Cloud computing (opens in new tab), once considered a pure efficiency play and the sole responsibility of the technology team, is increasingly becoming an imperative for businesses of all types — and taking a front seat on the CEO’s agenda. The reasons are clear. Recent research shows that firms leveraging the cloud to transform every aspect of business are driving 10 times the return on investment of those in the early stages of adoption. Yet many U.K. firms have yet to buy in, as only 5% say they are at an advanced stage in their migration of core processes to the cloud, compared with 10% in the U.S.
Remco Hoppezak is Head of Cloud Sales for Wipro FullStride Cloud Services (opens in new tab).
The inconvenient truth is that businesses suffer myriad wasted opportunities and competitive disadvantages by putting off holistic cloud (opens in new tab) adoption. Within two years, companies that move to the cloud can increase revenue by 59%, grow market share by 46%, improve customer (opens in new tab) retention by 31%, and boost shareholder value by 30%.
So why are firms falling behind? Facts are not always a winning argument. Anytime a calculated decision is involved — and cloud migrations are exactly that — the C-suite can reasonably get cold feet. The tangible benefits clash with the psychological stressors that such a move entails, making many well-intentioned CEOs and other stakeholders think twice. Further, the journey to the cloud is not without its challenges, as cybersecurity (opens in new tab) concerns, building a business strategy around cloud, meeting country-specific governance compliance requirements, aligning across the enterprise, and prioritizing investment areas can cause friction within the C-suite itself — and beyond.
Here are some of the most effective ways leaders can address those challenges and make the transition to the cloud as smooth as possible:
1. Improving cybersecurity for faster cloud adoption
Security (opens in new tab) is the bedrock of the cloud, and leaders give this the attention it deserves. Avoiding abuse of service, distributed denial of service attacks, and reputational damage are just a few of the advantages of utilizing cloud. Adopting cloud will help an organization to improve its cyber resilience. In that sense, this improved cyber resilience will make cloud adoption faster, which can help win over sceptics and broaden its application to serve the business better.
2. Devising a strong enterprise cloud data strategy
Development and transformation of cloud should always serve the enterprise’s business units as well as its customers. Technology and talent need to be used in conjunction to ensure businesses are optimizing investments in the cloud. The lasting pandemic has amplified the importance of building new channels, strengthening existing ones, and listening to market and client demand. In the end, an excellent customer experience (opens in new tab) is one that is executed through well-managed, secure technology and that is amplified and delivered by employees. This holistic approach also leads to new and more sophisticated initiatives and helps garner the full support of those inside the enterprise. Cloud is a people business, after all.
3. Investing in a cloud-savvy enterprise workplace
Well-governed processes, organizational structure and a strong technology posture are all results of an ironclad enterprise architecture that also allows you to keep risks in check and increase maturity to harvest all cloud-related benefits. Take infrastructure as code as an example, where you can ensure sizing, configuring, and provisioning of services is automated — thus helping meet the performance and governance parameters set by the organization. The enterprise workplace is part of an all-embracing cloud strategy. How this is managed and offered to users will affect customers.
4. Determining areas ripe for reduced operational costs and better decision-making
Engaging a broad range of stakeholders and business functions to ensure alignment on priorities is critical to success and ensuring ongoing investments in the cloud. And as more parts of the organization jump on the cloud journey, the benefits realized are sure to create a halo effect, increasing engagement and buy-in. Being transparent about the decision process, sharing learnings and results across stakeholder groups, and aiming to level the playing field for all parts of the business should be priorities for all leaders.
Naturally, the future of business isn’t uniform: Every business will look and adapt differently to the rapid shifts in the marketplace. However, as the business advantages of cloud adoption become clearer, CEOs will need to become more involved in key decisions surrounding the cloud. In fact, U.K.-based CEOs are increasingly taking a leading role in cloud investment decisions, and nearly a quarter (22%) of U.K.-based companies say their CEOs are responsible for overall cloud strategy and implementation.
CEOs are already working on future-proofing their businesses and setting the foundation for more agile, more flexible, and more tech-forward operations. And those who take the appropriate action with cloud as a strategic business priority are bound to take the lead within their market in the coming months and years.
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