Crafting a Forward-Focused Cloud Strategy

Over the past 26 months, businesses have witnessed the future arriving at an accelerated pace, challenging them to transform on a massive scale and at an unprecedented speed. This challenge is particularly daunting for industries burdened with technical debt. Yet, the urgency to act cannot be overstated, as delaying transformation jeopardizes growth and competitiveness. Many businesses have embarked on a rapid migration of workloads to the cloud to scale, reduce costs, and enhance operational resilience. However, it’s time for them to pause and shift their perspective from short-term problem-solving to long-term strategic planning that paves the way for sustainable growth.

Embracing a long-term approach has always been wise for businesses, but crystallizing the ideal end state and developing a strategy with quantifiable business outcomes is no small feat. The modernization of IT involves multiple components that extend beyond the acquisition of readily available, pay-as-you-go infrastructure. During a recent roundtable discussion attended by experienced leaders from global customer organizations and Google Cloud, consensus emerged that this endeavor demands careful planning combined with patience. The objective should go beyond delivering scalable infrastructure and cost reduction; it should aim to enhance enterprise agility and establish the groundwork for new business models that contribute to top-line growth.

However, pursuing these lofty objectives is no walk in the park. Conversations with clients who view the cloud as their stepping stone for transformation reveal that their top priority is swift migration. While this is commendable, true modernization goes deeper. It necessitates enterprises to rationalize and modernize applications and networks, assess enterprise architecture, address data sovereignty and usability, fortify security measures, re-envision disaster recovery, determine the right cloud landing zones, and cultivate essential foundational capabilities through process reengineering and talent development. It also entails aligning all stakeholders on a common vision of a competitive, growth-oriented future. These intricate and intricate components are often overlooked in the rush to migrate, resulting in the transfer of technical debt from one point to another and the added risk of doubling the total cost of ownership (TCO).

Heading to the cloud? Prepare for the future.

Meticulous planning to address these diverse aspects of modernization yields substantial rewards. The pharmaceutical and healthcare industry serves as a clear example. Today’s industry leaders boast extensive global operations, but they must navigate through a web of local compliance requirements (HIPAA, GDPR, GxP, etc.), making it challenging to store and process data where needed. Careful planning is the key to optimizing data and workloads placement without sacrificing agility or competitiveness. When executed correctly, industry leaders can effectively compete with local healthcare players, who are shifting profit pools to their advantage.

Our experience highlights five critical parameters that enterprises must address to become future-ready when investing in the cloud:

  1. Data Quality and Geo-location: Many enterprises underestimate the investments required to make data usable for driving product management and operations. Integrated, cleansed, and improved data can be classified to inform precise industry-specific cloud decisions regarding workloads and compliance-driven geo-locations.
  2. Lifecycle Approach: Incorporating a lifecycle approach into their cloud strategy allows organizations to succeed sooner. Ops teams, accustomed to on-premise requirements, need upskilling to manage cloud operations effectively. Planning should align with business initiatives for future growth, necessitating investments in new technology platforms to drive process and product transformation and reduce technical debt through application rationalization.
  3. Breaking Free from Monoliths: Decomposing monolithic applications empowers enterprises to reinvent their operations and quickly develop new business capabilities using cloud-native technologies.
  4. Composability: Being agile and future-ready involves having all components, such as customer journeys, user stories, domain-specific blueprints, cloud-native architecture blueprints, policy marketplace, and APIs marketplace, readily available. This enables the organization to create services that adapt to evolving customer needs, pandemic-induced disruptions, or regulatory changes.
  5. Curated Experiences: Curated and personalized experiences, based on personas and outcomes for customers and employees, are now a firmly established trend. Cloud technology facilitates the consolidation of data from multiple systems, enabling real-time analysis for actionable insights.

These elements are crucial for the success of cloud-related strategies, enabling businesses to transcend the acquisition of scalable and cost-effective infrastructure. More importantly, they lay the groundwork for tomorrow’s IT organizations, capable of delivering tangible business value.

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