Digital ambitions are dependent on cloud to bring intuitive experiences and data-rich services to life, depending on your multi-cloud strategy and ongoing management. With businesses today needing to deliver better customer experiences than ever to compete in the market, it’s vital to understand the journey from current experimentation to industrial-strength innovation.
Driving purposeful innovation at scale has three key ingredients: knowing when to move initiatives out of the lab and into mission-critical business processes; integrating AI into the cloud; and de-risking the transformation process.
Nimbus Ninety members gathered at IBM, Southbank, to discuss the key challenges and pain-points in mastering the multi-cloud and how to drive that change effectively within businesses.
PURPOSEFUL INNOVATION AT SCALE
Cloud technology has been around for over a decade. In this time, it has allowed new business models to exist that were previously impossible, bringing in a whole host of disruptive influences into all sectors. However, despite its maturity in application, only 20% of cloud migration is achieved in businesses - and this is the most basic 20%. The other 80% remains locked to the ground with hindrances from legacy technology and the languid mindset that comes with it.
Data analytics, however, have given new reasons to invest in the multi-cloud from a business value perspective. With it, it’s brought in new markets and provided the platform for companies like Airbnb and Uber to achieve massive scale, fast. For businesses today, data analytics have created huge opportunities for better customer experience and business insight. Not delivering on these fronts now sets a business back: they have become centric to the functioning, and indeed, success, of the modern-day business.
However, when looking at implementing new technology, it is vital to ensure that there is a business result. It’s not enough to say you’re aiming for greater efficiency: there must be a business-driven purpose for this efficiency. Will faster roll-out help customer retention? Is your competition growing faster? Knowing why you’re deploying a technology, and what you hope to gain from it, gives streamlined purpose to your actions.
Gavin Esler, Newsnight presenter and celebrated BBC journalist, considered objectives to be the starting point in any journey.
“In order to achieve transformation, you have to set an objective, then you work out your strategy to achieve that objective, and then you worry about the tactics. The people who go wrong get obsessed with the tactics and ask, “what should we do today, tomorrow,” without asking “what is the point of all this?”. If you set out very clearly what your objective is, then you work out what are the big things you need to do; if you get it the other way round, then you get into big trouble. And that is one of the problems that businesses can learn from.”
Esler’s comment reaches across both business and politics: You have to start where you want to finish; that final point must not be limiting but achievable. IBM’s Chief Architect, Nick Drouet, asserted that changing from the inside out is the way to plan, reactivate and make new services. How can you transform at scale? You need a clear idea of what the customer wants (the “objective” advocated by Esler), and only from there, can the strategy and tactics really form.
Scaling purposefully through innovation needs to have objective at the core, otherwise it can become derailed.
THE GROWTH MINDSET
Mastering the move to the multi-cloud requires step-by-step decisions and the ability to manage complexity. The key driver is the opportunity opened up when architecture is taken out of legacy technology and into the multi-cloud: business value suddenly grows exponentially with rapid ROI through heightened efficiency and insights.
The key to this is establishing a growth mindset, through dedication and hard work. Change is exciting, but objectives remain central to giving it direction and ensuring that it doesn’t fatigue the business.
Integrating cultures of collaboration and creativity are needed to drive this; as well as a recognition of prior learning. Corporate memory is so important here: together individuals in the business can pool their experience of innovation, migration and digital transformation to learn from a variety of experience. This brings in the opportunity for constant learning to keep improving the method and processes. Preparing for failure is important; it may not completely fail but it might and that is okay – it’s another learning opportunity within the business. Resilience will be built from failing forwards.
The growth mindset also requires measuring achievement (what is it doing and can it do more?) and integrating the extra processes into the daily workload. Growth should not be an add-on – it should be integral to driving the business.
Building digital business means confronting technical debt. Many cloud challenges are to do with business operations and the problems brought in by decades of legacy technology. This provides a precarious platform for transformation to occur upon, and the risk of a security breach is high. Therefore, it’s crucial to de-risk the transformation process before it begins.
Phil Scully, CIO at Costa, reminded us that a breach puts you, your brand, your people on the line. “You have to own all of it,” he urged members. “You have to look before you leap, and being in control of your own space is really important.”
With migration, huge amounts of customer data are moving across. Scully posed the question, “are breaches as big as a singular customer? Yes, they are.” Considered like this, multi-cloud is no longer just a utility: it becomes strategic decision for a business. Knowing your technology partners is crucial in this area: there is no room for error, so everyone must be involved and engaged when it comes to security.