Organizations that have embraced a cloud-first model are seeing a myriad of benefits. The elasticity of the cloud allows enterprises to easily scale up and down as needed. In practice, rather than commit to just one cloud service in today’s world of more distributed organizations due to Covid-19, many enterprises prefer to have multiple cloud solutions they source from a variety of vendors.

The cloud also helps to enhance security, improves insight into data, and aids with disaster recovery and cost savings. Cloud has become a utility for successful businesses. Around 75% of enterprise customers using cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) have been predicted to adopt a deliberate multi-cloud strategy by 2022, up from 49% in 2017, according to Gartner.

“Businesses don’t want to be locked into one particular cloud,” says Tejpal Chadha, Global Head, Digitate SaaS Cloud & Cyber Security. “They want to run their applications on different clouds so they’re not dependent on one in case it were to temporarily shut down. Multi-cloud has really become a must-have for organizations.”

Yet, at the same time, companies that tap into these multi-cloud solutions are opening themselves up to additional, and potentially significant, security risks. They become increasingly vulnerable in an age of more sophisticated, active cyberhackers.

To address security risks, cloud services have their own monitoring processes and tools that are designed to keep data secure. Many offer customers basic monitoring tools for free. But if companies want a particularly robust monitoring service, they often must pay added fees. With multiple clouds, this added expense can be significant.

“The cost goes up when you have to have specific monitoring tools for each cloud,” Chadha says. “Monitoring also needs to be instantaneous or real-time to be effective.”

Organizations using multi-cloud solutions are also susceptible to cloud sprawl, which happens when an organization lacks visibility into or control over its cloud computing resources.The organizationtherefore ends up with excess, unused servers or paying higher rates than necessary.

For enterprises safeguarding their multi-cloud solutions, a better tactic is to use just one third-party overarching tool for all clouds – one that monitors everything instantaneously. ignio™, the award-winning enterprise automation platform from AIOps vendor Digitate, does just that.

ignio AIOps, Digitate’s flagship product, facilitates autonomous cloud IT operations by tapping into AI and machine learning to provide a closed-loop solution for Azure and AWS, with versions for Google Cloud (GCP) and private clouds also coming soon. With visibility and intelligence across layers of cloud services, ignio AIOps provides multi-cloud support by leveraging cloud-native technologies and APIs. It also provides actionable insights to better manage your cloud technology stack.

ignio is unique in that it cuts across multiple data centers, both private and public clouds, and seamlessly handles everything  in a single window. It gets a bird’s eye view of the health of a company’s data centers and clouds. Then, ignio continuously monitors, predicts, and takes corrective action across clouds while also automating previously manual tasks, which ignio calls “closed-loop remediation.” The closed-loop remediation enables companies to automate actions for both remediation, compliance, and other essential CloudOps tasks.

“The ignio AIOps software first comes in and, in the blueprinting process, gives a holistic view of what companies have in their universe,” Chadha says. “We call that blueprinting or discovery. Then, we help automate tasks. We’re completely agnostic when it comes to monitoring or taking corrective action, or helping increase automation across all of these clouds.”

As Digitate ignio customers automate processes and reduce manual IT efforts, they’re finding they’re saving money — some millions of dollars a year. For many companies, tasks that once took three days now take only an hour.

“The biggest benefits are that less manual work is ultimately needed, and then there’s also the costs savings,” Chadha says. “Enterprises using this tool are managing their multi-cloud estate much more efficiently.”

To learn more about Digitate ignio and how Digitate’s products can help you thread the multi-cloud needle, visit Digitate.

IT Leadership

CRM software provider Zendesk has decided to lay off 300 employees from its global workforce of 5,450 employees to reduce operating expenses, a recent filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) showed.

The decision comes just months after the company was acquired by a consortium of private equity firms for $10.2 billion. “This decision (layoffs) was based on cost-reduction initiatives intended to reduce operating expenses and sharpen Zendesk’s focus on key growth priorities,” the company wrote in the SEC filing.

In a separate press statement, Zendesk’s executive team took responsibility of the job cuts and said the company is pulling back from the ways it had previously invested in “hiring growth”, much in advance of the business growth.

“…we grew our team much faster than we should have based on revenue growth expectations that were not pragmatic. As an executive team we take responsibility for that,” the company said.

The statement outlined how Zendesk’s top management tried different measures, such as closing over 100 positions, to try and address its bottom line but was unable to get past the issue.

The roles impacted by the layoffs were decided on five strategic priorities, the company said, including “optimizing our processes and systems, reducing duplication of effort, increasing our spans of control and rebalancing our roles towards Go to Market to build on our enterprise opportunity while continuing to build and deliver compelling products for our customers.”

Layoffs to cost Zendesk $28 million

The layoffs are estimated to set Zendesk back by about $28 million, primarily due to costs incurred on severance payments and employee benefits, the SEC filing showed.

Out of the total estimated cost, the company expects to incur $8 million in the fourth quarter of 2022.

As part of the layoffs, Zendesk said it will provide outgoing employees three months of base salary along with one week’s pay for each year of full service.

Other benefits include a prorated portion of the employee’s annual bonus payable at target, two months of equity award vesting, health insurance benefit coverage and job search support resources.

Tech firms continue to see layoffs

The CRM software provider’s decision to layoff almost 5% of its workforce comes at a time when other tech firms such as Salesforce, Meta, Twitter, Microsoft and Oracle have announced job cuts in the wake of economic headwinds.

On Wednesday, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, said it is preparing to cut thousands of jobs, impacting 13% of its global workforce.

Salesforce, another CRM software provider, too announced mass layoffs this week, cutting at least hundreds of jobs from its 73,000-person workforce.

Last month, Microsoft had said it would be laying off close to 1,000 employees. Cloud service provider Oracle is also continuing to layoff staff globally in the past few months.

Tech industry prepares for more layoffs

Announcements of thousands of job cuts in the past couple of weeks may not be the end of the trouble for the technology sector. Analysts expect the worse is yet to come.

“It’s a good bet that tech companies that haven’t yet laid off employees are carefully considering whether or not to do so. It wouldn’t be surprising to see more layoffs in the next few months, particularly among firms whose fiscal year ends on December 31st,” JP Gownder, principal analyst at Forrester said in a statement.

Gownder said the job cuts were a result of these companies trying to set up finances for success in 2023. “Widespread economic concerns—some prompted by rising interest rates, others by the war in Ukraine, high fuel costs, and supply chain issues—are prompting these moves in anticipation of lower demand.”

The layoffs, according to the analyst, also point at skilling challenges being experienced by several employees. 

Positions that don’t require “enough” IT skills will find it more difficult to find jobs compared to people who are considered top talent in the technology sector, said Gownder. “Many of the laid-off tech workers have skills that will be valuable in other sectors. Nearly every company, regardless of industry is now a “technology firm” that relies on software developers, engineers, and IT talent. So top tech talent who lose their jobs will find other positions, most likely.”

IT Jobs

The end of the Great Resignation — the latest buzzword referring to a record number of people quitting their jobs since the pandemic — seems to be nowhere in sight.

“New employee expectations, and the availability of hybrid arrangements, will continue to fuel the rise in attrition. An individual organization with a turnover rate of 20% before the pandemic could face a turnover rate as high as 24% in 2022 and the years to come,” says Piers Hudson, senior director in the Gartner HR practice.

The Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey, conducted by PwC, predicts that one in five workers worldwide may quit their jobs in 2022 with 71% of respondents citing salary as the major driver for changing jobs.

The challenge for IT leaders is clear: With employees quitting faster than they can be replaced, the rush to hire the right talent is on — so too is the need to retain existing IT talent.

But for Kapil Mehrotra, group CTO at National Collateral Management Services (NCMS), high turnover presented an opportunity to cut costs of the IT department, streamline its operations, and find a long-term solution to the perpetual skills scarcity problem.

Here’s how Mehrotra transformed the Great Resignation into a new approach for staffing and skilling up the commodity-based service provider’s IT department.

Losing 40% of domain expertise in one month

From an IT infrastructure standpoint, NCMS is 100% on the cloud. The company’s IT department comprised 27 employees, with one person each handling business analytics and cybersecurity, and the rest of the team split between handling infrastructure and applications. The applications had been transformed into SaaS and PaaS environment.

With a scarcity for experienced and skilled resources in the market and companies willing to poach developers to fulfill their needs, it was just a matter of time before NCMS too saw a churn in its IT department.

“In March, 10 of the 27 employees from the IT department resigned when they received job offers with substantial hikes. At that time, application migration was under way, and our supply chain software was also getting a major upgrade. The sudden and substantial drop of 40% in the department’s strength made a significant impact on several such high-priority projects,” says Mehrotra.

“Those who left included an Android expert and specialists in the fields of .Net and IT infrastructure. As the company had legacy systems, it became tough to hire resources that could manage them. Nobody wanted to deal with legacy solutions. The potential candidates would convey their inability to work on such systems by showing their certifications on newer versions of the solutions,” he says.

Besides, whatever few skilled resources available for hire were expecting exorbitant salaries. “This would have not only impacted our budget but would have also created an imbalance in the IT department. HR wanted to maintain the equilibrium that would have otherwise got disturbed had we hired someone at very high salary compared to existing team members who had been in the company for years,” says Mehrotra.

Nurturing fresh talent in-house

So, while most technology leaders were scouting for experienced and skilled resources, Mehrotra decided to hire fresh talent straight from nearby universities. Immediately after the employees quit, he went to engineering colleges in Gurgaon and shortlisted 20 to 25 CVs. Mehrotra eventually hired four candidates, taking the depleted IT department’s head count to 21.

But Mehrotra now had two challenges at hand: He had to train the freshers and kickstart the pending high-priority projects as soon as possible.

“I told the business that we wouldn’t be able to take any new requirements from them for the next three months. This gave us the time to groom the freshers. We then got into a task-based contract with the outgoing team members. As per the contract, the team members who had exited were to complete the high-priority projects over the next months at a fixed monthly payout. If the project spilled over to the next month, there would be no additional payout,” Mehrotra says.

“Adopting this approach not only enabled completion of the projects hanging in the limbo, but also provided the freshers with practical and hands-on training. They ex-employees acted as mentors for the freshers who were asked to write code and do research. All this helped the new employees in getting a grip on the company’s infrastructure,” he says.

In addition, Mehrotra also got the freshers certified. “One got certified on .Net while another on Azure DevOps,” says Mehrotra.

New recruits help slash costs, streamline operations

The strategy of bringing first-time IT workers onboard has helped Mehrotra in slashing salary costs by 30%. “The new hires have come at a lower salary and have helped us in streamlining the operations. We are getting 21 people to do the work that was earlier done by 27 people. The old employees used to work in a leisurely manner. They used to enter office late, open their laptops at 11 a.m., and take regular breaks during working hours. The commitment levels of freshers are higher, and they stay in a company for an average of three years,” says Mehrotra.

After three months of working with the mentors, the freshers came up to speed. “We started taking requirements from business. The only difference working with freshers is that as an IT leader, I have stepped up and taken more responsibility. I make sure that I participate even in normal meetings to avoid any conflicts. Earlier what got completed in one day is currently taking seven days to complete. Therefore, we take timelines accordingly. We are currently working at 70% of our productivity and expect to return to 100% in the next three months,” says Mehrotra.

Sharing his learnings with other IT leaders, he says, “There will always be a skills scarcity in the market, but the time has come to break this chain. Hiring resources at ever- increasing salaries is not a sustainable solution. The answer lies in leveraging freshers. Just like big software companies, CIOs also must hire, train, and retain freshers. We must nurture good resources inhouse to bridge the skills gap.”  Mehrotra is now back to hiring and has approached recruitment consultants with the mandate to fill 11 positions, which are open to all, including candidates with even six months to a years’ experience.

IT Skills

As a result of the widespread shift to hybrid working and learning brought about by the pandemic, the cloud continues to play a critical role for public sector organisations – particularly those in the education sector.

Enlightened by the accelerated digital transition over the past two years, students, researchers and staff are now demanding cloud-hosted resources and online lessons, and are vying for access to modern tools and services.

The benefits are clear for IT leaders, too. Not only is cloud technology a key enabler in the sought-after modernisation process, but it also enables organisations to innovate quickly, enjoy greater resilience, and continue to be agile in order to meet students’ ever-changing needs.

Although the potential gains are clear to see, public sector organisations looking to migrate to the cloud often face a wide range of challenges, from privacy and security concerns to a lack of in-house IT staff.

One of the greatest challenges, however, is a difficulty fitting into cloud industry-standard processes. This means cost and affordability are often cited as the main reason for hesitancy around moving away from on-premise systems.

For example, while it may be typical for a commercial organisation to sign up to a multi-million-pound cloud contract in return for a discount, such activities can prove difficult for UK public sector organisations. Even making the most out of smaller commitments in return for a discount, such as Reserved Instances or Saving Plans, can be a nightmare for public sector procurement teams.

This is why, in order to make a successful transition to cloud, organisations require the help of a financially focused cloud reseller like Strategic Blue to ensure they can better manage, control, reduce and optimise their cloud costs.

Strategic Blue, an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Advanced Consulting Partner with a specialist education competency, helps organisations to buy cloud a brighter way. Using the appropriate purchasing framework agreement and pricing models, organisations can procure cloud services in a compliant way. Strategic Blue can also put in place additional discount options from cloud providers to help reduce costs.

For example, it helps the University of California, San Diego, to save on average 17% per month, while increasing their breadth of service adoption by 14%. Similarly, it helps the University of York make significant monthly cloud savings, reduce internal time spent managing cloud costs and cut the complexity of their cloud billing.

Not only does Strategic Blue’s commodity trading approach to purchasing cloud reduce both cost and uncertainty, it also helps organisations reduce their carbon footprint and edge closer to meeting their net zero goals – by enabling cost effective and efficient use of cloud.

Ultimately, it’s clear that a transition to the cloud is a smart choice for education providers – and Strategic Blue can help ensure you’re making the most of that investment. To find out how Strategic Blue can help your business click here.

Hybrid Cloud

If IT leaders aren’t already thinking about the impact of an economic recession, their CEOs certainly are. In fact, nearly 8 in 10 business leaders expect a recession in their primary region of operation within the next 12 to 18 months — or believe one is already under way, according to the Conference Board’s C-Suite Outlook Mid-Year. Among CEOs surveyed globally, 15% believe recession has already taken hold while another 61% expect a recession will arrive before the end of 2023.

“While recessions are inevitable, we never know when they will hit,” says Dan Roberts, president at Oullette & Associates and host of the CIO Whisperers podcast. “There is a tricky balancing act at play. C-suite leaders can’t hit the brakes and risk missing market opportunities. But on the flipside, if they continue to invest at the same levels and the economy tanks, they run the risk of spending getting out ahead of revenue.”

A decade on from the last recession, many CIOs have never had to lead their organizations through such economic challenges, Roberts points out. But they’ll be charged with cutting costs and building efficiencies to sustain their businesses through the cycle.

Companies underinvested in technology will be in the worst position. “They’ll have few choices but going into survival mode scavenging coins out of the sofa to save money,” says Peter Pisciotta, managing director and senior consultant at Fine Line Partners. “It’s not pretty.”

IT costs can account for a significant portion of operating expenses (SG&A) and capital investments, so when cost reduction is needed, IT can be at the top of the list for cuts.

“It is essential for IT leaders to have a plan,” says Patrick Anderson, director of technology, strategy, and architecture at global consulting firm Protiviti. “Without a plan from the IT leader, other leaders will step in and that could have devastating consequences.”

Budgeting, IT Leadership

As multi-cloud strategies take hold and more organizations shift workloads and applications to the cloud, it can be challenging to keep track of resource usage that can result in “surprise” cloud bills and end up being costly for the business. In fact, Gartner predicts that 60% of cloud leaders will encounter public cloud cost overruns.

Today, there is increasing awareness of cloud cost implications in the long-term, as usage can negatively impact budgets and to the total cost of revenue. As organizations prepare for another potential period of economic downturn, it will be important to have a cloud cost management strategy in place to help optimize overall spend, utilization of services, and increase profit margins.

Understanding Your Environment

Organizations are trying to move fast to the cloud; however, without understanding how resources are consumed by different teams, organizations will be surprised by their cloud bill at the end of the month. When it comes to managing cloud cost, it’s important to have a comprehensive understanding of the cloud environment. You can’t manage what you can’t see, so the first step is to gain visibility into all the cloud resources in use across the organization. Understanding your data backup and recovery process is also critical so that you aren’t backing up data without first knowing why backup is needed and using storage space needlessly.

Sharing Responsibility & Shifting Education Left

The cost of cloud impacts the bottom line and therefore, cloud cost management cannot be the job of the CIO alone. It’s important to create a culture or framework where managing cloud costs is a shared responsibility among business, product, and engineering teams, and where it’s a consideration throughout the software development process and in IT operations.

In order to do just this, it’s important to shift education left. Like many DevOps principles, “shift-left” once had a specific meaning that has become more generalized over time. At its core, the idea of shifting left is to be proactive when it comes to cost management in all management and operational processes. It means empowering developers and making operational considerations a key part of application development.

Change management must be connected in the context of cost. If organizations educate and empower developers to understand the impact of cloud cost as software is written, they will reap the benefits of building more cost effective software that improves operational visibility and control. Tools such as VMware CloudHealth, can help developers gain visibility into cost and operational implications of cloud options for applications, while also enabling platform and application teams to optimize cloud spending and streamline operations.

Creating the Right Governance Framework

Managing cloud spend starts with creating a proper governance framework that sets up guidelines and guardrails for efficient cloud operations. A governance framework ensures that users are properly deploying resources with notifications of approval or denial.

In addition, it’s critical to establish standards for tagging all cloud assets. Without proper tagging, it’s nearly impossible to know which assets belong to which teams and applications, or what’s causing fluctuations in costs. With good tagging hygiene established, organizations can group assets in a context that’s meaningful to the key constituents in the organization.

Cloud cost management and continuous governance are foundational to a company’s digital transformation and should be prioritized in every cloud journey. Successful cloud cost management starts with building a framework that balances the need for innovation while reducing cost. By starting with visibility into environments, building cost awareness into software processes and leveraging optimization tools, organizations can continuously monitor and improve the efficiency and performance of the cloud environment—and align that success to the company’s business goals.

To learn more, visit us here.

Cloud Computing, IT Leadership

The data center has traditionally been the central spine of your IT strategy. The core hub and home for applications, routing, firewalls, processing, and more. However, trends such as the cloud, mobility, and pandemic-induced homeworking are upending everything.

Now, the enterprise is reliant on distributed workplaces and cloud-based resources generating traffic beyond the network, such as home working or cloud platforms. Conventional networking models that backhaul traffic to the data center are seen as slow, resource-intensive, and inefficient. Ultimately, the Internet is the new enterprise network.

If the core data center is the spine, then the wide-area network (WAN) has to be the arms, right? During the pandemic, a survey revealed that 52% of U.S. businesses have adopted some form of SD-WAN technology. Larger enterprises, like national (79%) and global (77%) businesses, have adopted SD-WAN at much higher rates than smaller firms.

But operational visibility is an essential component of an SD-WAN implementation because, unlike MPLS links, the internet is a diverse and unpredictable transport. SD-WAN orchestrator application policies and automated routing decisions make day-to-day operations easier but can also deteriorate the overall end-to-end performance. As a result, applications can run slower than before a corrective action, making troubleshooting these issues very difficult without additional insight or validation.

Visibility beyond the edge

Just think about the number of possible paths data can take to be delivered end-to-end. If you take the example of an organization having 100 branch offices, two data centers, two cloud providers, 15 SaaS applications, and using four ISPs – there are more than 7,000 possible network paths in use anytime. If the network team sticks to traditional network monitoring, limited to branch offices and data centers, it means the overall visibility is reduced to less than 2% of the estate (102 paths over 7000+). The lack of visibility beyond the edge of the enterprise network can leave network operations entirely out of control.

Additionally, most SD-WAN vendors only measure and provide visibility from customer-edge to customer-edge – basically, the edge network devices and the secure tunnels that connect data centers to branch offices, banks, retail stores, etc. In order to deliver a reliable and secure user experience over this new and complex network architecture, network professionals need end-to-end visibility; not just edge-to-edge.

Experience-Driven NetOps is an approach that extends visibility beyond the edge of the data center and into the branch site, remote locations, ISP and cloud networks, and remote users to provide visibility from an end-user perspective (where they connect to in the enterprise) rather than from the controller-only edge perspective. Furthermore, there are thousands of more network devices behind the edge of an SD-WAN deployment. Do you really want another tool to manage those devices too? 

Make no mistake, if you’re deploying new software-defined technologies but still lack visibility into the end-user experience delivered by these architectures, you are only solving half of the problem to deliver the network support your business expects. Today, reliable networks need to be experience-proven. And network operations teams have to become experience-driven.

You can learn more about how to tackle the new challenges of user experience in this eBook, Guide to Visibility Anywhere. Read now and discover how organizations can create network visibility across the network edge and beyond.