Why a Clear, Comprehensive Cloud Strategy Is Vital
Today's competitive business environment pushes companies to move more assets into the cloud. Digital technologies demand fast, agile and flexible IT frameworks.
The Cloud Is a Mature Technology
One thing is clear: CIOs and others have become far more comfortable with clouds, including public clouds, over the last few years. There's a growing recognition that the cloud is more than a way to trim expenses and manage costs effectively. It can deliver strategic and practical gains. Operating faster and better may lead to greater innovation and disruption.
In many cases, cloud providers deliver higher levels of service and better security than many organizations can muster internally. These capabilities, in turn, support initiatives such as DevOps and agile, faster app iterations, and the real-time digital framework that unlocks innovation and ultimately value. Clouds also unlock opportunities to use leading-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning.
"The technology has matured to the point where it's apparent that the cloud offers a superior solution," Sepple argues.
Developing a comprehensive plan requires a CIO and other business and IT leaders to examine—and often reexamine—everything from business processes to standards. Sepple says that it's important to step back and view business and IT operations in a broad and comprehensive way, all while looking for specific ways to unlock value and gain a competitive edge. This may lead an organization closer to software-defined networking or enable the use of APIs that redefine the business or the consumer marketplace.
Deloitte's Bawa says that CIOs should consider three broad strategic approaches for cloud adoption. The first is to build out a cloud environment in parallel to a current legacy environment, thoroughly test it, and then switch systems over. One Canadian insurance company he worked with recently shifted about 50 percent of its operations to the cloud using this approach, which required about nine months of planning and execution.
A second method, Bawa says, is to identify specific products or services and move all systems associated with them into the cloud. If an organization opts for this approach, he suggests prioritizing different groups of products and services based on complexity, cost and risk.
The third approach involves establishing new products, business lines and operations natively in the cloud, or adopting an M&A-as-a-Service model for mergers and acquisitions.
To be sure, today's highly competitive business environment is pushing organizations to move more assets into the cloud. Digital tools and technologies demand fast, agile and flexible IT frameworks.
"The cloud is redefining the enterprise," Bawa says. "It represents a truly efficient operating model. As the pace of innovation accelerates and organizations look to become disruptors, they must find ways to drive change into production on a daily basis."