Cloud is an important part of the digital transformation journey. It enables the business to experiment quickly, innovate faster, and reduce operational overhead, unlocking the ability to move faster with transformation. In turn, this enables the business to provide new digital experiences that can increase customer satisfaction and create new lines of revenue that ultimately grow the business.
Cloud transformation must connect to the business
Yet, to achieve these outcomes, the first step on the cloud journey should be to understand the business’s objectives and then provide an IT solution that can help support them. To illustrate the point, consider the case of a clinical research company whose cloud transformation was IT-inspired. While the technology approach was textbook, the project was not tied to a clear business objective. Over the course of the project, Medicare regulations changed, which significantly reduced the need for the product the team was developing.
Had there been a clear attachment to a business objective, the team would have pivoted efforts. However, in this case, the project continued — ultimately bleeding $5 million before it was eventually canceled.
The take-away: Had business unit leadership been involved, it could have helped set expectations and milestones for achieving progress. Further, because success was not defined, when costs ballooned without a level of measurable result, the business felt it had no choice but to cancel the project.
Moving to a business-centric outcome
Conversely, consider the case of G6 Hospitality. It underwent a digital transformation where a key tenet was to digitize the experience for customers and franchisees. In support of the goal, it set up its infrastructure in AWS where it could take advantage of containers, CI/CD pipelines, and other services to speed innovation. This resulted in the modernization of its core reservation system and the ability to accelerate the time it took to publish new APIs and new digital products to the market.
The business results were clear. Now when online travel agencies like Expedia create new offers, G6 is one of the first to take advantage of them, growing customer traction and revenue – and attracting more franchisees. Moreover, these initiatives solidified the company’s position to anticipate and react to future market changes.
When comparing these two approaches, CIOs would obviously prefer to produce successful business outcomes. By starting with a full view of the business objectives and challenges, CIOs can choose the best strategy that effectively connects the dots back to the technology transformation.
While there is no one-size-fits-all technology mapping, the best-fit digital transformation approach for one organization may be a lift and shift to the cloud, and for others, it could include refactoring applications or even rewriting an entire application if it’s a system of business differentiation.
Ultimately, the key benefits gained should include both short-term ROI like cost savings and long-term agility that results in the business being able to try new ideas quickly, experiment with them, and measure the results accurately to determine success. This iterative cycle of testing new ideas, measuring and failing fast, or quickly taking successful experiments to market, vastly improves the enterprise’s competitive position.
Embrace the journey
Cloud-based digital transformation should be viewed as a series of perpetual shifts and constant adoption of new technology rather than a one-time fix. As an organization travels down a path to cloud transformation, they can expect to move closer and closer to solving entire business problems and be able to do so with measurable business outcomes.
At the end of the day, technology is a strategic enabler that supports agility and innovation and is a key lever to accelerating business initiatives. Navigating the new normal with agility is quickly becoming table stakes; to excel beyond this goal, IT leaders should map key technology decisions to business goals and challenges to deliver meaningful business outcomes.
Learn more about navigating the cloud journey.