Migrating your organisation to the cloud can be a complex business, yet it’s become an important aspect of technology strategies within today’s enterprises.
Recent research with 900 IT leaders, carried out by cloud communications provider Fuze, reveals that 97 per cent will have a formal cloud strategy in place by the end of 2017 and 81 percent say they already have a dedicated cloud champion in place who is responsible for driving cloud-related initiatives.
With fewer than 10 percent of IT leaders confirming they have no plans to move critical business functions such as communication, HR, storage, security and CRM to the cloud, it appears that cloud computing technology is set to infiltrate almost every part of the enterprise in 2017.
There’s admittedly some way to go for today’s IT leaders to deliver on their cloud plans. For example, in North America, 45 percent of enterprises have implemented a cloud migration strategy across their entire organisation, yet this figure falls to around a quarter in France and Germany and just 10 per cent in the UK.
It leaders have clear intentions to embrace the cloud and have the strategy and cloud champion in place to accelerate enterprise-wide initiatives.
Here are four reasons why 2017 needs to be the year of the cloud champion, where the best intentions of IT leaders become a reality that drives business success:
- The App Generation is coming
Today, businesses are on the cusp of welcoming a disruptive force into the workplace – the App Generation. Having grown up never knowing the world without smartphones and on-tap internet access, these teenagers (aged from 15 to 18 years) will introduce an entirely new dynamic for IT departments, with their expectations to be permanently connected.
Three-quarters of the App Generation expects to be able to use the latest technology at work, and they will demand technologies that fit with the way they want to work, interact, and collaborate. At the heart of this trend is an expectation that has been set by consumer devices, with IT leaders under pressure to introduce and deploy technologies with the same usability, accessibility, and seamless integration that users experience as consumers.
- Your workforce will become super mobile and super connected
Flexible work arrangements aren’t a new concept. Home working, flexi-time and job sharing have been in place for years within many organisations. The UK Flexible Working Regulations 2014 then formalised the opportunity for all employees (not just parents and carers) to request flexible working to suit their needs.
The majority of today’s workforce (83 percent) already believe they don’t need to be in an office to be productive. The arrival of the app generation into the workplace will only serve to accelerate the demand to abandon traditional nine to five hours and work flexibly.
As members of the app generation advance in their careers, flexible working will no longer be considered a benefit – it will be an expectation. As flexible, multi-location and multi-device working become the status quo, IT leaders will be challenged to support this requirement across the organisation.
This trend will put the spotlight firmly on communication and collaboration for IT leaders. Increased workforce mobility and flexibility need a new approach to technology – one that enables effective communication and a consistent experience for every employee, regardless of how and where they work. It’s no surprise that already, 59 percent of IT leaders are treating the adoption of new communications platforms as a top priority for 2017.
- Removing complexity will drive innovation
More than three-quarters of IT leaders (78 percent) believe the IT department’s ability to innovate is critical to business success. Unfortunately, for the average CIO, time to plan and work on innovations is one thing that is often in short supply.
Only 37 percent of IT leaders says they are spending adequate time on innovation. Instead, today’s IT teams are focusing their time on managing IT platforms and resolving user issues. Given this situation, is it any wonder that so many are struggling to manage a cross-department migration to the cloud?
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Communication and collaboration are one of the main areas where IT leaders are experiencing a productivity drain – managing and maintaining the applications, providing ongoing support to users and dealing with the complexity of multiple apps and on-premises equipment. On average, enterprises today are running 12 applications for video calling, voice conferencing and live chat alone.
The cloud offers numerous opportunities to unleash IT teams from the constraints of day-to-day communications operations. Voice, video and collaboration applications can be provided on a single cloud platform and delivered to any user on-demand, while the cost and time associated with on-premises equipment can be eradicated.
With a cloud champion, enterprises will have a sponsor to drive the simplification of IT infrastructures, reducing the number of applications, and providing workers with easy-to-use, single-app alternatives. In doing so, the IT function can dramatically transition IT from an operational function to a driver of innovation and fresh approaches.
- An internal advocate will accelerate enterprise-wide adoption
A cloud champion will provide a much-needed strategic focus for any cloud migration. While the intention of nearly all IT leaders is to have a formal cloud strategy in place by the end of 2017, there’s some work to do to accelerate cloud initiatives. Today only 30 percent have implemented one across the entire organisation and 36 percent only have ‘part’ of a cloud migration strategy.
Without an enterprise-wide strategy in place many businesses will find themselves faced with a piecemeal approach to cloud migration, moving one technology at a time. This disjointed vision leads to a lack of continuity across departments, with little consideration for how technologies will integrate or how this will impact the user experience.
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Using a cloud champion, IT leaders can create a ‘broker’ for all enterprise cloud services, with a champion that gives cloud migration the consideration it deserves. The organisation’s enterprise-wide migration can be strategically aligned to the entire needs of the business, without having to stop or stall the day-to-day operations of the IT department.
Clouds on the horizon
When it comes to the cloud, the future is in sight. Two-thirds of business leaders already have a formal cloud strategy implemented across all or part of the business, and 80 percent of companies have an internal champion driving cloud migration. By the end of 2017, 97 percent of organisations anticipate having a formal cloud strategy in place, and 92 percent will have an internal champion driving this.
Embracing the cloud is the first step toward staying ahead of the curve. However, IT departments will only be able to drive real innovation and competitive advantage when they define how to make a move, plan what to strategically migrate and ensure full integration once working within the cloud.