Cloud-Enabled Business Transformation Is An Uncomfortable – But Rewarding – Journey
The new normal has forced a more accelerated pace of change, but moving fast can be uncomfortable. You’ll be asked to make recommendations on situations that you’ve rarely encountered, empower different kinds of teams and assess business value in an environment for which the existing set of metrics is not complete. This means you will need to be visionary, broaden your thought processes, seek diverse perspectives and convince others about what will be valuable to your organization.
If you go slow, you might get things exactly right, but you’ll also be about two years too late. As Mark Twain said, “Incremental improvement is better than delayed perfection.”
That’s why agility and speed – which cloud technology enables – are the order of the day.
Here are some ways you can move fast and bring new value to your customers and business.
Broaden the Way You Think About ROI and Risk
Many people have jumped on the digital transformation bandwagon, but not everyone understands the implications of it. Business people may know that the team will win, but they may not understand how or why it will win. As a result, they may be willing to do only a few things differently. This may be because the classic return on investment (ROI) analysis doesn’t apply well to digital transformation and, more importantly, to cloud environments. The classic model misses the lower risk, agility and speed that the cloud delivers.
Understand that the cloud allows you to model a project quickly, so you don’t need to spend weeks figuring out an architecture, trying to determine the exact computing or storage to acquire, or which licensing agreement to engage. Be aware that a cloud computing platform can enable you to adjust decisions to fit changes in the business. Stop overspending on infrastructure; instead, use the cloud to scale up and down as needed. Spend time on the business value of the initiative.
Find a Business Leader to Champion Your Cloud Efforts and Help You Tell the Story
Identify and connect with somebody on the business side who can be the champion of your cloud-based digital transformation. Select someone who understands the business value of a digital transformation and will partner to develop the value proposition and tell the story.
Work with this person to educate others on the business value that the transformation will deliver. Getting the business side involved will help you illustrate that you’re not just adopting technology for technology’s sake – because it’s the coolest thing out there.
We modernized an application that was running on an outdated platform for one of our customers. Changes were difficult and talent to support it was virtually non-existent. With the modernized application, the company can now secure more business. Running it in the cloud translates to faster associate onboarding because the company doesn’t have to install the application on new employees’ desktops. Employees don’t have to wait a week to start doing their jobs. In essence, the business value was more revenue, more productivity, quicker changes to adjust to the market and minimal capital expense for computing and storage capability.
Consider working with a partner to help you communicate the value of the cloud to your board and business leaders. A partner with cloud expertise will emphasize quality over quantity and can share case studies that illustrate how others have realized business benefits from the cloud.
Understand that there’s no template for how to do things in this environment. Some cloud solution providers do the same things over and over again and will want to repeat these same things for you. Avoid such companies and choose a partner that caters to your unique needs and can help you market the business value of your transformation.
Leverage Smaller, More Nimble Teams
Use smaller teams to focus on small chunks of work. Make sure these teams represent different functions within your business. That way, departmental silos won’t slow you down. Rather than micromanaging these teams, trust and empower them to do their jobs.
A large retailer is an example of this new model at work. Its cross-functional product teams include a product manager, who is usually not from IT; developers or engineers from IT; and a user experience designer. Leadership doesn’t tell them how to solve a problem, it only says what the problem is and the key performance indicators that they need to work against.
The team decides the structure, which can change based on the challenge at hand. Team members get on a call in the morning and decide who will do what and by when. They’re good to go. It’s quick and simple. Most importantly, the team is accountable for the results.
Focus on Forward Momentum Rather Than Disruption
There’s a lot of talk these days about how organizations need to “accept that disruptive change is the norm.” Rather than focusing on disruption, concentrate on how to make change and innovation inherent to how your organization and the teams within it function.
My company is implementing a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. People may think that once the system is in, we can all take a breather. But as soon as we start using the new system, we’re going to tell our associates all of the things we want to do with it.
Once you roll out a new solution, don’t stop to smell the roses – look at what’s next, but do so in the context of incremental change – not delayed perfection.
Continuous innovation and improvement, nimble teams, cloud champions, a broad perspective on ROI and risk, and quality partners will make you more responsive, cutting edge and faster. Rather than skating with the puck, you’ll be able to skate to where the puck is going to be.
It may be an uncomfortable journey at times, but it’s where your business needs to go.
This blog was originally published on Forbes.com. Link.