Your organisation will move to the cloud. Whether you’ve already started adopting cloud technology, are in the midst of planning a strategy to do so or can’t quite fathom the change just yet, it is inevitable at some point in the not so distant future.
But why is cloud adoption so inevitable? What’s driving organisations to make this move? There’s actually a strategic reason behind every cloud adoption effort, and identifying and prioritising your reasons, also known as cloud drivers, is the key to success in developing and executing your cloud strategy.
Why You Need to Identify Your Cloud Drivers
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Understanding why you’re adopting cloud solutions in the first place is a crucial step to achieving your desired results. While to many this may seem obvious, more often than not organisations fail to identify their cloud drivers in a documented strategy. Having this information clearly outlined as part of your cloud strategy is important because:
- It will help keep your cloud journey on track. With all of the “shiny objects” in the cloud world, it’s easy to get side-tracked from your original vision and goals. Identifying and documenting your cloud driver(s) from the start will help you stay true to that vision.
- It will help you prioritise any conflicts among drivers. Over time, your drivers might come into conflict with one another. For example, if you want to cut costs, you might end up inhibiting growth or hurting your customer experience. As you identify your cloud drivers, you should also prioritise them so that you have a clear answer as to which one takes precedent should any conflicts arise.
more often than not organisations fail to identify their cloud drivers in a documented strategy
Understanding the Six Possible Cloud Drivers
With all of that in mind, what might your cloud drivers look like? When you boil it down, there are only six drivers for cloud adoption: Three business-focused drivers (business growth, efficiency and experience) and three technology-focused drivers (agility, cost and assurance). Here’s what you need to know about each one:
Business growth is one of the top benefits organisations realise as a result of cloud adoption. If you identify business growth as a cloud driver for your organisation, you also need to decide how you will define growth. The answer should depend on the maturity of your business. Based on that answer, you then need to outline your plans to achieve that goal and determine how cloud technology will help in that pursuit.
Efficiency is an extremely common cloud driver, with 71% of organisations worldwide ranking it a top area they hope to approve through cloud technology (2015 Cloud Enterprise Report). At its core, efficiency is about removing unnecessary steps to streamline processes in order to increase productivity or deliver on customer requirements faster. As a result, increasing efficiency also supports business growth, by increasing worker productivity, and experience initiatives, by fulfilling customer needs faster.
Next among the business drivers is improving the quality of the customer experience, which 45% of enterprises worldwide rank as a top cloud driver (2015 Cloud Enterprise Report). Two of the most common ways organisations are achieving this goal with cloud technology are by introducing new channels of engagement and improving workplace productivity. However, the experience driver can come into direct conflict with goals around cost and efficiency. For example, if you introduce an automated phone tree for customer service, you might cut costs and increase efficiency, but your customer experience will suffer.
Improving IT agility is a top technology driver for 66% of organisations worldwide
Improving IT agility, or enabling IT to be more responsive to business needs and react faster to market changes, is a top technology driver for 66% of organisations worldwide (2015 Cloud Enterprise Report). This goal is very attainable in the cloud environment, as SaaS technologies mean that IT no longer needs to be consumed with traditional application management tasks. Cloud technologies are also easier to enhance and swap out to accommodate changing business needs. However, it’s important to recognise that the cloud environment requires a new set of IT skills around managing and brokering these products. Additionally, while increased agility can benefit the internal customer experience by making it easier to introduce new technology that users want, it can also harm it by diluting ITs ability to provide expert support.
The cost driver has two sides: Reducing IT expenses and restructuring these expenses to spread them out over time thanks to the licensing model of SaaS technologies. While 39% of organisations do consider reducing IT expenses a key cloud driver (2015 Cloud Enterprise Report), cost generally takes a backseat to other cloud drivers as organisations typically choose to reinvest any savings to help achieve other goals, such as increased agility and improved experience.
Finally, we have assurance, which is the idea that your data will be more secure in the cloud and you’ll attain better uptime because your solutions are maintained by providers who have built their businesses around these competencies. As a result, it’s no surprise that 73% of organisations report IT has benefited the most from adopting cloud technologies (2015 Cloud Enterprise Report). Although organisations in highly regulated industries do need to be more cautious here to ensure they maintain compliance with data residency laws, the cloud is still a viable option. In general, the benefits provided by assurance can also help further initiatives around IT agility.
Beginning a New Cloud Initiative? Always Ask Why!
Before you begin any new cloud initiative, it’s essential to identify which of these six possible drivers is behind your decision to move to the cloud. Once you do, you also need to prioritise it against any other drivers you have identified as part of your cloud strategy. As outlined above, doing so is essential to success because it will help keep your activities focused on your desired end goal and make it easier to resolve any conflicts between drivers when they arise.