable way. It’s a great option for organizations that don’t have the resources to handle complex infrastructure and software themselves.
  • In many instances, SaaS has proven to reduce overall IT total cost of ownership too, removing the burden of maintaining costly infrastructure because you no longer need to manage your own IT in the same way. You only pay for what you use, you get to spread out your costs over time via a subscription license, and customer support and upgrades are all included.

But SaaS isn’t just about saving money.

In an interview with CIO Dive, Michael Warrilow, VP analyst at research firm Gartner, stressed that businesses must look beyond cost alone if they want to unlock the full potential of the cloud. He said that businesses that succeed approach it in terms of what value the cloud can unlock that traditional computing approaches cannot.

SaaS could offer your business unparalleled speed and flexibility, allowing you to connect your organization in real-time, promote true inter-company collaboration and support meaningful analytics. 

it promises to mobilize your workforce by giving users secure access to SaaS apps and data from any computer or mobile device. A service provider like us will ensure the security and integrity of your data, and you won’t need to worry about developing different apps to run on different devices; we handle that too. And because all of your data is stored in the cloud, you won’t lose any important information if an individual’s device fails.

How SaaS can transform your retail business

Retailers which make the transition to SaaS can look forward to transforming every aspect of their organization for the better, from the customer experiences they provide, to how their employees work, to the underlying business processes which support their operations.

Put your customer experience first

Experience matters more than ever in retail, and it’s up to you to offer personal, customized, digital, and social experiences that will capture your customers’ attention and keep them coming back. A SaaS approach can help you rearchitect your systems for unified commerce. It gives you the flexibility and agility to add new functionality as and when you need it and gives you real-time access to operational, financial and customer data across all channels.

Empower your workers to be more productive

SaaS’s innate ‘work anywhere’ characteristics allow you to give your workers greater freedom to work on the go and access the information they need while ensuring a consistent user experience and keeping data secure.

Grow your business with ease

Cloud-based software allows you to grow quickly and efficiently by scaling up or down with your business needs. That’s because you no longer have to own and maintain the additional servers required to support peak loads during sales or product launches, for example.

Expand into new markets

SaaS allows you to unify your business processes across functions and geographies, and rapidly build an overseas presence with minimal upfront investment.

Is SaaS safe and secure?

Short answer: yes. Moving your mission-critical applications to the cloud does not require a security trade-off. In fact, your business stands to gain many benefits from the security built into the cloud. 

Our SaaS solutions take advantage of the Microsoft Azure cloud, one of the safest cloud environments in the world. Together with Microsoft, we are committed to addressing the most rigorous security and privacy demands, and offering the highest levels of trust, transparency and regulatory compliance.

Research by McKinsey on cloud adoption demonstrates that most chief information security officers have moved beyond the question, ‘Is the cloud secure?’ “In many cases, they acknowledge that cloud-service providers’ security resources dwarf their own, and are now asking how they can consume cloud services in a secure way, given that many of their existing security practices and architectures may be less effective in the cloud”, the consulting firm said in the paper, “Making a secure transition to the public cloud”.

Gartner cautions CIOs to not let their concerns about cloud security inhibit their organizational use of cloud services. Public cloud workloads are actually expected to suffer at least 60% fewer security incidents than those in traditional data centers.

“CIOs need to ensure their security teams are not holding back cloud initiatives with unsubstantiated cloud security worries,” Jay Heiser, research vice president at Gartner, said. “Exaggerated fears can result in lost opportunity and inappropriate spending.”

Is SaaS the best option for you?

If you are spending a lot of money maintaining your current software solutions, it might be time to consider a new approach. In a recent blog post, we shared the findings of a study by Stripe, which reported that over two-thirds of businesses are being held back by outdated and custom-built technology systems.

So, if you find yourself in a position where the systems and software you’re running aren’t supported anymore, or your ongoing system maintenance costs are escalating, or you want to roll out new functionality but face months of development and deployment time, know that there are other options available to you, SaaS might be the answer you’re looking for.

LS Central is now available purely in the cloud. To find out more, get in touch with us on  info@allonline365.com or  +27 (21) 205 3650.

www.allonline365.com

Resource Credit | LS Retail

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