Viewpoint: Unlocking the True Potential of Businesses Using Google Cloud

David Campbell – EPAM Head of Google Cloud Practice, UK and Ireland

Stan Drapkin – EPAM Senior Director and Chief Technologist of Cloud

Digital transformation is becoming more and more essential to businesses every day. By updating legacy applications, migrating to hyperscalers like Google Cloud (GC) and working with the right partners, companies can start their digital transformation journey and begin leveraging the cloud to improve efficiency, customer experiences and overall operations.

In this Q&A, EPAM’s David Campbell and Stan Drapkin explain how EPAM’s partnership with Google Cloud enables clients to rapidly realise the full benefit of cloud migration.

Why is app modernisation so crucial for organisations looking to thrive in today’s digital world? 

David Campbell: “There is a high demand within business now to unlock business value, and legacy applications can often hold that back.”

Stan Drapkin: “Another reason is cost savings. A lot of companies have realised that their spend has doubled or tripled since they’ve moved to the cloud. They have been forced to realise that doing a simple lift and shift is not enough to unlock the value of the cloud.”

What are the biggest challenges that businesses looking to modernise their applications face? 

DC: “Many enterprises are focused on executing business as usual, so finding the time to do things right can be challenging.”

SD: “A lack of commitment from leadership to invest in app modernisation. Everybody wants to do existing lights-on maintenance and add modernisation as part of the same budget with the same team. It has to be its own dedicated stream of work with a separate budget and a top-down executive championing that effort.”

How does EPAM work with Google Cloud customers to help them on their app modernisation journey? 

DC: “We are often engaged at the very start, assessing legacy applications and helping customers come up with a strategy. Sometimes we get pulled in by customers who had a cloud migration story that stalled and help them accelerate on cloud migration execution. We much prefer the former, as we can guide customers through the entire journey.”

SD: “After the discovery phase, we identify the wide scope for the initial migration candidate. This process ensures 80% of the infrastructure, landing zones and various other pieces required for the migration to be successful would be established.”

How does partnering with EPAM help organisations embrace new technologies?

SD: “Rather than trying to incorporate something blindly with the hope that the change will materialise in cost savings or additional revenue, EPAM helps organisations explore and validate new technology and compare that with the existing approach.”

DC: “What also works well at EPAM is not when we present a solution wrapped in a bowtie, but rather when we collaborate with the customer to upskill them and show them best practices. This often helps enterprises scale their cloud migration capabilities longer term.”

How does EPAM help customers ensure they are meeting security requirements and addressing regulatory concerns? DC: “EPAM has a dedicated security practice. Rather than doing ad-hoc security — which is not very structured — we put in place a security program that is automated and declarative.”

SD: “EPAM is also focused on continuous security, as what is secure today won’t necessarily be secure tomorrow. We also try to leverage the cloud provider’s security framework as much as possible because they know how to do security well.”

Can EPAM help organisations and business leaders with total cost of ownership (TCO) concerns?  

DC: “Due to the economic climate, every customer is focused on the bottom line. EPAM has generated a go-to-market around this, and we’re showing customers that a typical enterprise can save up to a third of their costs by implementing a structure around cloud costs and governance.”

SD: “We’ve done FinOps analysis for one North American client in the entertainment industry, and they’re saving $5 million a year just by us optimising their cloud resource provisioning.”

How does EPAM help to build the confidence of users that are new to Google Cloud?

SD: “The most important factor is having the proper landing zone with correct organisational guardrails and policies configured. EPAM can help clients set up a new landing zone, or we can even review their existing landing zone and help them make changes.”

DC: “We also find that we often need to build confidence with an organisation’s CSO and CFO. EPAM can show them that we can deploy applications in cloud in a secure, reliable and cost-efficient way.”

What do you see as the key stages of the modernisation journey for Google Cloud customers?

DC: “We try and align with the Google Cloud framework, and that is all about making sure that the transformation into the cloud isn’t a one-off piece that changes just one part of the organisation. Businesses need to lean into the process, learn about the cloud, and upskill the entire organisation.”

SD: “Clients should also allow the vendor access to as much technical information as possible. We find that in many cases, the discovery phase is either not done or done very poorly. This means that when you’re trying to move the application, you find hidden dependencies and undisclosed integrations.”

What should organisations prioritise when it comes to application modernisation?

SD: “App modernisation is not something that should be viewed a way of paying down technical debt. It has a material impact on customer satisfaction and solution stability, and it’s also something that needs to be looked at from a financial and business perspective.”

DC: “TCO is super important, and security is a growing critical aspect in cloud migrations. We also encourage repeatability when migrating applications to the cloud, which sets up the foundations for long-term success.”

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