Over the past 4 years, there has been one question we’ve heard more than any other. Since the term ‘cloud computing’ was first coined, C-suite executives have been asking whether the cloud is really their best option. We sympathise with their trepidation. In the past, the drawbacks of digital transformation on an enterprise scale (lack of utility, privacy concerns or prohibitive costs) made such projects challenging to justify. Cloud technology has progressed a long way since then, representing not just a string of potential problems, but also a series of solutions. Nowadays, what we hear from our prospective customers is ‘how soon, and to what degree, should I be moving towards a more agile environment’.
The debate around utilising cloud infrastructure appears to be over. Few, if any, companies can envision a future in which cloud doesn’t form an integral part of their IT or business strategy. A hybrid model – flexible and low-cost solutions coupled with aging legacy platforms – have made business cases easy, while digitally capable external disruptors are piling on the pressure for business leaders to seek enablement towards a more agile infrastructure.
So how should you go about preparing your business to fully take advantage of what the cloud has to offer? The reality is that you could already be well equipped for digital transformation but simply not realise it. In this two-part series, we will examine the key elements that make up a successful transformation strategy. Beginning with an analysis of the current digital landscape, we will then move on to the fundamentals of an effective cloud assessment and finally address the most common areas of the transformation project that businesses often struggle with.
The New Cloud
The technology has evolved, and so has the pitch. CEOs no longer ask what the benefits are, but instead where, and to what degree, cloud computing will develop and improve their business processes and go-to-market speed and capability. The new dynamic can be disarming for CTOs who are used to fighting for adjustment to their infrastructure, however it must not lead to a false sense of security. Those looking to secure approval for transformation and seize advantage through innovation must understand the context of this change.
There are a couple of key drivers for cloud computing’s current well-regarded status.
The first comes from an internal perspective. Increased awareness of tailored cloud solutions that address an enterprise’s specific pain points has kindled much enthusiasm amongst board members. Recent Mckinsey research has shown that as many as 80% of large businesses will hand at least one workload each to a public cloud provider by 2018.The technology has evolved to encompass the versatility it once lacked, and therefore appears a far more attractive proposition to conservative business leaders.
Contrast how cloud was understood five years ago to how it is perceived now: as recently as 2011, HBR was writing articles cautioning against large scale transformation as it could “actually impede [large companies’] ability to sense change and respond quickly.” The present reality is that without cloud, enterprises are hard-pressed to keep up with the rapid changes in the market.
This brings us to the second key driver of digital transformation: innovative disruptors. The last few years have seen a distinct rise in new entrants to a plethora of sectors, each leveraging digital innovation to eat up significant portions of the market. The result has been a wakeup call for the final few dissenters. Without the powerful advantages afforded by moving to the cloud (like reduced time-to-market and increased scalability) business leaders realised that they risk being swept away by these disruptive forces in the market. Successful pitches for movement to the cloud focus less on ‘can we afford to move to the cloud’ and more on ‘can we afford not to?’.
In Part Two, we will focus on the 5 critical steps for planning your move to the cloud, as well as the most common areas of the move where businesses encounter problems.
Learn more, download our latest e-book ‘Cloud’s Never More Than Three Steps Away.