Using the Cloud as a Tool to Achieve Business Goals

BrandPost By Randy Armknecht, David Kissane, James Fox
Apr 06, 2022
Cloud Computing

Successful organizations do more than move traditional data to the cloud. They make a true shift to the cloud.

Credit: Protiviti

Successful organizations do not merely move traditional data to cloud platforms to have better data access – they shift to the cloud by thinking differently, using the cloud as a tool to achieve business goals by implementing a strong cloud infrastructure.

Cloud has become a key enabler for organizations to develop, grow and compete in today’s marketplace and can bring speed, agility, resilience and visibility. But taking on too much at once or not following a tested model with clear foundations for successful cloud consumption can result in analysis paralysis and business concerns on whether cloud is a true enabler. Organizations may decide to execute a multi-stage migration rather than undertaking a comprehensive re-architecture as an incremental approach to cloud adoption provides time to refine the approach and effectively demonstrate progress and benefits.

Factors for successfully leveraging the cloud to enable business goals include:

  • Transforming data processes
  • Addressing the operating model and skillset considerations
  • Compliance by design
  • Minimizing complexity
  • Optimizing costs

Shed What No Longer Propels You

Transforming data processes is critical to capitalizing on technology modernization. Organizations should not rely on old tools, such as using Excel spreadsheets for change management, when there are many highly effective cloud-based tools that enable a more efficient, effective and consistent way forward. Abandon existing processes to the extent they are preventing the company from achieving greater goals.

Take Your People Along on the Ride

Enterprise transformation demands change management and navigating skillsets so employees can operate with confidence and evolve with the business. Bring people along on the transformation journey. As processes and technology change, employees should be trained so skillsets align with new approaches. To maximize ROI, organizations must think innovatively by adopting new practices like Agile for work effort management and DevOps for rapid provisioning of business solutions into the cloud.

Compliance is Not an Afterthought

Compliance and security should be built by design and integrated into cloud solutions to enable better and safer consumption while leveraging the innovative nature of cloud services within any organization. Cloud deployment can be automatically driven, with entities spinning up numerous new systems while incorporating security and compliance along the way. Cloud-native paradigms such as DevSecOps can simultaneously incorporate compliance into deployments. In comparison, traditional controls scan for vulnerabilities and apply patches at endpoints in time, putting organizations at risk during patch deployment.

Watch Costs

It is easy to acquire technology that exceeds needs or requirements — and it is even easier to forget to turn technology off when it is underutilized. Insufficient technology expense controls result in excessive and unnecessary costs, so it is important to ensure that costs are well-managed and substantiated. Cloud, finance and procurement teams should work together to weigh cloud costs against benefits. FinOps can bring financial accountability to the variable costs of cloud infrastructure, helping organizations keep a pulse on the financial health of their cloud environment.

Complexity Can Crush Clarity

Uncontrolled complexity causes chaos. An in-depth understanding of the current cloud environment is essential as it facilitates future modernization vs. the complexity of trying to understand the data environment along the journey. Companies should not overcomplicate deployment simply to use new cloud technologies but working with the Cloud Service Provider (CSP) and partners, should use cloud consumption to reduce complexity, defining this as a transformation target.

Have a 360° C-suite

C-suite executives who understand how cloud infrastructure enables their business goals have a greater likelihood of achieving those goals. All members of the team should bring an understanding and alignment towards a common business case. Then, all aspects of cloud are addressed, including cost, security, complexity, people and process. For example, having CFO buy-in early to support upfront investment is essential. Likewise, ensuring the chief data officer (CDO) and chief marketing officer (CMO) collaborate on how the cloud infrastructure supports the business case is critical to achieving revenue results. When communication and collaboration are lacking, conflicting scenarios develop — although revenue may increase, risk also may be higher.

Engaging the C-suite about departmental challenges and opportunities uncovers gems of insight that can be used to improve efficiency or increase value in departments outside of IT. While communicating early and often is key for all members of the C-suite, there are some issues that are important for certain executives to be aware of, including:

  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO) – A lack of cloud consumption control can allow costs to spiral. Implementing controls ahead of time can save money and provide greater oversight. The impact of infrastructure changing from CapEx to a consumption-driven OpEx model should be analyzed and understood.
  • Chief Risk Officer (CRO)/Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) – Understanding the differences in how CROs and CCOs control risk is important due to the shift from interim approvals to DevOps automation. A combination of learning and incorporating appropriate checks into automation processes is important.
  • Chief Audit Executive (CAE) – With cloud infrastructure automation, controls become codified where they were previously in easy-to-comprehend word documents. To address codification, auditors must be properly trained to understand and read code and provide assurance on proper automation design and operation.
  • Chief Data Officer (CDO) – Knowing data location and cost is key. As data size grows, risk complexity increases, making it more important to manage the volume of data and the controls and compliance around that data.
  • Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) – Cloud enables a holistic user experience across end points so that services integrate with call centers, mobile apps, home assistant devices and other access points. This affords richer data to elevate enterprise offerings delivered to consumers.

What’s Next?

Companies at the beginning of their cloud adoption journey should plan and analyze their current environment, assess their workforce and determine and augment skillsets. Those further along in the cloud journey should look for ongoing optimization opportunities and continuous improvement. Lastly, enterprises approaching completion of cloud transformation should solidify benefits in accordance with those defined in the cloud transformation business plan.

To learn more about Protiviti Cloud Services, visit us here.

Connect with the authors:

Randy Armknecht

Managing Director, Global Cloud Services Lead

David Kissane

Managing Director, Cloud Services

James Fox

Managing Director, Cloud Services

To learn more about Protiviti Cloud Services, visit us here.