It’s easy to think that the move to the cloud could be helpful for virtually all organizations. But, that is selling the benefits of the cloud short. Moving to the cloud, and all that it represents, is transformational for organizations. The ability to move quicker and choose the right tools to solve problems, in addition to the vast number of new solutions, is incredibly powerful for IT organizations to leverage. The legacy paradigm that required businesses to be great at things that weren’t their core competency or value proposition is dying. In fact, the organizations that still want to do too much in house will actually be at a significant competitive disadvantage today because of it.
The IT Landscape is Shifting
The cloud has catalyzed a number of different shifts. With infrastructure and applications moving from on-prem to the cloud, one significant shift is with the standard model of IT infrastructure. SaaS and managed services have become the model of choice for IT organizations, and for good reason. There is little need for organizations to do the heavy lifting when they can pay experts to do it, especially when it’s likely to be at a fraction of the fully loaded cost if they did it in house.
The incumbency of Windows or large vendors in particular spaces is being challenged by fast moving upstarts. These organizations are delivering better solutions, at a more cost-effective rate. The vertical integration from the OS to applications is also giving way to microservices for just about everything. These microservices can be combined as building blocks to create a better solution for the enterprise. The cloud has also helped to break apart the Microsoft Windows monopoly. The browser is the UI of choice now, and that runs just fine on virtually any type of device and OS. IT organizations are leveraging more Linux and MacOS systems than ever before. It’s important to remember though, that all of these changes in the IT landscape have a number of consequences.
Perhaps the most significant consequence is figuring out how to tie all of these disparate components together. Active Directory was the tie that bound the old Windows network together. It was a secret weapon in Microsoft’s strategy to lock-in customers. Now though, it doesn’t function as well in the modern landscape. Using Active Directory in a heterogeneous, multi-location environment makes little sense. In fact, the replacement of Active Directory is a microcosm of the shifts that the cloud is causing. Don’t stick with a system like AD that forces IT organizations to leverage solutions that may not make sense. It is limited in its reach and requires all of the heavy lifting without any of the competitive advantage for an organization. Active Directory is simply the wrong tool for cloud forward organizations.
Strategically, IT organizations have an opportunity to reshape their entire IT landscape. The cloud gives them a new swing at just about every layer of the stack. There is no reason to let legacy decisions drive future outcomes that are sub-optimal. Today’s cloud IT landscape is filled with excellent choices and solutions that can help an organization sharpen its competitive advantage.
Thinking Long-Term and Next Steps
As IT organizations look to the future, a core piece of their infrastructure is the directory service. It is the thread that ties every piece of the cloud IT infrastructure together. That includes the people and systems. IT admins should analyze whether their legacy Active Directory solution is the right path for the future. We have provided a tool to help with that analysis, an ROI calculator available to help compare the costs of running Active Directory with alternatives.