The cloud has proven to be a turnkey tactic that helps businesses derive insights from real-time data, enhance decision-making and capitalize on new opportunities — all to disrupt and differentiate with expedited innovation.
The cloud can be deemed the new age innovation booster, central to system resilience, infrastructure modernization, amplified agility and future-ready competitive advantage. As Satya Nadella puts it, “In the past, there was hardware, software and platforms on top of which there were applications. Now they are getting conflated. That is all going to get disrupted by the move to the cloud.
According to findings from McKinsey, 75% of the cloud’s predicted value comes from boosting innovation, with the value of cloud core estimated at $770 billion in innovation-driven growth compared to $430 billion in cost and risk reduction.
1. Flexibility Powered By Cloud OpEx Model: Cloud offers a pay-as-you-go model, which means that the earlier upfront investments made for IT, which squeezed CapEx, can now be replaced as needed. The shift to the OpEx model makes more room for finances to be streamed into experimentation and experiences, which drastically impacts overall company growth.
2. Faster Time To Market With PaaS capabilities: PaaS capabilities in the area of evergreen application runtime, scalability, resiliency, API, database as a service and observability all enable software engineers to focus on core functionality. This means they aren’t spending as much time on scalability, resiliency, patch management, provisioning and deployment and automation aspects. With the proper governance, PaaS can simplify the application development lifecycle and offers faster time to market.
3. Democratization Of Artificial Intelligence (AI) And Machine Learning (ML): Data and AI/ML, while invaluable, can be complex and expensive for most companies. Cloud technologies are helping fill this gap by making this intelligence easily accessible for those who need it so that they too can benefit from these resources to compete and innovate. Cloud has democratized AI/ML knowledge, and it’s no longer restricted to a siloed group of data scientists and specialists.
4. Benefits Of Broad Ecosystem And Solution Marketplace: These options allow cross-collaboration between multiple partners and ISV for faster solution development. New products and services can quickly be built (like a Lego block model) in the cloud, which gives a quick, low-risk way to benefit from innovative technologies and strategies — be it hyperscalers or third parties. There is an excellent value-generation potential to grow the core business and the customer base while expanding portfolios.
5. Industry-Specific Cloud Blueprints For Innovation And Growth: Such blueprints provide a higher return on investment across imperatives of innovation, compliance, growth acceleration, digital transformation and cost transformation. Businesses that serve sectors such as healthcare, finance or insurance, to name a few, can focus on creating value-differentiated offerings that meet the demand and do so with personalization.
Seven Mantras For Realizing True Cloud Value For Innovation
Here are my top seven tips when it comes to understanding how to approach cloud innovation:
1. Prioritize Use Cases Aligned To The Business Strategy: Every business needs to have a “purpose priority” for what they want to achieve with the cloud. It is imperative to bring together business and IT teams to close the gap between higher-level goals and technical ones so that everyone shares the same strategic vision. Embrace a culture of innovation where even failure is acceptable for transparent transformations.
2. Leverage Cloud-Native Design And Cloud Economics: Today, it is not enough to “lift and shift” when it comes to the cloud. Though being cloud-native requires both technological and organizational change, in the long run, it makes scaling easier, speed of deployment faster and results more resilient. Cloud economics can help further optimize spending by focusing on the right growth opportunities that lead to innovative ideas.
3. Be Disruptive: Businesses need to carefully leverage AI, ML and cloud models to be the frontrunner in unexplored markets, products or services. Companies such as Netflix, Airbnb and Uber took calculated risks and used the cloud to differentiate. Businesses should not try to jump to the final destination in one leap but instead pursue a path of slow yet steady progress while re-imagining the future of their business with new products or services. The point is, if you yourself are not disrupting, there is a possibility you will be disrupted.
4. Security And Compliance By Design: As businesses adjust to customers’ preference for responsible brands and sustainable products, they need to effectively deploy security controls for people, processes and technologies in line with regulatory and government compliance measures. According to research from Mckinsey, “by 2030, companies will lose roughly $650 billion as a result of system downtime and cybersecurity breaches. Through more resilient architecture, cloud could reduce downtime by about 57 percent for migrated applications.”
5. Plan On How To Scale POC/Pilot To Production: Business leaders need to consider breaking the innovation journey into a series of smaller and more manageable initiatives. But it is imperative to know the possibilities of making the right decision for every cloud project, so you should have a design and plan to take your pilot to production.
6. Adopt DevOps And Everything-As-Code Upfront: Across infrastructure, security, app configuration, network, security and documentation are the foundational blocks for experimentation at scale. This helps define organizational best practices and ensure that they are met with minimal effort. Streamlined and standardized processes also help scale operations seamlessly.
7. Co-Develop And Co-Invest With Hyperscalers And SI partners: Cloud facilitates co-working, co-creation and co-innovation both inside and outside the organization. Businesses need not be a stand-alone doing it all by themselves. Consider teaming up with experienced and trusted hyperscale cloud partners to help your business move up the value chain. Establish a central innovation management platform with the right mix of gamification, hackathons and experimentation with purpose.
Today “innovation hesitation” is not an option. As businesses rebuild their future responsible and resilient business strategies, they need to creatively but rapidly innovate and reimagine, which is why leveraging the cloud is fundamental to success. Businesses will have to shift from “cloud as an option” to a cloud-first mindset in crafting their strategies as it brings together all the elements to innovate — data, people, technologies, processes and partners — under one streamlined approach.