CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — When Wells Fargo announced a deal with Microsoft and Google Cloud to support a decade-long modernization marathon in 2021, it was news. A major financial services company had opted in on hybrid multicloud.
Two years later, the trend has become the norm. Operating in the cloud is more an expectation than an aspiration. Table stakes, as David Linthicum, Deloitte’s chief cloud strategy officer, said in a recent interview.
Wells Fargo has moved on to leveraging cloud to propel deeper digital transformation, Subhadaa Reddimasi, chief architect in the technology chief operating office at Wells Fargo, said during a panel at last week’s MIT Sloan CIO Symposium.
“I’m just really proud of the cloud transformation that the organization has gone through,” said Reddimasi. “I can look back and say, ‘That’s something that we spent time on, and we were very intentional about what we wanted to do.’”
Cloud was barely visible at this year’s symposium. CIOs and analysts mentioned cloud in passing as part of broader conversations about onboarding new technologies, fortifying IT resilience, cultivating tech skills and fostering Agile.
Cloud's absence is not for lack of enterprise appetite or enthusiasm for on-demand infrastructure and “as-a-Service” applications and software. Rather, the dearth of cloud talk shows just how pervasive the technology has become.
Cloud growing pains
Revenue growth has indeed slowed for the hyperscalers.
After a sprint to cloud, many organizations have paused to catch their breath. Optimizing existing investments and managing variable cost structures through FinOps practices have become enterprise priorities, as concerns about inflation, interest rates and other geopolitical and macroeconomic factors persist.
Yet, the global market for cloud is still on track to reach nearly $600 billion this year, driven, in part, by deployments of new and emerging technologies, such as automation and generative AI.
“There’s been a huge proliferation over the last number of years around cloud and multicloud applications and of individual companies trying to move quickly,” Sam Kapreilian, principal at Deloitte Consulting, said during a panel.
New tools, capabilities and challenges have accompanied that migration. “The result is that CIOs, as leaders in the business, have a lot to manage, and they don't have a good handle on all that’s out there,” said Kapreilian.
From migration to transformation
In the struggle to reduce system complexity and grapple with growing tech estates, cloud has been subsumed into enterprise modernization and digital transformation, classifications broad enough to cover infrastructure, compute, data, cybersecurity and many of the tools and Agile methodologies associated with migration.
“Modernization for us is things like technical debt, getting rid of what’s bad and being innovative and making wise technology decisions so that you can be transformative in how you run the business,” said Tom Peck, EVP and chief information and digital officer at Sysco, during a panel.
As for digital transformation, “That's what our job is,” said Peck, who won the CIO Leadership Award at this year’s symposium. “The big emphasis now is not on whether you're doing or not doing transformation, it’s on the speed at which you're getting things done.”