A Transformation Led Cloud Strategy Brings Success
Most businesses recognize the inevitability of cloud computing in their quest for digital transformation. As a result, they are gradually shifting focus from incremental to transformational benefits from their cloud investments.
Infosys recently commissioned a study based on a survey of 876 executives from organizations with over US$ 1 billion in revenues across the United States, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The respondents were senior executives involved in cloud initiatives representing both technology and business functions. The primary objective of the study was to better understand the specifics of cloud initiatives among these enterprises, both from the strategic and implementation viewpoints. Some of the questions to which they were seeking answers were as follows: What factors drive cloud adoption? What prevents aggressive large-scale adoption? What is the impact of this reluctance to adopt cloud? What next for cloud?
The research found that an overwhelming 94 percent of the enterprises surveyed have a definite enterprise-wide cloud strategy. However, different factors govern decision-making over cloud at different stages. At the launch stage, strategic factors are the biggest drivers. The survey found that respondents picked emerging technologies and opportunities they present (50 percent) and competitive activity (49 percent) as the two biggest drivers. Even though it was the promise of reduced IT costs which first kicked off the cloud, this factor came in at number three, picked by 45 percent. The study also revealed that operational triggers such as data security, the ability to scale on demand, need for high levels of system availability and resilience do matter when enterprises decide to adopt cloud.
Choosing the right cloud model
Even through there is plenty of information available on the pros and cons of each cloud model, enterprises still need to contend with the choice of the right model for their business. The ability to demonstrate appropriate ROI through reduced costs, increased efficiencies, and collaboration in order to gain stakeholder confidence was a concern for 41 percent of the enterprises. Also, 40 percent of respondents said they were apprehensive about relying significantly on external solution providers to further their cloud journey.
As enterprises launch cloud programs, they face several unanticipated challenges. Aligning of legacy systems (59 percent) was stated as a top challenge; a finding that is not entirely surprising given that the use of legacy systems is still widespread in most enterprises. Legacy systems typically require significant investments from enterprises as they navigate through the process of migrating them to the cloud. It is more complicated than a simplistic “lift-and-shift” of applications. The second rung of challenges which are of equal concern (56 percent) include deciding on the choice of tools and technologies, resources with cloud skill sets, accurate estimation of time and costs, promoting cultural change, and collaboration with external service providers.
The way forward for cloud
There is enough evidence to show that the absence of a robust cloud infrastructure can jeopardize several programs and overall business performance. Most often enterprises show some reluctance to rely on external partners as evidenced by the study, but the truth is that most of them are not fully equipped to handle the varied set of challenges on their own. External partners present the best path to success with their ability to provide resources with diverse skill sets at the same time.
Without a strategy for cloud initiatives, organizations might be potentially exposing themselves to all the issues that typically plague enterprises that are at a more advanced stage in cloud implementation. A well thought of strategy and execution must be aligned to business goals and across business functions. The goal must be to establish a scalable foundation even if it means sacrificing tactical gains in the short-term. A cloud strategy that is transformation led and not transition led has better chances of success. Lastly, it is imperative to demonstrate RoI frequently and retain stakeholders confidence to ensure success.
‘Navigate your digital transformation with Cloud’ offers some important insights into the factors that drive enterprises at every stage of their cloud journey. The full text of the report is available here.