5 Guidelines for the Enterprise Cloud Revolution

Sanjay Poonen, VMware’s chief operating officer (COO) for customer operations, recently had the opportunity to share his thoughts on the evolution of cloud.

July 19, 2017

Sanjay Poonen, VMware’s chief operating officer (COO) for customer operations, recently had the opportunity to share his thoughts on the evolution of cloud. Poonen centered his talk around the following five guidelines.


1 Hybrid cloud computing is the definitive model.

2 Focus on “as-a-strategy”—software (SaaS), infrastructure (IaaS), and platform (PaaS).

3 Network and data security are key; security must be built into the architecture.

4 Bi-modal IT is dead; the world is increasingly agile.

5 It is better to fail forward, than to stagnate not trying.

Cloud Computing and Digital Transformation

Cloud computing is the catalyst for digital transformation. Every business in the world is now a technology business, whether it is in chemicals, retail, pharmaceutical, or something else. Poonen acknowledged this as proof that while digital transformation has become an industry buzzword, there is more to the underlying changes in enterprise.

The reality is that more than 70% of enterprises use or plan to use cloud computing—a trend encouraged from the top, starting with the boards and C-suites of many enterprises. In Poonen’s experience, the biggest customer driver for cloud is simply good business for IT, users, and businesses as a whole: reduction of costs and complexity. This trend started in the consumer world and has spread to the enterprise in the form of SaaS.

On the State of the Cloud

To this end, Poonen shared the “State of the Cloud” and its growth since 2011. Over the past five years, enterprise workloads in the cloud have more than doubled—from 13% in 2011 to 27% in 2016. According to the research, the most popular apps for cloud solutions are email, collaboration, sharing docs, and CRM, but there is farther still to go to achieve a successful digital transformation.

Trending budget allocations toward SaaS and IaaS support this growth trajectory, which then highlights the importance of security. Network security and data security need to be integrally built in rather than bolted on in order to support as-a-service models. Poonen likened it to the human body: if you are not on a good diet, you may need to take vitamins.

Learn by Doing

Ultimately, Poonen believes an enterprise rises or falls based on the leadership of its “soft stuff.” He encouraged the audience to strive to “act” and be ready to “fail forward,” because it is through those missteps that a company continues to learn and improve—ultimately enabling a company to transform its business and achieve its cloud computing goals.

VMware’s own journey of failure and learning—through its cloud strategy—provided the perfect lesson. VMware initially pursued a strategy of offering its own IaaS solution. However, the company has shifted to give customers a consistent infrastructure across cloud vendors, including AWS and over 4,000 vCloud network customers, while delivering consistent management and operations. VMware will now be leveraging the billions of dollars of investment in IaaS, adding its expertise to run, manage, connect, and secure enterprise applications in any cloud.

This strategy is resonating very well in the market because there is no off-the-shelf solution. As enterprises continue to transform digitally, they’re going to need the ability to seamlessly move across cloud platforms.

Click here to view Poonen’s full talk.

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