Ensuring success journeying to the cloud

Digital clouds against a blue background.
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Blackboard)

Experience shows that many cloud readiness and adoption efforts fail. Last year, it was predicted that over 80% of all enterprise workloads would be in the public, private or hybrid cloud by the end of 2020. Unlocking the full potential of the cloud is a prerequisite for enterprises looking to achieve sustainable and scalable success. The cloud provides a foundation to compound return on investment (ROI), create new ecosystems and their respective value streams and meet customer expectations.

About the author

Clive Deakin is Cloud Advisor for Cloudreach.

To ensure a successful transformation to the cloud you need to align your cloud strategy with the larger business and organizational strategy, and consider how the business and organization will transform as a result of this technological change.

The transformation journey towards the cloud is more often driven by the opportunity to bring substantial technology cost savings, but typically this represents only a small percentage of total spend. Greater opportunities lie in organizational efficiencies and business benefits that result from leveraging the cloud.

If the value and motivations for enduring a cloud transformation journey aren’t clearly obvious, here are several key benefits that speak to all stakeholders:

  • Allows leadership to focus on strategic initiatives
  • Improves customer experience and satisfaction for better retention and onboarding
  • Eliminates redundant technology at scale
  • Streamlines processes and increases efficiency
  • Builds economies of scale and drives company-wide value and cost-effectiveness
  • Accelerates time to market for improved competitiveness and differentiation
  • Provides clarity for risk management, compliance, regulation and security
  • Empowers more accurate estimates, forecasts and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) estimates

Anticipate and prepare for roadblocks

Despite their increasing migration to the cloud, our experience shows the majority of companies seeking to adopt cloud are experiencing varied roadblocks and resistance. This should come as no surprise due to the journey being a sprint, and not a marathon – with many changes along the way. This leads to the inevitable challenges that must be overcome.

Those frequent obstacles that most enterprises encounter when looking to get their cloud transformation either on track, started effectively, or accelerated can be summarized as follows:

Time and money

Our experience shows that many cloud adoptions, the respective migration, and transformational efforts fail because the initiatives take longer and cost more than decision makers and stakeholders anticipate.

Capability gaps

This leads to many cloud initiatives running at different levels of maturity across different units within the company. This is typically due to the current model being inflexible and entrenched over time, and those units are compelled to initiate their own independent cloud journeys.

Building alignment

Articulating, creating, and materializing fundamental change and associated “ways of working” across all touchpoints within the company presents new and different challenges.

To be ready for your transformation journey and meet challenges head-on, the right realization benefits need to be set, and you must rethink and articulate your approach. Companies cannot just rely on existing business and operating models, else investments and effort will result in little benefit, and likely fail entirely.

A three-pillar approach

Through our market-leading experience and methodologies, we have found that an advocacy that addresses the three core pillars of a company – business, organization and technology – is required to generate enthusiasm and momentum for a top-down change journey. This advocacy is a catalyst for innovation and new value streams, driving new ways of realizing the goals and benefits that are aligned to your strategy.

The resulting initiatives and pilots are more likely to evolve into endeavors that position the company for long-term success. This new way of working also aligns teams, and promotes a sense of purpose and a common mission.

Before you start, answer these questions

This transformation journey should begin with asking and addressing questions, such as:

  • What outcomes and benefits is our company looking to achieve?
  • How will the cloud address business and organizational challenges through technology?
  • Will the business and organizational culture be aligned to the technological changes of the cloud?
  • What are our drivers and expected outcomes and benefits for investing in the cloud?
  • How is technology leveraged across our company and what are the expectations of that technology?
  • Have we identified the critical path for achieving successful cloud adoption and migration?
  • Are our current policies, processes and procedures fit for purpose and how will they be impacted as part of the cloud journey?
  • Will making this journey to the cloud deliver continued and improved value to our customers?

It is also advantageous to discover and evaluate the maturity of your company’s capabilities. This maturity ‘read-out’ will empower you to determine and define your company’s measurable goals for a successful transformation journey.

These insights will allow your company to understand its transformation readiness and allow you to de-risk the end-to-end journey, guided and advised by the right experts to co-collaborate and co-create from aspiration to realization.

Cloudreach Cloud Advisor, Clive Deakin, has a wealth of experience with cloud transformation initiatives.