Lifting Without Shifting

Cutting costs without improvement of quality is futile. —W. Edwards Deming

Too often organizations treat the Cloud as a destination. For legacy systems or naive implementations, cloud can prove expensive while providing minimal value. The assumptions of old school highly redundant scale up architectures do not migrate well to an ephemeral scale out cloud reality. Perhaps as costly as ‘Lift and Shift’ applied to workloads, is ‘Lift and Shift’ applied to practices.

Deming’s “chain of quality” observed a counterintuitive relationship between quality and cost. When an organization focuses on cost as a cause, as opposed to an outcome, they attempt to reduce cost directly and quality inevitably suffers. On the other hand when organizations focus on understanding how technologies, practices and policies can enable value creation and improvement in quality, costs tend to go down. It is important to note that the costs that are reduced are indirect; reduction in variation, increases in responsiveness, and reduction of waste; rework, escaped defects and replanning. For most workloads, cloud migration has almost no chance of cutting cost without cloud architectures and operating models.

Framing technology as a cost center leads to the accelerated lift and shift efforts often only successful at increasing cost. The organizations that are most successful with Cloud view technology as a competitive advantage. Modeling Cloud cost suggests limited opportunity for cloud savings mostly coming from the opportunity to scale down and turn services off. The true opportunity of Cloud is the decreased time-to-market, with increased quality and feedback that Cloud Native workflows provide. Analyzing the opportunities to create value with Cloud adoption will naturally lead to understanding the need for new skills, policies, practices and organizational structures.

Analyzing the economics shows that startups which were born ‘Cloud Native’ have opportunities to reduce cost by repatriating workloads. Their workflows and architectures won’t be less modern in the datacenter.

Cost is limited on the downside at zero. Value has the potential to be limited only by the organizational response to the needs of the market. Cost is never zero but treating technology as a cost center is a self fullfilling prophecy.

Shift the workflows to lift the workloads. Make the cloud strategy focus on the way of working, not just the where.

Ask Ergonautic