The Multicloud Conundrum

Help customers get a single view of their data with technology-agnostic platforms.

October 21, 2021

4 Min Read
Cloud question marks

By Herb Hogue


Herb Hogue

Earlier this summer, businesses in every industry got a major signal that multicloud strategy is here to stay. The source? The Pentagon, which cancelled its $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract. The Pentagon decided that going with a single cloud vendor – in the case of JEDI, Microsoft – wasn’t going to meet its long-term needs. Instead, it announced a new multivendor contract, the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability, which will solicit bids from Microsoft, Amazon and other cloud providers if they can meet the U.S. government’s specifications.

As it turns out, a growing number of companies are also deciding that going with one vendor isn’t the best option for their businesses. Many are creating their own multicloud – and actually, multi-“as a service” – technology stacks, including software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), devices and more. Companies can now choose from multiple vendors and get all of the benefits that choice can deliver, such as more competitive pricing and better service. Having a variety of options also avoids the dreaded vendor lock-in, where companies become so reliant on a single provider that it’s too disruptive to find another. In fact, a survey released last year found that 68% of CIOs worry about getting stuck with one vendor.

Challenges of a Multisolution Technology Strategy

A multisolution technology stack can also bring more complexity, along with a host of challenges that can quickly overwhelm the business benefits of opting for multiple vendors. For one, it can be bad for your employees. A report by Citrix recently discovered that 64% of workers are using more communication and collaboration now than they were prior to the pandemic, and 33% of them are using 10 to 20 tools per day. Almost three-quarters of these employees, 71%, say that this deluge of new solutions has made work more complex.

Complexity is also bad for your procurement department. A recent report by AppDirect – the parent company of the organization I work for, AppSmart – found that seven out of 10 small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) said they spent too much time dealing with vendors, particularly when it comes to processing invoices. When SMBs add tools to their technology stacks, about a third find it difficult to do each of the following: migrate solutions, maintain them, perform ongoing management and train their staff on how to use them. Multiply those percentages by dozens of new applications, and the challenges of a multisolution strategy become very clear.

With so many new solutions, businesses also face the danger of technology or data sprawl. This happens when solutions aren’t well integrated and companies lack a way to keep track of them – or the data that’s stored in them – across their organizations. In fact, according to a recent study, only 33% of companies have a single view of their data across all clouds. Technology sprawl can be a significant drain on your company’s resources, including staff time spent trying to track down information, and money wasted on solutions that go un- or underutilized. It can also be a security issue, with unauthorized access to applications and insecure data transfers between solutions. The same study mentioned above found that only 60% of organizations said they can share data between cloud providers securely.

The Power of Platforms and People to Overcome Complexity

So what’s the answer? As the adoption of multisolution technology stacks grows, businesses need two things. The first is a technology-agnostic procurement, provisioning, management and consumption platform to make every technology in any stack work together seamlessly.

The second is people. Today, more than ever, businesses need expert advice and guidance from advisers who can help create an intelligent, composable business solution stack that meets their needs, as well as make sure it’s implemented effectively. Your multicloud challenges may not be as big as the Pentagon’s, but every company deserves a solid defense against the challenges that using multiple solutions from multiple vendors can bring.

Herb Hogue is the vice president and general manager of cloud at AppSmart. You may follow him on LinkedIn or @AppSmartcom on Twitter.

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