Cloud Means Freedom

By Accenture Cloud Insights, Accenture Cloud Insights  |  March 08, 2016

By Michael Liebow, Global Managing Director - Accenture (News - Alert) Cloud Platform

As an industry, are we making clear and compelling arguments for moving your organization to the cloud? Are we speaking the language of business to business? Or, are we espousing generic cloud messages and overly hyped benefits?  If all businesses are becoming digital businesses, isn’t getting cloud right an IT imperative?

As industry leaders, isn’t time to move beyond talk and start acting? Cloud represents the biggest IT opportunity in decades.  Not just economic or technical, it represents the alignment of business with technology, wrapped in a nice ‘as-a-service’ consumption model that enables true innovation and agility – at speed.

But most organizations feel locked into a legacy of status quo operations, people and assets.  Moving to a new paradigm is extraordinarily difficult, requires significant leadership, and involves risk.  Even so, the true benefits of Cloud dictate that it’s time to free yourself of antiquated modes of operation and get moving.

When considering a [Public] Cloud First agenda, there are three irrefutable “freedoms” that can underwrite your journey:

1. Freedom to experiment. Business people yearn to experiment with new ideas – to trial new concepts – and to do it with speed. The cloud allows you to run more experiments thanks to with much lower hurdles. The cloud skirts existing competitive internal processes for capital, procurement and talent.  It allows any team to demonstrate early success and scale. It allows for a non-combative approach and yields a significant higher rate of trial, error and repeat.

2. Freedom to Fail. It’s true that we celebrate innovation, but there’s also a very real tendency to punish failure. The desire to experiment is quashed, and promising ideas don’t get considered if they are seen as too risky. Meanwhile, other projects get over-funded to mitigate risk, or they wheeze forward on life support because no one wants to admit failure. In both cases, cloud reduces the cost of failure and improves the speed to failure.  It frees up working capital that could be used for interesting initiatives. It provides the ability to run small projects without capital expenditures and allows for the freedom to fail, allowing experiments to succeed step by step. Alternatively, it allows you to shut down projects quickly, avoiding the apparent industry standard three-year run to equipment depreciation.

3. Freedom to be agile. Large companies have a hard time competing against small-firm agility unless they are agile themselves. Cloud represents the opportunity for large organizations to streamline process and form smaller, more nimble teams —shaking out all kinds of friction in the innovation process and enabling senior management to focus on core problems and differentiated valued-added efforts. One of the key advantages of the cloud is the ability to scale up and down quickly; meaning that businesses do not need to establish or upkeep a huge system like legacy and older technologies, nor go through lengthy procurement cycles to acquire new capabilities.

Adoption of cloud brings, speed, agility and scale which ultimately improves user experience, supercharges the ability to get to customers faster, helps businesses innovate more rapidly and opens their doors to transformative change that as-a-service tools present.

The Innovation Story

Business success is all about innovation. Growth does not occur without innovation. But Innovation doesn’t need to feed on massive investment or cumbersome process. Most importantly, business has latent demand, and IT has fixed costs.

The good news: Many companies already now have a path to unlock fixed costs and enable business innovation. By aggressively transforming legacy workloads to the cloud (or the junkyard), C-suite executives can be free to leverage these resources on cloud products and services to make your organization faster, more agile and more innovative.

Devil in the Details

The reality is that you can’t just lift and shift legacy workloads to the cloud without some degree of remediation, nor can you embark on new development without the required tooling and skills.  Building for the cloud requires expertise to achieve objectives at scale and speed.  It also requires a degree of governance, enablement, education and training to de-risk the underlying proposition – to achieve success.  Perhaps the biggest hurdle, involves the cultural change of moving from a fixed asset model based on capex, to an on-demand consumption model based on opex.

The great business case around the cloud has yet to be truly heard by business leaders. And we have a responsibility to make that case clear, compelling and convincing.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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