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Business Transformation at the Speed of Cloud

Digital trends at large are putting significant pressure on businesses to innovate quickly and no industries are showing signs of immunity. Customer expectations are rising as is the competition coming from existing market players and an array of recently “born in the cloud” contenders. Businesses must transform to succeed.

In response, companies are turning to digital transformation efforts. These are marked by moves to adopt a digital-first mindset and engage with customers in new ways driven by their ever-increasing expectations in this digital world.  Traditional business models are also being impacted as companies look to increase their organizational velocity. Companies must increasingly focus on connecting people, processes, and things to construct new value for customers.

Cloud Enables Digital Transformation

Cloud technologies are often found at the core of many of these digital business shifts. Cloud provides for the speed, innovation, and scale necessary for re-imagining business in the digital age. We should view cloud as an enabler of change but not the principal goal of transformation. It will support and accelerate the journey, but business and technology professionals need to be careful not to conflate the vehicle used to power the journey with the destination.

Most business and IT leaders are no longer questioning if they should be leveraging the cloud, the question is now most certainly focused on how. The cost of not acting on cloud as an opportunity has been evaluated and for most the math is showing a sum too great to ignore. Cloud is a required component for digital transformation success.

More Than a Deployment Model

But to understand how to leverage it it’s important to first know what it is. Cloud is much more than a deployment model. It has matured beyond just categories of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Software as a Services (SaaS) [1]. It has matured into a systems of interconnected capabilities which are enabling business to transform at a rapid pace, to transform at the speed of cloud.

Cloud encompasses these interconnected capabilities that are changing the way we design, build, and run applications and construct them into boarder solutions.  The way applications are designed for cloud is different than the previous monolithic approaches. The focus is on modern designs like functions as a service (FaaS), microservice architecture, and event streams. The approach to building applications is rapidly transforming from manually intensive releases to software defined infrastructure and fully automated pipelines. The platforms themselves are shifting as well with a rapidly growing adoption of container and other cloud native platforms.

These capabilities are establishing the new model of getting things done supported by a modern collection of tools and services. They are all being categorized under the umbrella of cloud, but they are quickly outpacing their namesake.

Cloud Transformation

We refer to cloud transformation then as the act of an organization adopting cloud, in the broadest sense, and all the implications of that change. Given the scope and rapid pace of change in cloud technologies it will be a complicated task for any organization to start. But true digital transformation requires it. Establishing new and engaging experiences for your customers, optimizing your business processes, and constructing new value won’t happen without it.

Through this blog series we’ll provide a more detailed perspective on how organizations can succeed in their cloud transformation journey.

Next post we’ll discuss the motivations and factors of change. Including the typical drivers and how to build a business case for change.

This blog was co-authored by Victor Wolters.

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