According to IBM Institute for Business Value C-Suite Series: The 2021 CEO Study, with insights from more than 3,000 CEOs around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic served as a turning point for how businesses respond to uncertainties. As CEO Fernando Gonzalez of CEMEX mentioned in the study, ”COVID-19 has changed how we look at the future. We started questioning and challenging everything. The traditional ways of planning are outdated. We sense every hour, every day, every week and react to it.” The urgent question facing CEOs today is this, “What will it take to be essential?” Most CEOs emphasize that they have to focus on their edge as a business, what makes them different, and how they would deliver the most value to their customers, employees, community, and investors.
Cloud First Strategy
In this article, we defined cloud first strategy as an approach by which organizations consider moving infrastructures and operations to cloud-computing platforms first rather than any other alternatives. As your organization decides to think ahead and transition from on-premise landscapes to the cloud, knowing what to expect and how to ensure efficiency in planning and implementation provides higher chances for cloud migration success.
One of the risk considerations in cloud migration is data security. As businesses are unique and demand different requirements, data security and governance need to be embedded throughout the organization's cloud first strategy. For example—SAP, a mission-critical application, is mostly used by organizations to better respond to customer requirements. Once migrated, SAP on the cloud will be processing increasing amounts of data every day from a wide variety of sources; hence, it is important to manage data, especially the master data, to avoid errors and unnecessary costs. Proper data management allows compliance with legal requirements and drives the success of the cloud migration project.
What you need to know about Cloud Transformation
In the same study conducted by IBM, the 3000 CEOs noted that “technological factors are the number one most important external force that will impact their enterprises over the next 2-3 years.” These factors that help businesses deliver results are the Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, and Artificial Intelligence. As CEO Ross McEwan of the National Australia Bank mentioned, organizations with good technology platforms generally performed well during the pandemic. However, those that are technologically underdeveloped really struggled to keep up. As such, CEOs around the world started examining the following questions when planning a move to the cloud:
What is our essential strategy?
What is our essential technology?
Who is our essential workforce?
Who are our essential leaders?
What are our essential risks?
Drivers Behind Cloud Transformation Initiatives
In answering these questions, CEOs indicated that to build an organization adaptive to changes in the current business landscape, they have to enhance operational agility and flexibility, secure data and systems, improve data transparency, establish greater accountability, establish flexible partner networks, and reduce silo-to-silo handoffs. As such, these actions will be driven by these cloud benefits:
1. Cost Savings in Infrastructure
Organizations understand that the cost can be very expensive in building data centers and investing in physical hardware. There are computing, storage, and networking resources to purchase, maintain, and replace after a set period of time to ensure optimum performance. With cloud solutions, the pay-as-you-go option allows organizations of all sizes to benefit from the low initial costs the providers require from their customers. Unlike investing to build on-premises infrastructure, leveraging the cloud solution services only lets you pay for the resources you use. And depending on the requirements you need as a business, you can easily provision resources as you grow.
2. Agility in Fluctuating Workloads
Speaking of growing your business, scalability has always been part of business strategies among organizations. Whether it be in a financial context or in the IT infrastructure that supports your business, having the ability to expand allows you to be more agile. True scalability is often associated with growing your resources and revenue while minimizing operational costs. But in reality, we don’t always need to add more resources to bring in more money to the organization. With all the digital transformation efforts that we have seen in the last few years, organizations are ruthlessly automating business processes. This means that if a single transaction can be processed with a shorter amount of time compared to when it is processed manually, the resource that it needs will decrease as well. But this decrease in resource requirement does not necessarily mean a reduction in revenue. In fact, automation allows more transactions to be processed which then equates to having more revenue in the process. Cloud solutions scale up or down on demand to support the fluctuating workload requirement that your organization needs at a certain point in time.
3. Flexibility and Efficiency
Another factor that drives organizations to get on the cloud transformation trend is the ability to access cloud-based data and applications virtually anywhere, as long as there is an internet connection. Employees don’t need to physically be in the office to access their files and applications to do their work. With data and applications available in the cloud, your organization can benefit from the flexibility of the remote work environment.
Organizations can also select from pre-built tools and features that match a solution for their particular business needs. There are several cloud solution providers out there that offer various services. Whatever it is that you need, you’ll most likely find at least two or three solutions that you can choose from. If you’re on the lookout for a solution that can fully orchestrate your SAP systems into agentless monitoring on the cloud, look no further. IT-Conductor is designed to do just that and more! With our platform, we can also help you in automating your workflows depending on your business needs.
One use case that we have seen beneficial for jumpstarting your cloud transformation efforts is automating your database migration to the cloud. In another article, we also discussed how IT-Conductor can be used to automate snoozing in SAP systems where we have designed a workflow to dynamically scale up/down and snooze non-production workloads during off-hours. These automation efforts, no matter how big or small they may seem to be, will be beneficial for you in the long run as you increase efficiency in your business processes through automation.
4. Speed and Productivity
Getting new applications up and running in a matter of hours in the cloud, instead of weeks, even months on traditional platforms is one that would benefit not only those involved in migration projects but also the organization as a whole. Technical teams know for a fact that migration projects involve several resources from different teams to coordinate all the implementations needed to migrate applications, data, etc. With the cloud, the technical overhead of provisioning hardware devices will already remove a big chunk of your time and effort.
With IT-Conductor’s capability to orchestrate and automate workflows in SAP landscapes, expect that you’ll reap off more than just your time and effort doing migration projects. Learn how Git, Ansible, and Terraform can be integrated with IT-Conductor to possibly automate almost anything that you can think of.
5. Strategic Value
Migrating to the cloud allows businesses to have a competitive edge because they can provide customers, clients, and their community with innovative technologies that are easily accessible. Investors can easily get their return on investment as businesses are focused on providing the best value to their customers, instead of worrying about infrastructure costs and maintenance. Moreover, businesses can quickly get their applications to the market, thereby increasing business agility and customer satisfaction.
6. Business Continuity Enablement
Last but not the least, organizations also consider business continuity when deciding on whether or not they should migrate to the cloud. Since cloud providers such as Amazon and Microsoft have data centers around the world, you are guaranteed that your systems have high availability. Having this ability enables businesses to continue their operations regardless of any unexpected event such as natural disasters and pandemic situations like what we are experiencing at the moment.
Having your data and applications in the cloud allows your organization to benefit from the high availability of cloud resources. So, in the event that something catastrophic happens in your headquarters, for example, you won’t have to worry about your operation being halted because your data is already in the cloud. In the already mentioned use case above about automating your database migration to the cloud, there will be lesser user interaction as almost 80% is already automated. What this means for your organization is having that disaster recovery strategy much simpler and quicker to implement, giving you more flexibility to enable business continuity.
As CEOs around the world ask the question, “What will it take to be essential?” the various key drivers for cloud transformation allow each business to take a closer look at their current business strategies and ensure market viability and competitiveness. As CEMEX CEO Fernando Gonzalez said during an interview in the IBM 2021 CEO Study, “part of the investment is not going to pay off. But it doesn’t matter. You try to understand what is not working properly, you stop doing that, and you focus on what you think can really pay off.”