I was on a weekly team meeting recently when we were asked how we were feeling as a part of our Net Better off dimensions, a framework encompassing six fundamental human needs through work that companies can boost to unlock their people’s full potential. Now, for context, we are a global team, and it was early morning for me as a new West Coaster and I had yet to have my morning cup of caffeine. This probably contributed to my headache. When my name was called, I didn’t have a strong pulse on how I was feeling. But I was feeling off physically.  

In my un-caffeinated haze, it struck me that in a world full of unknowns, my physical well-being was one area where I could, theoretically, exercise some control. I’d cycled pretty frequently pre-pandemic, so after many of my friends purchased a Peloton bike, I’d joined their virtual biker gang earlier this year. I had this new technology in my house that I could use at my convenience. But why wasn’t I using it as much as I should?

There were lots of reasons. But bottom line, I wasn’t putting the time and energy into using this technology to get the transformation I envisioned for myself when I bought it.  

Similarly, organizations don’t often get the transformation they hope to achieve from their technology investments. Why? Because while they may be investing in their technology, they aren’t investing enough in their people. People power tech-enabled transformations. By not empowering people, organizations may not get their desired outcomes.

When people are a priority

Our Modern Cloud Champions research uncovers what happens when companies continuously invest in their people and align their cloud strategy to power business growth. We identified an elite group doing both. We call this group Modern Cloud Champions, and they’re experiencing up to 60% on average better cloud transformation and workforce outcomes such as:

  • 3X times more gains across employee productivity and cross-functional collaboration and communication.
  • 1.9X faster cloud migration.
  • 2X enhanced organizational agility and innovation and improved customer experience.

What is the “why” driving cloud adoption?

These Modern Cloud Champions understand that moving to the cloud is a people opportunity. The number one cited business factor influencing cloud adoption is preparing a digital workforce. And 62% of Champions indicated this compared to non-champions (44%).

Why does this matter? Companies must continuously invest in their people to become a digital workforce, prepare for unprecedented change, and effectively grow at scale.

What levers are these leaders activating? They are excelling across five areas.
  1. Talent: Champions are 4.3x more likely to develop future talent at scale and nearly 5x more likely to have the skills necessary to transform into a cloud-enabled organization. And we know that Champions are more likely to internally reskill their employees. That’s not to say they don’t go to their ecosystem players to help fill in the gaps, but they are making investments to prepare their current workforce for the future. These leaders also feed the curiosity of their workforce by investing in more frequent training.
  2. Leadership: Champions outperform their peers by promoting a growth mindset for their workforce backed by a clear strategy for advancing future business growth through the cloud. They champion cross-functional collaboration and empower, recognize, and reward new ways of working.
    This is important in the journey to be truly human at work. My leadership is encouraging us to share our personal routines during the workday (whether it’s that smart bike ride in the afternoon for me or commuting to pick up a child). This allows us to bring our best to work, know when we need to rely on our colleagues, and help us be more accountable to our respective boundaries.
  3. Culture: Champions are better at fostering a spirit of experimentation and innovation for their people. The test-iterate-and-learn culture is critical to working in the digital world and to be able to compete in midst of constant change.
  4. Operating models: They tear down siloes to enable seamless access to people, processes, systems, and assets, including across their ecosystem, which is especially critical for a digital workforce. For example, by eliminating siloed IT environments and promoting cross-functional collaboration, companies can enable their workforce to create digital experiences centered around the customer. In turn, employees have more bandwidth to focus on strategic growth initiatives.
  5. Governance: They democratize access to data, leading-edge technologies, and tools to better empower and enable their talent. Those closest to customers can now have better and faster access to data to make decisions.

Unlock greater value in the future

We developed a Champions index that accounts for the various dimensions of the five levers. Companies with a higher index score exhibit better workforce and transformation benefits. To unlock these benefits, companies must activate all five levers, but to varying degrees. For example, a company focused on driving agility and innovation through the cloud will find the talent lever, working alongside the other levers, as their accelerator.

The same is true as I think about my Peloton journey. Depending on the physical transformation I wish to see, I must use the right combination of cadence and resistance to get the output I desire powered by the data displayed to me. But other factors also matter. It’s the instructor who motivates me on the ride with words of encouragement. It’s the flexibility at work to carve out time for myself to drive towards continuous improvement. It’s the virtual cultures that create the space for me to come back each day determined to thrive with cloud-powered technology both on and off the bike.

    Leila Yosef

    Research Manager

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