In response to climate changes, tropical trees in the Andes are moving higher between 8-12 feet vertically in a year to cooler grounds to support their existence. That\u2019s nature adapting for survival.\nA 2016 McGill University study found city birds are smarter than their country counterparts. A city bird learns to eat crumbs off a restaurant plate bringing to us lessons on exploiting new resources.\nTaking a cue from nature, businesses must learn to adapt, be more agile and rethink on their strategies in an environment that is continually getting disrupted by digital technologies and new business models. Like the city birds or the tropical trees, their ability to move, adapt and scale quickly will decide their future.\nThe competition has grown tougher with not just digital natives but also many of the incumbents competing in new digital ways. Companies who adopt an operating model that continually pivots in response to changing market demands, with both improved business processes on the inside and new end-to-end customer journeys on the outside are the ones who will succeed.\nWhile digital transformation is top of mind, a Forrester study found that over half of the digital transformation efforts stalled out in 2018.\nDigital transformation is not just about technology\nMost businesses view digital transformation as mere technological transformation, but to be effective, it must include a revamp of systems and processes \u2013 in addition to a cultural transformation. It also necessitates exploring newer business models.\nDigital transformation is particularly challenging for businesses that own large legacy infrastructure that are not compatible to newer technologies. This makes agile innovation at speed and scale a huge challenge. Change management issues and heavy investment requirements create additional hurdles.\nMoving applications to the cloud\nEvery organization has a multitude of enterprise applications whether it is ERP, CRM, SCM and HRM that keep the business operating smoothly and meet the customer need. Traditionally, these applications were monolithic packages hosted on-premise involving cumbersome implementation cycles. Digital capabilities can deliver enhanced operational efficiencies, improving business agility. This makes cloud-based apps a great investment. With cloud, implementation became shorter, agile with low dependency on both software and hardware systems. Cloud based applications delivered through an XaaS model allow enterprises to be quicker, more open and more adaptive.\nInfosys recently put together a research report titled, \u201cBehind the Scenes of an Intelligent Enterprise: Moving Enterprise Applications to the Cloud\u201d where it explored the drivers and objectives of adopting cloud applications. The report incorporated inputs from 853 respondents, who were senior executives engaged in digital and cloud initiatives, across 12 industries. The study uncovered several factors around the adoption of cloud apps.\nWhile most enterprises view improved data security and superior customer experience among the top benefits, enterprises who see greater agility to respond to changing market conditions as the biggest advantage are the ones who come out as the visionaries in the market.\nMore than half of the companies we interviewed considered cloud as the building block for enabling digital transformation. An almost equal number found the advanced computing capabilities of cloud very compelling. In fact, they had several objectives in mind when they began their cloud app journey. These included:\n\nIntegration and standardization of the enterprise technology landscape\nInnovation to create competitive advantage\nReduced time to market with faster development and deployment of apps\nDelivery of enhanced customer experiences\nImproved access to data and devices thus increasing mobility and collaboration\nIncrease in reach to new geographies and markets\n\nInclusion of cloud as a strategic imperative delivered both strategic and operational benefits. It fortified their core and opened it up with API-microservices to create secure pathways that allowed them to decouple the evolution of their frontends and backends, which meant enterprises could continuously renew their front end without disrupting the core. They could experiment, quickly iterate and evolve. Empowered with next-gen digital capabilities they could drive better business outcomes often by creating new business models.\nThree approaches to migrating to the cloud\nWhen moving business applications to the cloud, enterprises need to choose an approach that aligns with their objectives and expected outcomes. Our study reports three different approaches:\n1. Line of business\u00a0\nA line of business (LOB) approach allows enterprises to independently turn on new cloud applications with little involvement from IT. This allows use of readily available third-party solutions without disrupting the existing set up. It builds stakeholder confidence around ROI.\n2. Enterprise cloud platform\nHere, it is a transformation-led approach utilizing multiple cloud services. It addresses issues around disparate systems, enables standardization and mitigates concerns about organisational readiness. However, this approach is complex and effort intensive.\n3. Combination approach\nEnterprises also chose to opt for a combination approach that offers the advantages of both but can sometimes increase the complexity due to possible conflicts between business unit strategy and wider CXO initiatives.\nIt is essential to note the critical success factors, which include:\n\nInvolvement of the business executive layer across the stages of cloud app transformation\nEnsuring clarity on digital initiatives across all levels of stakeholders\nSelecting the right partner to help navigate the journey\n\nConclusion\nToday, a majority of enterprises see cloud applications as a driver for business transformation. In this journey, the best of the companies build operating models that are responsive to changing market needs. As they navigate this path, several critical decisions need to be made such as which cloud approach to take, what are the technology investments that should be repurposed, how to gain stakeholder confidence on ROI and keep up with the latest data security. Ensuring that you make the right decisions is critical for success.