Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Enabling Innovation in Customer Experience while Optimizing the Multi-Cloud: Part Two

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As you read in part one of this blog, due to the pandemic and the resultant exponential increase in digital transactions, Customer Experience is far more paramount than ever before, across all demographics. It is imperative that as financial institutions embrace multi-cloud, the impact of how services are consumed from different clouds but presented in a consistent manner for the desired Customer Experience is vital.

Impact of the Multi-cloud environment on CX

As institutions go Cloud-All-In to enable this digital transformation, an application customer transaction will bounce across multiple clouds before reaching the end goal. In the recent State of the Cloud 2020 Report by Flexera, customers indicated that their #1 initiative is to reduce cloud bills, but their #2 is go move more workloads to the cloud. This is mainly due to the fact that existing individual cloud-provided tools are not integrated and create data silos. Also, most companies are unable to connect the dots between poor digital performance and the cost to the business. Most importantly, executives want — but don’t have — real-time performance metrics of their applications. There were consistent patterns found when CXO’s were asked how they assure application performance, namely:

◉ They over-provision – on an average 20% more, which is expensive.

◉ They monitor for alerts, which doesn’t always prevent the problems in the first place. In fact, people tell us that they ignore most of the alerts.

◉ They troubleshoot issues with people, which no longer scales given the volume and complexity of workloads.

◉ And they suffer with slow applications. Few companies tell us that they can “assure performance”.

When application workloads get the resources they need, when they need them:

◉ Your applications would perform as designed – no more resource contention.

◉ You’d be able to get the most out of your data center infrastructure.

◉ Sticker shock would be a thing of the past for your cloud projects.

◉ With the infrastructure constraints gone, you would not have to relax your policies.

◉ And best of all, your developers would have time and flexibility to innovate instead of chasing alerts.

The issue is around providing that flexibility for the DevOps teams to experiment at scale  as costs are kept in control, ensuring compliance is maintained and operationally the services are manageable, while assuring application performance is above par. As you constantly aim to find that equilibrium, there are 5 key areas one must keep in mind:

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1. Assuring your applications: Do you understand your application portfolio ‘beyond the CMDB’ ? How will you be prioritizing your application migration? What KPIs will you use to baseline and measure success?

2. Streamline your operations: Will you be enabling developers to deploy infrastructure on demand? On multiple clouds? How do you plan to cost-optimize your infra?

3. Multi-cloud & cloud hosting: How will you develop the right level of abstraction across multiple clouds? How will developers manage container platforms across multiple clouds? How will you host legacy workloads?

4. Multi-cloud Optimized Networks: How will you achieve common operations, policy, visibility, and performance across multiple clouds? How will you assure and secure user experience to any cloud from anywhere?

5. Zero Trust Security: How will you deliver a cloud-ready security policy across multiple clouds, without slowing developers down? How does your cloud security strategy fit with your overall security strategy?

Taking a holistic solution approach

The true value of the application is not just on the hosting but on the consumption. Providing end to end connectivity, security, assurance and visibility to consume the apps is the key, looking at it consistently is the right way to provide the desired outcomes.

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Cloud Hosting: Create cloud-agnostic, cloud native software solutions to enable and optimize your multi-cloud. Cloud-agnosticism means different services consumed from different clouds but presented in a consistent manner across clouds.

Cloud Consumption: Providing end-to-end connectivity, security, assurance, and visibility to consume those services across all clouds.

All cloud providers within themselves have strong capabilities, but as you undoubtedly are embracing multi-cloud, it’s imperative to be able to create consistent services across multiple clouds or as some people like to say – keeping the cloud providers honest. Thereby giving your development teams the flexibility to meet and surpass business asks and expectations, when it comes to the digital experience from their applications, but do it while keeping costs in check, maintain compliance and operational teams happy too.

Thus, evolving your applications experience not just from a FUNCTIONAL one to a JOYFUL one, but further raising the entire digital experience to a MEANINGFUL one. Thereby increasing your brand value and in-turn your desired customer recall.

Realizing this vision, backed by a business case


Cisco has always been at the forefront of providing the underlying infrastructure in enabling the expected connected experience, enabling businesses to get the most out of their ever-changing foundational layer. Cisco’s Performance IT program takes a consultative approach to assessing how your current multi-cloud environment is set up to help achieve your expected application experience. Keeping business outcomes in mind, Performance IT takes a 360˚ view of architectural transition, operational efficiency, and financial oversight in one go. It provides organizations with an architectural blueprint and a target operating model to demonstrate how this architecture can be run effectively. The cherry on top is the financial benefit in making this possible and setting up your teams to assure application performance in a multi-cloud environment of the future.

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