CIO’s guide to selecting the right cloud partnerHarnath Babu, CIO, KPMG India believes that the decision to move to cloud may not be difficult but choosing the right provider can be tricky.

There are multiple aspects that one needs to consider before signing up for a cloud service provider, he adds.

“Some could be specific to services that are offered by CSPs and may be a straight fit to your requirements. Workloads related to office productivity, documents and video collaboration could be simpler problem to solve, which could be primarily be driven by enterprise standards. This space also has limited choice, but the leaders do the job very efficiently.”

Decision on cloud native services such as AI & ML, BOTS, container capabilities, integration, databases, storage etc. can get tricky if not given enough attention.

“While the advantages are very high faster development time, ease provisioning, quicker time to market etc., there could potential downsides such as vendor lock in, limitation and stability of features available for building advanced capabilities in the applications. It is important to have a clear enterprise architecture focusing on services/ capabilities required to future proof business requirements and integration of existing services for seamless user and customer experience,” he maintains.

Some of other key aspects that were considered while evaluating the CSP were, security, cloud compliance – GDPR, PDP and other relevant frameworks that were applicable for various business scenarios.

According to Harnath, the cost of running the workloads on cloud also is an important factor to choose the right CSP. It becomes helpful to look at pricing structure carefully including options for pay as you go, volume discounts, reserved instances, transaction-based pricing or per second to hour-based billing.

KPMG India’s Hybrid approach

KPMG India has been modernising its entire technology infrastructure, and moved to hybrid cloud model that can be accessed easily as well as scaled to meet the demands for computing power.

It is currently being utilised for production and several other environments. While the workloads that are limited by legacy and certain business constraints are deployed on-premises, several applications and collaboration capabilities have been ported to the cloud.

“We have been building new-age cloud-native applications for providing differentiated offerings to our clients which require advanced capabilities in AI & ML, analytics and can meet the seasonal and regulatory timeline demands, ”said Harnath Babu, CIO, KPMG.

He also adds that KPMG’s technology landscape is very agile, and the workloads continue to adapt and evolve considering the ever-dynamic business demands.

“Push for adoption of cloud services has been increasing with the emergence of new business environment in the wake of Covid-19. To support remote working and continuing to promote agile work environment, we migrated all our collaboration workloads to cloud”

This was not limited to emails and documents but the complete collaboration requirements including video, audio, enterprise social, trainings, knowledge management etc. have been migrated to cloud.

KPMG India continues to evaluate the usability of cloud for different business requirements, employee productivity, ease of operating and securing the work environment. In the next 2 years, the consulting major is expecting majority of workloads to be on cloud, which includes rewriting some of existing on-premise applications and newer solutions to become cloud native.

The company is also remodeling its traditional backup solutions to address the growing need of data across all the sources – on premise and cloud. Networking is being redesigned for ease of access and higher security in the remote work environment. Software defined network, higher degree of virtualization, consolidation of storage and leveraging hyperconverged infrastructure are some of key focus areas.

The changing role of a CIO

The role of CIO is changing very rapidly. From managing Backoffice technology to driving business, CIOs have come a long way.

Harnath believes that further success of a CIO will be to strategise upon acquiring the right talent and transforming & upskilling internal and external resources.

“With everything coming as a service, the convergence of operations through DevOps, security automation calls for newer ways of integrating services than building them grounds-up. I see future CIOs as the primary change agents in organisations influencing, accepting, and adapting change. CIO’s hold in the boardrooms will be strengthened as they will be the business leaders driving innovation and change,” he adds.





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