Cloud enabled digital transformation is a vital undertaking for any business that relies on technology-driven processes and tools as a part of its regular operations. Legacy software and systems threaten to hold businesses back, locking them out of modern reimagining of how technology helps work get done, and establish true competitive advantage.
But cloud transformation is far from simple, leaving many organisations unsure where to begin or how to plan and execute a successful transformation.
To assist, we’ve product this guide for IT directors and CTOs to achieve a successful cloud enabled digital transformation.
The Cloud is a primary method to drive digital transformation because digital transformation itself is the process of solving business problems in new, digitally native ways, reimagining and reforming existing processes to leverage the best of available modern technology.
To do this without leveraging the many benefits of the Cloud seems almost nonsensical. It can certainly be attempted, but it’s difficult to envision most businesses building a wholly robust digital transformation strategy without using the Cloud as a digital transformation platform.
For many organisations that achieve successful digital transformation, Cloud is a central component of their digital transformation strategy. But why is this the case?
We’ve identified the following ways in which utilising a Cloud based platform improves digital transformation efforts and can accelerate digital transformation.
Digital transformation is an all-encompassing endeavour that comes at significant resource and financial cost. Cloud enabled digital transformation offsets some of this cost by transitioning IT spend from CapEx to OpEx, eliminating the need for costly on-premises hardware and upgrades, and stabilising IT spend based on usage.
With powerful Cloud business technology at the heart of development efforts, businesses using Cloud services can iterate faster, test code or new features at scale, and push updates far faster, thanks to both the power of automation and the scalability of the Cloud.
With Cloud configurations to address every business need (including public Cloud, private Cloud and hybrid Cloud), cloud enabled digital transformation is flexible enough to accommodate nearly any business IT infrastructure scenario.
Additionally, Cloud transformation offers businesses near-infinite scalability: capacity increases automatically as demand warrants and, in many configurations, scales back down when not needed. This happens in seconds, whereas with on-premises it would take weeks if not months (and significant capital outlay) to add even nominal additional capacity.
Cloud technology can power a wide range of initiatives within your IT infrastructure transformation. Consider these five benefits or methods for leveraging Cloud in your digital transformation strategy.
Enterprise organisations using virtual machines (VMs) to run applications can quickly and easily transition their VMs to the Cloud, reducing costs and gaining access to both scalability and elasticity beyond what could ever be possible in an on-premises data centre.
That same scalability enables robotic process automation (RPA) again at a scale not possible on-premises. By transitioning numerous manual processes to RPA, businesses save time, reduce errors, preserve and protect data, and more.
As businesses continue to accumulate and act on increasing troves of data, the security of that data is as or more important than ever before. While Cloud services create certain security complexities (see the following section), the Cloud also enables better security than many organisations could produce internally. Working with Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platform or any of Canon Business Services ANZ’s Cloud offerings means gaining access to industry-leading data and application security.
Remote or virtual first employment has long been the norm in many technology companies, and less digitally mature organisations were all but forced to pivot to this model during the pandemic. Cloud storage and applications are for the most part location-agnostic: whether your employees are on site or at home, accessing data, systems and services looks and feels much the same.
Containerized and orchestrated applications leverage automation, scalability and elasticity even further, allowing organisations to create resilient application instances within containers and automatically start new instances as circumstances dictate. Migrating applications from traditional on-premises to containerization environments requires more effort than the “lift and shift” approach that works with, say, consuming virtual machines. But it also enables far more efficient and scalable operations.
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Moving your business’s assets to the Cloud means moving them outside your existing network perimeter (and the protections already in place there). This does not mean that the Cloud is inherently less secure, however.
At a basic level (say, Cloud storage), most Cloud providers are themselves foremost leaders in digital security and will have enterprise-grade protection in place. But as systems grow more complex and interconnected, enterprise organisations may need additional security frameworks. Businesses in the midst of network modernisation may rely on data and applications split across Cloud and on-premises, creating additional concerns around the routing of data.
Organisations that rebuild entirely in the Cloud can retool their security infrastructure at the same time. Another attractive approach is the use of zero-trust applications that abrogate the need for a traditional security perimeter, though this approach requires greater technical capabilities.
Every technology change carries some degree of risk, but also worth taking into account are the numerous security enhancements that come with Cloud enabled digital transformation. For example, because Cloud transformation enables all sorts of automations not previously accessible, businesses can remove manual touchpoints on sensitive data, keeping that data more secure and free from the introduction of errors.
For the majority of businesses, a forward-looking digital transformation is centred on Cloud for, at minimum, its unprecedented scalability, flexibility, and elasticity. Any business planning for or already undergoing digital transformation should examine their transformation strategy and evaluate the available capabilities that working with a Cloud transformation service partner could add. These include, but not limited to, access to breadth and depth of capability and experience not available within your own organisation. Working with a partner ensure your organisation has access to the brightest minds and best experience to ensure right fit cloud strategy and smooth project execution.
CBS has guided hundreds of businesses throughout Australia and New Zealand through their Cloud enabled digital transformations. We understand the challenges, opportunities, and common pitfalls associated with Cloud transformation. Chances are, whatever challenges your business may encounter on its Cloud journey, we’ve successfully navigated through them before.
Learn more about the Canon Business Services approach to Cloud enabled digital transformation in our full guide for digital transformation.
Yes, but there are several caveats here. Cloud migration is a nuanced process and there is not just one single right answer for every organisation and application.
The simplest, fastest, and least expensive migration method, often called “lift and shift,” moves existing applications to the cloud exactly as they are. While lift and shift has its uses, not all applications can make this transition (such as when a legacy product cannot run in the Cloud and no correlating product exists from the vendor), and this method produces the lowest level of efficiency gains.
Next up on the spectrum is using cloud-ready applications in an IaaS environment (native compute for your cloud service provider). This method is also somewhat straightforward but is limited to applications where a third party can provide a cloud-ready application.
Containerization, mentioned earlier, requires a more significant upfront investment but tends to yield more resilience, efficiency, and long-term benefit.
Finally, some applications (such as proprietary internal applications) need to be (or would benefit most from being) rewritten entirely as cloud-native applications. Doing so often creates the most power and efficiency but requires greater technical knowledge and higher investment.
The digital transformation process is complex and wide-ranging, requiring harmony between and engagement with executives and leaders at all levels of an organisation. IT directors and CTOs can implement these three critical strategies to find greater success and achieve greater buy-in from stakeholders and leaders.
1. Understand and don’t downplay the risks: Cloud transformation is not without operational risk. These risks should be understood and discussed — as should the greater risks of failing to transform.
2. Properly project funding: underestimating Cloud transformation costs or failing to secure sufficient funding/approval is a common point of failure.
3. Leverage the right partners: Cloud transformation is by definition a choice to work with vendors, including one or more Cloud service providers. Selecting the right partners for your organisational needs is vital.
CBS ANZ is ready to assist with your cloud transformation. If you’re ready to engage with an experienced and knowledgeable Cloud partner, reach out today.