Cloud adoption should go beyond efficiency & create business opportunities
February 02, 2022
When people talk about cloud adoption and digital transformation, the conversation often focuses tightly on technical matters: increasing platform and software efficiency. But there’s a strategic dimension to cloud transformation that transcends technology and targets primary business goals.
What does cloud transformation mean from a business growth point of view, and why is it such a vital issue for corporate leadership and governance?
Top priority risk management
Large, well-established companies have tended to see themselves as resistant to competitive challenges by smaller players. But the digital era has rapidly changed that paradigm.
One of the biggest risks faced by established companies right now is being overtaken by disruptive competitors using more powerful, innovative cloud platforms. So, an ambitious, creative cloud transformation plan is a vital risk management strategy for market incumbents.
Even small startups can present an existential competitive threat if they’re built on cloud technology that bestows critical competitive advantages. When we think about disruptive business technology, we tend to think of novel proprietary software offering specific solutions. But foundational cloud technology platforms can also deliver disruptive capabilities. Flexibility, modernity, enhanced security and greater scope for innovation are just a few of the headline advantages of cloud IT ecosystems. So, any company, even those selling well known, traditional products, can gain significant competitive advantages by m6igrating their user experience and operations to cloud platforms.
Cloud adoption underpins better UX
Migrating IT systems to the cloud puts better infrastructure in place, but the next layer of optimisation on top of that is digital modernisation. Cloud platforms deliver a versatile, capable set of tools to enhance and expand the way an organisation’s users interact with them.
New South Wales Land Registry Services’ (NSWLRS) modernisation process illustrates the transformative potential of cloud adoption for established organisations. The essential first steps of the NSWLRS migration involved moving the contents of more than a hundred and fifty data servers to the new cloud platform with a redesigned data management system. That primary step delivered very significant efficiencies, but the next step was to put systems in place that would transform the experience of NSWLRS’ users.
The new NSWLRS cloud platform enabled the creation of user-friendly customer portals for viewing maps and land registration records. For the first time, NSWLRS customers could find the information they needed in one place, simply and easily on a fast, simple to navigate online platform. And because the new system is cloud-based, it can evolve and iterate to accommodate NSWLRS customers’ future needs.
While a robust and efficient new platform were important tech remediation goals for NSWLRS, the capacity to keep up with their users’ evolving expectations is the transformative achievement of their cloud adoption journey.
The main reasons cloud adoptions fail
Looking beyond basic technological prerequisites is an essential component to cloud success. Haste and lack of planning are common reasons for cloud adoptions failing, but transformation is a whole-of-business activity so to be truly successful requires creative and strategic change.
From the very earliest stages of cloud adoption planning, the transformation team need to have their sights set on strategic organisational goals. It’s not enough to simply aim to make the existing system work better; there’s an opportunity in cloud adoption to open up the horizon and create new business growth channels. Likewise, if an organisation dives into cloud migration without consulting widely with their team, then they’re missing a key opportunity to create broader value across the organisation.
The flexibility and virtually unlimited scope of cloud-based tools give companies the capacity to redefine their portfolios and customer relationships. Iteration of services and products is easier than ever before, but without a clear understanding of strategic goals, new cloud owners don’t necessarily get the best out of that opportunity.
Technology engineering and strategic planning should be closely connected; in lockstep together. They’re complementary activities that enable one another, so there needs to be an agile collaboration between the two essential functions. By keeping tech and business strategy teams connected, we can fast-forward business goals while also making potential cloud adoption hazards more transparent.
Making the most of the cloud opportunity
When an organisation’s leadership are talking to their cloud transformation team in the early stages of planning, the cloud specialists have a responsibility to draw out these goals and help leadership define their strategy. For people unfamiliar with the wide scope of cloud platforms, it’s hard to make the quantum leap to think in such unconstrained terms. Cloud specialists are uniquely prepared to discover new opportunities in cloud adoption processes because they see the big picture of what cloud platforms can do.
Cloud engineers and user experience specialists are relatively new professional roles, so there isn’t yet a widespread understanding of how vital these people are to achieving business goals. But if we compare the role of cloud design teams to architects or mechanical engineers in the traditional industrial paradigm, then it becomes clearer. Cloud designers interpret the goals of business leaders and translate those intentions into efficient, scalable mechanisms to produce revenue and competitive edge. Their role goes far beyond mere implementation: they’re the inventors and innovators who find new and better ways to accomplish outcomes.
When an organisation is starting to think about cloud transformation, the wider IT working group executing that change should be involved in all aspects of the conversation. This is a process where you want the IT specialists in the room for planning and strategic reasons. Beyond expert perspectives on logistics and infrastructure, cloud specialists will bring creative ideas to the table that can deliver ongoing benefits for decades to come. That might seem counter-intuitive from a traditional point of view, where organisations have seen IT people as technicians. But it makes complete sense when we consider that today, the world’s most successful companies have their foundations in creative engineering and innovative technology.
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