Jennifer Gill Didoni
Head of Cloud Portfolio, Vodafone Business
10 minute read
The value of aggregation in a disaggregated world
Cloud has been around in a variety of forms for a long time, and it will continue to re-invent itself. Data is moving to the edge of networks and the volume of data is exploding. Meanwhile, networks are becoming software defined and AI powered. Just as clouds and networks are transforming, companies too will need to continually adapt their approach to IT.
The cloud is the first, but not the only, step
According to Vodafone research only 57% of companies have a formal digital transformation strategy, but is this simplifying the landscape too much?1
81% of companies currently have more than one public cloud service provider, while 50% believe they will have a documented edge strategy in place by 20232. But those who have undertaken the first steps of their digital transformation strategy are not home and dry. They now have to consider the complexity of managing a multi-cloud environment, how to manage their risk, and how they can achieve their business goals within the cloud with operational efficiency. This must be done at the same time as considering the impact of next-generation technologies and how they can be integrated, adding another layer of complexity.
While taking the first step to digital transformation is often daunting, it is critical. Companies should go into any digital transformation programme with eyes fully open, understanding there is more to future-proofing a business than shifting from an on-premise operation to a cloud-based one. Having established a cloud-first model, they’ll then need to ensure interoperability between services and platforms, as well as considering the next steps, such as Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC).
81% of companies currently have more than one public cloud service provider, while 50% believe they will have a documented edge strategy in place by 2023
So what are the most important strategic considerations to think through?
The advantages of working with a cloud aggregator
Firstly, you’ll need to consider how you most efficiently manage a multi-cloud environment. Should connectivity be considered as part of the programme or afterwards? And how can you effectively protect your organisation from ever-evolving cybersecurity threats?
This is where there is immense value in working with an aggregator who can bring a variety of elements together, securing today and future-proofing against tomorrow’s changing landscape. Not only can they guide you through the process of aggregating your platforms and software, but they can advise you on what the future looks like for your company – and the easiest way to get there.
The first step of every transformation programme is to understand where a company currently is, and where it wants to go. Part of this is evaluating the threats and opportunities enabled within the digital marketplace, but a critical element is to comprehend the current state-of-play.
For many companies, especially those forced through a rapid transformation programme during the COVID pandemic, optimising existing digital assets and infrastructure is key. Complex and diverse cloud operations can not only waste valuable resources in the short term, but can be a hindrance to the adaptability of a company in the long term, as well as the integration of new technologies.
In parallel to infrastructure rationalisation, the challenges of connecting to the cloud successfully should not be underestimated. To be effective in delivering tangible business benefits, cloud computing needs to be well connected to people, places and things. Connectivity is not simple and should be the foundation of any digital transformation programme, rather than an afterthought.
Finally, there is security. Cloud architecture and the rise of remote working mean that the enterprise perimeter no longer exists in its traditional state. Moving employees remote, and workloads to the cloud, mean that there is a proliferation of data distributed outside individual enterprises, all of which needs to be connected with secure, trusted transactions.
Aggregate to simplify
According to Gartner®, "Today, most people think of the cloud as a technology platform. This perspective will shift markedly by 2025. Cloud will not only be a technological approach for delivering applications but will also serve as the key driver of business innovation."3 So what exactly do such innovating organisations want from their cloud provider?
85% of companies say that the security credentials of a cloud provider are the number one consideration when making decisions, and another 62% believe that a supplier’s ability to provide connectivity solutions alongside the cloud is a highly attractive proposition4. But putting these solutions together can be a challenge for even the most experienced Cloud user. This is where working with an aggregator can be incredibly useful.
Some might believe working with an aggregator simply adds another level of bureaucracy into the value chain when it is in fact the complete opposite. The value of an aggregator is to take an agnostic view to evaluate options, providing a single solution and simplifying the complexity of diverse technologies, protocols and operations away from the business.
This of course can be done in-house, but developing relationships with dozens of suppliers is a resource and investment intensive exercise, not to mention a difficult one when it comes to seamlessly integrating different technologies.
As an aggregator and cloud, security and network integrator, Vodafone can offer customers peace of mind, experience and scale.
Vodafone has continually invested in our range of connectivity solutions, from 4G and 5G mobile networks through to narrowband IoT and a converged underlying backhaul network. We have also developed partnerships with a range of different ecosystems to enable a more cloud agnostic approach to digital transformation.
With partners such as Microsoft, AWS and Kyndryl, Vodafone can help customers at any stage of their cloud journey, with tasks as diverse as designing a cloud framework to get from A to Z, optimizing an existing cloud footprint to reduce cost and overheads, or even undertaking a security audit. We have the expertise to help our customers maximise their investment in cloud.
Innovation at the intersection
At Vodafone, we believe in innovating at the intersection of 5G, Software Defined Networks, AI and the cloud/edge. Our integrated approach to technology removes siloes, blending operations, technology and strategy to ensure the total is greater than the sum of the parts. Only by taking such an approach can organisations deliver fundamental change to a business through digital transformation.
The Vodafone approach stretches across almost every element of any digital transformation programme. To capitalise on the wave of innovation emerging, Vodafone brings best in breed TechComms together to transform the way you will experience the digital world.
And with connectivity, cloud and security support in one partner, we provide a robust and reliable solution to get the most out of the cloud, offering an optimised solution with appropriate levels of control to suit every business.
To find out more about our cloud offerings visit Cloud & Security, our hub for everything business and cloud related.
3 Gartner, “The Future of Cloud in 2025: From Technology to Innovation”, Andrew Lerner, Arun Chandrasekaran, Dennis Smith, David Smith, Neil MacDonald, 29 October 2021. GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.
4 Vodafone Business UK Cloud Messaging Test Presentation of Findings’. July – August 2021