As the leader of Cloud & Digital Architecture at NTT DATA UK&I, I am often asked to share insights into how best to reap the benefits of cloud - how it is enabling businesses to transform and thrive.
For over two decades, cloud computing has revolutionised the way businesses operate, store data, and deliver services.
Since its inception, it’s had a dramatic impact and is no longer just a technical conversation. Today, the adoption of cloud solutions is a strategic business decision that can significantly impact an organisation’s bottom line from technology to people and processes. From reducing costs to improving scalability and agility, cloud technology enables organisations to accelerate business value and operate efficiently. Cloud modernisation has become a critical business decision, requiring the alignment of IT with business objectives.
Organisations have increased their degree of cloud adoption over time, and stakeholders across business and IT have gained a level of comfort with cloud ecosystems. However, despite the significant benefits that cloud technology offers, many organisations still struggle with their execution. Migrating to the cloud involves more than just moving existing applications and data to a virtual environment. It requires a comprehensive strategy that aligns with an organisation's unique needs and objectives.
It’s therefore imperative to understand the challenges impacting your cloud strategy and how to effectively tackle these, accelerating your modernisation. Many of the challenges I discuss with clients are focused on how to:
Align modernisation to business strategy
Historically, cloud strategies have been developed and executed primarily by the IT department, which may not have a comprehensive understanding of the broader business objectives.
This siloed approach results in misalignment between the capabilities and priorities of cloud solutions and the needs of the business. It has therefore evolved from being just an IT infrastructure solution to a strategic enabler for organisations to understand how cloud will affect not just the technology, but also people and processes.
To fully capitalise on the potential of cloud technology, businesses need to recognise that cloud is instrumental to drive digital transformation and innovation across the organisation. By aligning cloud strategies with broader business objectives, organisations can ensure that cloud initiatives are closely tied to enhancing operational efficiency, improving customer experience, and driving revenue growth. Involving key stakeholders from different business units in the cloud strategy development process fosters collaboration, cross-functional insights, and a shared vision.
Keep up with rapidly advancing cloud capabilities
Keeping pace with the rapid advancement of cloud capabilities can pose a significant challenge for businesses. The surge of new technologies and the accelerated development of new cloud services, such as edge computing, artificial intelligence, and serverless computing, presents businesses with the ongoing task of understanding how the latest advancements can help to achieve greater business value.
This continuous evolution demands constant learning and adaptation, requiring businesses to invest significant time, resources, and expertise to fully leverage the potential of the cloud. Furthermore, whilst the rapid pace of innovation can bring great opportunities to the business, it can also create capability gaps within organisations, leaving them grappling with the complexity of implementing and integrating these advanced cloud capabilities effectively.
Overall, rapidly advancing cloud capabilities present both opportunities and challenges, necessitating a proactive and agile approach from businesses to stay ahead.
Make a cultural shift towards a cloud native mindset
As cloud capabilities continue to advance at a rapid pace, organisations are finding it challenging to implement a cultural shift. This usually requires new governance processes, changes to the operating model and upskilling the workforce towards a cloud native mindset, promoting devops, self-service platforms and automation.
The lack of adequate cloud skills within teams hampers their ability to fully leverage the benefits of cloud technology, impeding their innovation. The complexity and specialised nature of cloud solutions demand expertise in areas such as cloud architecture, security, data management, and automation. Additionally, training existing employees to acquire these cloud skills takes time and resources, which can further strain businesses.
To address this challenge, businesses must prioritise upskilling initiatives, reshape governance processes, collaborate with the right partners, and cultivate a culture of continuous learning to ensure their teams can effectively navigate and harness the power of the cloud.
Manage and control costs
While the cloud offers scalability and cost efficiency, improper management of cloud resources can easily lead to unexpected and escalating expenses. The lack of a cloud strategy that defines governance policies requiring spend approval and putting in place the right KPIs can lead to increase in costs and out of control resource consumption.
FinOps, a practice that combines financial management and cloud operations, enables organisations to optimise cloud spending, track costs, and align cloud usage with business objectives, as they transition from the traditional CAPEX to OPEX model. Implementing FinOps requires a shift in organisational mindset, promoting a culture of accountability, cost consciousness, and collaboration between IT, finance, and business teams. By adopting FinOps principles, businesses can gain better visibility into their cloud spend, identify cost-saving opportunities, optimise resource allocation, and ultimately control and manage their cloud costs more effectively.
This organisational change is crucial to ensure that businesses leverage the benefits of the cloud while maintaining financial sustainability.
Unify hybrid and multicloud management
With the increasing adoption of cloud services, organisations often find themselves utilising multiple cloud providers to meet various business needs and leverage specialised services while still dealing with their legacy systems. However, managing and integrating these diverse cloud environments can be complex and demanding.
Each cloud provider has its own set of tools, APIs, and management interfaces, requiring businesses to develop expertise across different platforms. Ensuring seamless connectivity, data synchronisation, and security across a hybrid cloud environment can be challenging and may require expertise to select and deploy best in class solutions. Effectively managing hybrid cloud complexity requires careful planning, robust governance frameworks, and well thought out integration strategies to ensure interoperability and mitigate potential challenges.
Leverage the rise of AI
The key challenge organisations face today is understanding the role AI can play, and the benefit it can bring to the business. Improving efficiency, accelerating productivity and implementing models to predict ever more sophisticated cyberattacks are just a few examples of use cases that can be tackled through innovation.
The use of AI requires deep knowledge of the business processes along with broad technical expertise in subject areas such as no-code, composable architecture and Open AI platforms.
Businesses aiming to leverage AI must prioritise future business strategy with innovation to achieve competitive edge. Collaborating with the right partners can accelerate the benefits of AI through the right balance of industry expertise and technical knowledge.
The answer: applying technical expertise paired with deep industry knowledge
In order to tackle these challenges, it’s imperative that organisations work with the right partner. NTT DATA brings proven experience to help organisations with their cloud challenges by pairing technical expertise with in-depth industry and client knowledge. Understanding the specific business needs is essential for determining the best solution.
Our experience allows us to apply tailored strategies that address the specific needs and goals of each client. We provide insights into industry best practices, emerging trends, and benchmarks, enabling businesses to make informed decisions.
In order to find the right cloud solution for you, you need to work with a partner that understands the processes of your industry and provides tailored recommendations, rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach. NTT DATA is known for combining our industry expertise alongside technical knowledge to deliver business outcomes to our clients.
If you’d like to discuss how best to leverage cloud for your business transformation, please reach out to me directly: Helena.Marques@nttdata.com.