Principal Solution Architect, Cloud Adoption
When people talk about cloud adoption and digital transformation, the conversation often focuses tightly on technical matters: increasing platform security and optimising software efficiency. But there’s a strategic dimension to cloud transformation that transcends technology and targets primary business goals.
One of the biggest risks faced by established companies right now is being overtaken by disruptive competitors using more powerful, innovative cloud platforms. So having an ambitious, creative cloud transformation plan is a vital risk management strategy for market incumbents.
What is your critical competitive advantage?
Any business can present an existential competitive threat if they’re built on cloud technology that unlocks capability over their competitors. When thinking about disruptive business technology, we tend to think of novel proprietary software offering specific solutions that have been merged into a dramatic new offering. But foundational cloud technology platforms can also deliver disruptive capabilities that harness observability and speed (securely) above all else. With the demand on flexibility, modernisation, enhanced security and a greater appetite for innovation – realising technology goals in a short period of time does give you the competitive advantage.
Why focus on User Experience?
Migrating IT systems to the cloud puts better infrastructure in place, but the next layer of optimisation on top of that is digital modernisation. Cloud platforms deliver a versatile and capable set of tools to enhance and expand the way an organisation’s users interact with them. Having a robust and efficient new platform are important tech remediation goals which allow businesses to keep up with their users’ evolving expectations, which in turn results in competitive advantage. This advantage is expressed with faster market exposure, quick uptake of new technologies as well as being intuitive for users to leverage and use.
Unites different business divisions and encourages cross-collaboration
It’s not enough to simply aim to make the existing system work better; there’s an opportunity in cloud adoption to open the horizon and create new business growth channels. Likewise, if an organisation dives into cloud migration without consulting widely with their team, their departments and the wider business, then they’re missing a key opportunity to create broader value across the entire organisation.
The flexibility and virtually unlimited scope of cloud-based tools give companies the capacity to redefine their portfolios and customer relationships.
Technology engineering and strategic planning should be closely connected, in lockstep together. They’re complementary activities that enable one another, so there needs to be an agile collaboration between the two essential functions. By keeping tech and business strategy teams connected, business goals can be accelerated while also making potential cloud adoption hazards more transparent.
Making the most of the cloud opportunity
When an organisation’s leadership team are talking to their cloud transformation team in the early stages of planning, cloud specialists have a responsibility to draw out these goals and help leadership define their strategy. This can be expressed in clarifying the near term, medium term and long-term objectives. Attaching real value to each target, either if it is market led adoption on their products or services or a breakout of consumption leading into stronger revenue. Again, expressing it with realised measurements that unlock the platform from constraints.
Cloud engineers and user experience specialists are relatively new professional roles, so there isn’t yet a widespread understanding of how vital these people are to achieving business goals. But if we compare the role of cloud design teams to architects or mechanical engineers, then it becomes clearer. Cloud designers interpret the goals of business leaders and translate those intentions into efficient, scalable mechanisms to produce revenue and competitive edge. Their role goes far beyond mere implementation: they’re the inventors and innovators who find new and better ways to accomplish outcomes.
When an organisation is starting to think about cloud transformation, the wider IT working group executing that change should be involved in all aspects of the conversation. This is a process where you want the IT specialists in the room for planning and strategic reasons. Beyond expert perspectives on logistics and infrastructure, cloud specialists will bring creative ideas to the table that can deliver ongoing benefits for decades to come. That might seem counter-intuitive from a traditional point of view, where organisations have seen IT people as technicians. But it makes complete sense when we consider that today, the world’s most successful companies have their foundations in creative engineering and innovative technology.