Digital and technology

Cloud 2020: The advantages of being a late adopter

As a new wave of cloud migration takes off for Northern Ireland in 2020, Capita’s Account Director, Gary Martin, discusses why now might be the best time to make your move and how to ensure it’s a success.

The move towards cloud economies is escalating, as cloud becomes more central to generating competitive advantage and delivering customer and citizen outcomes.

As the global public cloud services market explodes in 2020 to become fully mainstream, growing 17 per cent to $266.4 billion in a single year , the new wave of cloud migration is largely focused on digital disruption and business innovation, with a growing awareness that digitisation is a core necessity to survive in the modern world.

In fact, Gartner tells us, by 2022 public cloud services will be essential for around 90 per cent of business innovation. As these enterprises move in greater droves towards the cloud, Northern Ireland’s public sector organisations have a unique opportunity to learn from the experience of the first wave of migrators.

Some organisations are more cautious than others when it comes to adopting digital technologies, citing the reason as the complexity of their existing infrastructure. However, in my view, that can be an advantage, as it enables them to learn from the experiences of early adopters. But to get that insight, you need to really get under the skin of the first wave of cloud journeys and assess how they have lived up to expectations, in terms of vision, cost and projected outcomes.

That’s exactly what Capita’s recent cloud survey of 200 UK IT decision makers has done. The results, backed up by key industry analysts Bloor and Ovum, are published in our research report, ‘From Cloud Migration to Digital Innovation’. The report outlines five core recommendations for public organisations considering their next move to cloud, especially when resources are limited:

1. Build a smart strategy

Early cloud adopters who migrated quickly, but without a well thought-out transformation strategy haven’t yet maximised the value of cloud. In our survey, 43 per cent believed cloud migration had over-promised and under-delivered.

To succeed in the cloud you’ll need a sound transformation strategy – one that’s closely aligned to your organisational goals. The good news is that not everything has to be transformed at once — and indeed that would be impossible for most councils and local authorities. But hybrid IT is a perfectly reasonable goal for the foreseeable future. In fact, we’re told that 90 per cent of organisations will be running a hybrid infrastructure by 2020 .

2. Identify and close any skills gaps early on

One of the first things to get right is to ensure you have the right skills for the journey. In our research, 90 per cent of IT leaders encountered one or more unforeseen factors in the cloud and up to 60 per cent felt they lacked sufficient cloud skills and/or expert guidance. This illustrates how important it is to have the right expertise available at each stage of the process to help manage and mitigate risk.

I am delighted to be part of this insight initiative by Capita to help refocus IT leadership on the strategic priories of their individual cloud journeys.

— Paul Bevan, Research Director — IT Infrastructure, Bloor

The sheer number of product and feature announcements from public cloud providers means that to maximise on new cloud capabilities, it is imperative to have specialist skills and resources, which can be very time-consuming. Indeed, organisations that have managed to stay agile and respond quickly to new innovations are finding that the best approach is to outsource.

3. Build a culture of collaboration

Migrating to cloud, even if it’s one digital project at a time, is much more than a change of technology. It’s a change of culture. In the traditional model, IT made all the technical decisions, and service units stuck to solving ‘business’ problems. But when it comes to cloud, it’s crucial to ensure IT is closely aligned with other departments, so you can work collaboratively and set realistic, meaningful goals.

A successful migration project needs to draw together people from across the organisation and beyond, combining diverse skills, specialisms and experience into a single ecosystem for transformation.

The first step is to get everyone around the table and ignite the deep conversations that can point the way to real change. With a fully integrated multidisciplinary transformation team you can integrate goals and priorities from across the whole organisation and explore different solutions to complex problems.

4. Govern your organisational spend in the cloud

Many organisations are shocked to find that once they move to cloud, spend goes through the roof, quickly diminishing the full value of cloud. 72 per cent of respondents in our survey were still waiting to see the cost reductions that drove them to cloud in the first place. What’s more, it’s predicted that by 2020, 80 per cent of organisations will overshoot their cloud IAAS budgets by as much as 40 per cent.

The findings in this report by Capita resonate with some of the messaging in our Cloud Computing Trends to Watch research and I am pleased to share my views on cloud adoption, and why we need to start thinking differently.

— Roy Illsley, Ovum

The problem is, the speed and flexibility of cloud platforms such can encourage indiscriminate application spin-ups and increased spend across the organisation. What’s needed is a focus on governance from the beginning, both to maintain control and dramatically increase the value you gain from cloud.

5. Adopt an innovation mindset

Digital transformation is about much more than just technology. It’s about creating valuable experiences, social transformation and changing lives. Public sector organisations in Northern Ireland are shifting their whole idea of cloud towards being an enabler for more engaging citizen experiences, better ways of working and improved productivity.

Cloud is the foundation for the stream of emerging technologies that local and central governments, city councils and district authorities are increasingly using to transform urban, community and business life; technologies such as AI, RPA, IoT, big data analytics and more.

Yet to enable iterative innovation in the cloud era requires a change of mindset, organisational culture, and even leadership style to ensure you stay open to new ways of thinking, working and bringing ideas to life.

As Northern Ireland’s public sector gets ready to take a bigger leap than ever towards new cloud and digital platforms, what can other organisations do to ensure their transformation is a success? The simple answer is to focus on getting the foundations right. Take these five key steps on board and you’ll start to see transformative value in your cloud migration efforts — with faster development cycles, improved cost-efficiencies and quality citizen services as your reward.

For more insight on your transformation journey, download the research report

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