As cloud continues to be a catalyst for business transformation, organizations are looking to these technologies to accelerate delivering results with measureable business value. This includes everything from expanding globally, growing revenue, and optimizing costs to increasing product innovation and boosting customer acquisition and retention.
The key to creating and boosting this value, say KPMG specialists, is combining cloud with automation. Robotics process automation, cognitive automation, and artificial intelligence/machine learning, they say, are key to enabling cloud to run at the speed and scale of business and helping information technology (IT) evolve with the necessary agility, innovation, and quality needed to attain the outcomes today’s businesses expect.
Automation and cloud are fundamentally changing how and where work gets done, says Corey Jacobson, director, CIO Advisory, at KPMG. “These are the dynamic building blocks that, together, provide frictionless access to products, services, and features to experiment, build, and run at market speed and scale,” he explains, adding that it is the combination of the two that provides the responsiveness and flexibility businesses expect.
“Automation, together with cloud, shortens lead times and cycle times by providing access to a set of services at the touch of a keystroke,” he says. Organizations can automate routine tasks so they can do more with less, as well as gain better accuracy. “If you have repeatable provisioning process for a standard set of services with security controls and policies embedded in the codified service patterns, you can have self-services and automated end-to-end process that can scale and produce the expected result every time it’s executed,” he says.
That said, there are three major barriers that organizations must remove as they evolve their ways of working and try to get the most value out of cloud.
1. Automation of operations.
The first barrier, says Jacobson, is to codify the cloud services along with an organization’s core building blocks in place to take advantage of automation. “I call it putting the organization wrapper around the services cloud providers offer,” he says. “Do you have the right portfolio of services designed and built with the appropriate network connectivity, controls, and policies that best serve your organization? Today’s consumers of cloud services want the autonomy and flexibility to promote on-demand deployment of standardized technology stacks and flexibility integrated with their CI/CD pipelines.”
2. Operating model changes.
Organizations should not simply automate existing processes; they have to first evaluate what is the body of work, how that work gets done, where it gets done, and then finally who manages and executes the work, Jacobson adds. “Don’t lift and shift your issues or problems,” he says. “You have to reimagine the operating model and determine how to shrink IT debt in order to get the most value out of cloud and automation.”
3. Culture shift to provide best customer experience.
In order to truly change their ways using cloud and automation to get the most out of cloud, IT organizations must shift their mind-set to strive to automate everything in the context of building trust with their customers, says Jacobson. “It’s hard to change operating model and technology landscape if the organization culture hasn’t changed focus providing a superior services through automation that builds trust,” he explains. “IT has to think about, ‘How do I best advise my customers on using cloud and automation to achieve their outcomes and then get out of their way by providing frictionless access to services from experimentation to production?’”
4. Creating a strong strategy for an automation/cloud connection
There is no doubt that cloud and automation are a dynamic duo powering transformations to run at market speed. But to move down the path, Jacobson says IT needs to understand the business imperatives and how cloud and automation can enable them.
“You need to start with vision of how the organization wants to operate in the future,” says Jacobson. “Then set the rules of the road for using cloud and automation to achieve its objectives with measureable results. Once you have the vision and guardrails, you can mobilize a team to evaluate opportunities to inform the build out of cloud and automation foundational capabilities and change the ways of working, then evangelize leading practices and services, and scale and improve over time.”
Learn more about accelerating value in the cloud here.