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Intelligently shift budgets from legacy IT to the cloud


By Eric D. Brown

Transformation is a word you hear daily (or even more frequently) if you work in today's IT world. Every forward-thinking organization is looking at their current information technology architecture and infrastructure and trying to determine how to take their organization from their legacy IT to a cloud-based infrastructure. Whether this transformation is driven by economic, competitive, or functionality reasons, IT groups are looking to change how they serve the business.

One step at a time

A report from Information Week claimed that both private and public organizations allocate 70 percent of their technology budget to legacy IT, while a more recent article claims that, for federal government agencies, that figure is 76 percent. With three-fourths of IT spending allocated toward legacy system maintenance, the cloud shift is still in its infancy within most organizations. Continuing to spend money on systems that aren't going to help an organization move efficiently and effectively into the future is hardly an ideal or desired use of budget (or time).

There are some changes coming within many organizations. IDG Enterprise's 2015 Cloud Computing Survey cites similar numbers, reporting that a whole quarter of the 962 qualified respondents' IT budgets are to be allocated to cloud computing within the next year. While that still isn't a majority of the budget, it's a step in the right direction for many organizations. This is an excellent sign, because to achieve lasting benefits from these upgrades within an organization, organizations must find a way to shift the budget from legacy to cloud-based architectures.

The time is now


In addition to budget, companies must shift the thinking of IT professionals from legacy IT to the cloud. For example, according to CIO, the American Cancer Society (ACS) is using cloud-based identity management systems to manage all aspects of 'single sign-on' throughout the entire ACS technology infrastructure. Before the move to the cloud, ACS had an amalgamation of legacy systems that were used to provide identity management; few systems were tightly integrated with each other, making single sign-on virtually impossible.

Most organizations realize that cloud transformation is the way of the future, and there are some organizations that are on the cutting edge. For example, software company NAVA Solutions needed to move to the cloud while maintaining their existing infrastructure. They implemented a private cloud solution that enabled NAVA to dev test in their private cloud while enhancing NAVA's existing capabilities with Amazon Web Services. Automating and streamlining IT helped NAVA cut costs, reduce points of failure, and focus on innovation. According to an HPE report, at NAVA, "Instances may run anywhere from 1 hour to 1 week, but regardless, they are now highly automated, leaving cycles for administrators to focus on more value-added tasks to further streamline operations, drive down costs, and increase agility."

While transformation is often discussed within many organizations today and many IT professionals agree it's necessary, most IT budgets haven't caught up with the discussion. And since there is no "secret stash" of money, IT needs to look at ways to become more efficient with both people and physical resources to enable reallocation of cost savings to higher value areas. Transformation is necessary for any organization to compete into the future, but to become reality, investments need to shift rapidly to the cloud to make room for innovation.

To learn more about accelerating IT with cloud, read "Top 10 Facts Every Tech Management Leader Should Know About Private Cloud."

Eric Brown.jpegEric D. Brown, D.Sc. is a technology consultant, investor and entrepreneur with an interest in using technology and data to solve complex real-world business problems in marketing, finance and information technology. 


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About the Author


I have worked at HPE for 6 years and now try to help customers identify solutions to their most frequent data center problems. In a past life, I tried teaching high school science for a dozen years, but finally decided change is good and moved over to HPE. I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico with my family, a cat, and a dog.