When it comes to harnessing the cloud in the post-pandemic world, the question isn’t whether you will or not—the only question is how. Enterprises and ISVs face a daunting array of platforms, methodologies, best practices, and use cases to draw from, each positioning themselves as the optimal solution for your needs.

To discuss some of these topics, we recently partnered with Zinnov to present “Bridging the Value Chasm – Unlocking Cloud Capabilities and Adoption”  where we had industry leaders from Google, Red Hat, Kofax, Diebold Nixdorf, Honeywell, Ally Financial, Vista, and Blue Sphere Venture partners share their thoughts around how technology providers and enterprises are adopting cloud to become truly digital.

I’d like to share with you five of the recommendations that resonated the most with me during these roundtables:

1. Start by asking “What are we trying to achieve?”

It may seem obvious, but don’t start with “We need the cloud.” Start by asking “What are we trying to achieve?” Cloud began as a cheaper, faster alternative to on-premises solutions, but today it’s all about driving business performance and shareholder value.

A sound cloud migration strategy defines outcomes right at the beginning followed by a playbook to achieve them.

2. Identify levers that unlock innovation and business value

The true value of cloud today lies in four areas:

  • Operational efficiencies: Improving operational stability, platform resiliency, scalability, responsiveness, and uptime to deliver superior customer experiences and enable cost savings.
  • Business agility and innovation: The cloud helps bring flexibility and agility to the business. A robust cloud strategy can help by directing resources and people away from managing infrastructure and towards achieving business goals and innovation.
  • Employee engagement: As we’ve seen this past year, the cloud enables a whole new way of doing work, sharing skills and abilities in a common platform and environment, then using that to drive both business and technology forward.
  • Data consolidation: collecting data in one location allows you to unlock your organizational silos, drive insights, and really begin to treat data as an asset.

Consolidating data is the tipping point that really opens the floodgates of innovation, driving business value, optimizing your customer experience with advanced analytics, and solve all kinds of business problems.

3. When it comes to data consolidation, a few rules apply
  • Invest some time in your data strategy upfront to ensure the data is going to scale for whatever you’re deploying.
  • Don’t be in a rush to centralize everything in bulk by simply taking everything out of these silos and putting it all in one place. Some data silos will be old, others are maybe more modern which impacts how you want to prioritize effort.
  • Start with your enterprise warehouse and tap into additional well-architected sources to derive additional value out of them, and then gradually centralize the older, less structured data.
  • Consider how you are harmonizing those data modules, and what sort of business rules you are applying.
  • Be sure to account for some data cleanup efforts as well, particularly on older data sources or those acquired through acquisition or other means beyond organic growth.
4. Things could actually get worse before they get better

The key value proposition of the cloud today is that it offers the ability to fully abstract and automate the infrastructure through software, but the journey is not always smooth for mission critical applications. Things can actually get worse before they get better, at times. But they will get better!

Your migration strategy needs to unlock the value of that agility and speed but deliver those results incrementally. There’s so much to manage with monolithic legacy applications, you can’t move too fast.

5. Don’t make cloud a side project.

It requires alignment of leadership, culture, business needs, training, and more. You need to understand how all of these factors fit together holistically, and they must be fully integrated and thought through as a part of your overall shift in your culture and organization. Many organizations build a Cloud Center of Excellence to manage the people, skills, architecture, governance, and cultural considerations for cloud-driven digital transformations. These CCOEs are well suited to managing interdependencies of various activities while optimizing resource allocation.

I would like to thank Mike Piech, Angela Bhurji, Ashish Agarwal, Dan Phillips, Chris Huff, Oliver C., Ash Ashutosh, Mauro Bonugli & Manish Choudhary for being a part of the discussion and sharing their perspectives.

In case you missed the event, I would encourage you to view any of the sessions on demand to hear more.