With better security, agility, and resiliency, the benefits of multi-cloud are undeniable. But getting started can seem daunting.
During a fireside chat at the 2023 VMware Explore In Focus: Public Sector Roadshow, we had an opportunity to sit down with Mark Sillis, VP for Information Systems and Technology at MIT, to learn more about the university’s cloud journey.
After experiencing a worldwide outage a few years ago, MIT knew they needed to add more resiliency to their environments. So they decided to make the switch to multi-cloud, adopting different providers and ensuring they had multiple cloud options to work with.
“I think once you have all your eggs in a basket, the next thing you realize is you don’t want them all in the same basket,” Mark said.
MIT’s multi-cloud approach has since kept their systems secure and efficient. We’ve pulled together some key highlights from the conversation with Mark, recapping lessons learned for any organization getting started with multi-cloud:
Set your IT team up for success with these three principles
The first question when exploring multi-cloud is: Where do I start? To be successful in multi-cloud, you need to first set guiding principles that will ground your IT team throughout the implementation process.
For Mark, there are three main things to keep in mind:
Simplicity: Changing IT systems and adopting multi-cloud is an inherently complex, chaotic exercise. Keeping it simple and taking the process one step at a time will result in an easier transition with fewer headaches.
Agility: Consumer demands are constantly changing and technology needs to change with them. An example of this is what we saw during the pandemic – IT teams needed to adapt to an unforeseen circumstance almost overnight. Agility was essential to pivot quickly and effectively.
Resiliency: IT tasks are often zero-fail missions, especially for government, education, and healthcare organizations because if one thing in the system breaks, it can have catastrophic consequences. With multi-cloud, you will have more resiliency than in a single-cloud environment, because if one cloud experiences an outage, there’s always another to provide support and keep the lights on.
Once you’ve established these key principles, it’s time to spring into action. “I think for us and for everybody, it would be great if you could just snap the fingers and it would all be cloud-native, and get all those benefits overnight. I don’t have the magic wand for that,” Mark said.
While we may not have a magic wand, getting started doesn’t need to be intimidating. Break it down into simple steps. First, look at what tech you are running today and assess what can safely transition to the cloud, and whether you have the talent pool to make that happen. Then, look at greenfield opportunities to build an IT environment specific to your team’s needs. Mark suggests starting small and trying for some quick wins to build momentum.
Don’t underestimate the importance of culture
There are many ways to structure an organization that is adopting multi-cloud, and one of the things that is often underappreciated and underestimated is the influence of culture. At MIT, they have a saying: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Implementing the right culture will be your biggest asset and your biggest challenge.
It’s natural for your talent to stress at the onset of new tech and wonder how it will impact their role. It’s important to communicate to them that it’s not that you need them to stop doing things, it’s that you need them to do different things. If you have a culture that is open to change and empathetic to your team’s reaction to that change, you’ll be in good shape.
For organizations that are just starting their multi-cloud journey, Mark has a piece of advice: See it as an opportunity. It may seem risky and scary but the impact will be worth it.
Watch the full fireside chat here to discover more best practices for launching your organization’s multi-cloud journey.
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